LEADERS IN CYBERSECURITY
Director, Deloitte India
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
A typical workday starts with having a quick look at my schedule to help me plan my day better. Much of it involves discussions with clients and internal teams about project deliveries and business development. I dedicate some time in the day to reading and keeping myself updated on what’s happening in the industry.
What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?
When I started my career in IT, there used to be quite a few female employees. However, when I joined consulting, I was surprised there were significantly fewer females pursuing careers in cybersecurity. Even if they do, most of them discontinue their journey in consulting and move to another industry as they pursue senior positions.
Tell us about your first job (can be anything!) and one lesson you might have learned from it.
My first job was very different from what I am currently doing. I started my career with a large IT exporter company working in the financial planning space. While working there, I got a chance to switch my role completely, which involved a lot of learning and unlearning at the same time. This was probably the best thing that happened to me as it instilled in me the ability to quickly adapt to new situations, a skill that has proven to be very handy while working with clients.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self about getting started in cyber?
Start early. If given a chance to go back in time, I would have probably pursued a career in cybersecurity sooner than I did. Cybersecurity offers a very interesting and fruitful career path involving both technical and business acumen. A mix that keeps me motivated.
Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.
My first project as a manager was to perform cyber assessments for the IT and OT Environment for the largest mining company in India, one of the most challenging clients I have ever worked with. We achieved our goals by overcoming multiple challenges, such as very tight timelines (one and a half months), managing a large team spread across six locations, and being one of the first engagements (firm-wide) in the OT security space.
How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?
The cybersecurity landscape has changed drastically from being a nice-to-have service to a focus area for many organizations. With corporations eyeing digital transformation and moving fast, it is imperative to ensure that their system and IT practices are well-protected from constantly growing cybersecurity threats.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped shape your career.
I want to mention Mr. Gautam Kapoor, a partner with Deloitte Australia. I had a chance to work closely with him for five to six years while he was part of Deloitte India. His approach towards problem-solving and team building is something that I look up to. His calm attitude has taught me that as a leader, you need to hold your nerves until the last moment to allow the team to have an environment to navigate problems.
A meeting gets canceled and you have a surprise 30 minute window of free time — how do you spend it?
I am a new mom. I was blessed with my son Ronav just a few months ago. Currently, any free time is solely dedicated to him.
What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
I find my peace by spending time with my family. Being with them gives me a sense of calm, so if there is ever a time when I am feeling stressed, I like giving myself a break. Spending time with family allows my headspace to settle down. They are also my biggest critics and constantly motivate me to become a better version of myself.
When you think about your personal legacy as a leader, what do you hope people will remember?
I have had a chance to build several teams, and I would like to be remembered as a leader who inspired their team to do the right thing and aim for excellence. Also, I would like my team to look at me as a friend and a mentor who built a strong interpersonal relationship with them and shared their happiness and problems beyond work.