We wanted to share some really exciting news with you! We just lucked out by having Vidya Nagarajan join Bossy Cosmetics as an advisor and we can't keep calm about it!! We are growing our team with thoughtful additions as either full-time hires or key advisory appointments to enrich the process of designing products, content, and experiences that delight ambitious working women all over the world. I am personally thrilled to have someone of Vidya's professional calibre and personal enthusiasm on the team! She'll be enriching our journey into leveraging technology to become a true community that creates synergies amongst various groups of women who want to look, feel, and do good in the world. We are truly excited for what's to come!
Once you read Vidya's bio, you'll know why I am so pleased to welcome her to the team and once you read her blog post (both below), you'll see it even more!
Vidya Nagarajan has over twenty years of experience building, growing, and monetizing platforms in the Enterprise and Education segments. Vidya is currently a product management head at Google. Before this, she established Google's leadership in Chromebooks in the Education vertical, and founded the embedded ChromeOS platform that powers purpose-built devices such as kiosks, meeting room hardware, and digital signs. Vidya started her career in the tech industry as an engineer. She earned her Bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering and a Master's degree in Business Administration.
Vidya is also an angel investor, and a co-founder of a holistic lifestyle platform that empowers people to grow and transform their lives. Vidya is a global citizen and enjoys learning about new cultures: she grew up in Kuwait, moved to India after the gulf war, and currently lives in the United States of America. She has travelled to over 150 countries and counting!
Q: We keep hearing about how we need to encourage more women to get into tech but there are amazing women like you there already. Do you think there needs to be more effort to bring more women into tech?
I believe that diversity in the workforce leads to more creative organizations and better products that address the needs of larger sections of society. While it's encouraging that more women are attaining a degree in STEM and the gap is reducing, women are still under-represented in technology. We have more work to do here.
Q: Tell us about how you began your career as an engineer. Has it been easy being female in this industry?
I grew up in Kuwait but returned to India after the Gulf War in 1990. Like in many other countries, it was rare to find women in Indian engineering colleges. However, the internet wave encouraged many young women like me to study information technology instead of medicine. After a four-year undergraduate degree in computer engineering, I got an entry-level job as a developer in an internet consulting company that unfortunately went under during the dot com bust of the early 2000s. As an engineer, I realized that I loved connecting with users and defining product features and business metrics, which largely influenced my move into product management.
Q: What do you love most about working in product management?
I love the process and energy that goes into envisioning and realizing products. The journey of taking a concept from an elevator pitch, to a series of wireframes, through validating a prototype with actual users and finally seeing it used by everyone is unmatched. It is extremely fulfilling to see something that was once just an idea become a product that improves the lives of millions around the world.
Q: What do you wish you knew when you started your career that you know now?
There are many. I’ll highlight a few.
Seek out a mentor early in your career - Someone from whose experiences you can learn from, be inspired, and grow.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Some of the most significant lessons are learned from failures, and it helps promote a growth mindset.
Think of the long game. Be persistent; eventually, you will reach your destination and look at every conversation with the mindset of a “new opportunity” that helps you grow.
Q: What about Bossy Cosmetics attracted you to decide to work with our founder?
The Bossy Cosmetics mission to "Empower women to look, feel, and do good", connects with my core belief as a woman. When women support each other, incredible things happen, and the world is your oyster. I love that Bossy Cosmetics is a woman and minority-owned business.
I use Bossy cosmetics, and I love the lipsticks - my favorite so far is Hustle that perfectly captures my mood as a confident woman balancing work and home. I am very excited to be working with Aishetu in taking the Bossy Cosmetics brand forward.
Q: Can you share what your superpower is and how the Bossy community can come to expect greatness from your efforts?
I love bringing people together to create magical experiences and, in the process, have fun. Great products get made when teams collaborate without letting their egos get in the way, and the chief orchestrator enabling all this is the product manager. I’m looking forward to sharing my insights with the Bossy community.
Q: Tell us about your holistic lifestyle platform and how you empower people to grow and transform their lives.
The past year has put an enormous strain on the lives of humanity globally. People have suffered along several dimensions -- physically, emotionally, and mentally. Studies have shown that holistic wellness across all dimensions is critical for leading a healthy and happy life. My holistic lifestyle platform available at holisticinnovation.org helps make holistic health accessible to everyone so that they can lead the life they truly desire, living without physical, mental, and emotional stresses and trauma holding them back.
Q: You call yourself a global citizen. Can you compare the advancement of women in business from this perspective?
As human beings, our emotional needs are the same - we look for acceptance, security, fulfillment, connection, and growth. It was fascinating to see this common denominator wherever I traveled from Rwanda in Africa to Uzbekistan in Central Asia to Guatemala in Central America to Malta in Europe. For example, it was a moment of pride to see the efforts of the Nyamirambo Women’s Center in Rwanda that provided vocational and educational training for women who are victims of domestic abuse to make them self-sufficient. Women in small businesses tend to strengthen their local communities and in turn address community problems. When women get together and are empowered, incredible things happen.
Q: What advice do you have for women who are interested in a career in tech but are concerned about the relative dominance of men in the field?
I believe that we live in times where there is much progress in leveling the playing field for women. Some of this is due to the various efforts at raising awareness of gender equality. My mom tells me stories of her time back in the eighties as a pretty Indian woman working with mainframe computers in Kuwait when her male peers did not take her seriously. I believe we have come a long way since then, and the time is right to claim a stake on the ground.
Don’t be intimidated. Almost all the people you will work with (men included!) are there to help you and see you succeed.
Highlight your numerous strengths as a woman, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, adaptability, leadership. Don’t fall prey to the Imposter Syndrome. You deserve to be here, and you know it. So wear a Bossy Lipstick and feel confident.
Q: Tell us about your relationship with beauty and cosmetics. Are there rituals that you observe that you hold dear?
We find ourselves living in a social media fishbowl, where the perception of what is considered beautiful is grossly misinformed. Instead of celebrating our differences, we look for external validation on accepted definitions of beauty and get into destructive self-perpetuating cycles that affect our morale and self-esteem. My high school daughter, Ankitha, runs a body newsletter that aims to raise awareness, educate, and empower people to reimagine how they view the human body. This initiative is so critical in today’s times when our perception of what Beauty means gets altered by the demands of society and the standard definitions of Beauty. I believe in Bossy Cosmetics as a brand that promotes a positive message for women of all colors, shapes, and sizes, empowering them to feel their best.
I like to wear bold lipsticks like the Faith during the night and a light tint like the Bossy Gloss - Cafe during the day. I do my best to remove all my makeup before retiring for the night. I studiously follow the four steps of skincare - Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize and Protect with sunscreen before I step out of the house.
Q: What 3 things do you want readers of this blogpost to walk away with? Some words of wisdom please!
We need women to feel confident, comfortable and empowered to study all kinds of technology, and take on leadership roles.
Amplify the assets that make you unique. Embrace your differences. Do what it takes to feel good, confident, and empowered.
Find a mentor, keep your eyes/ears open as opportunities manifest themselves in unexpected ways, and most importantly let’s support each other as women.
Thank you for reading! Shop Vidya's gorgeous lip look now.