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The best part of Nivedita Mehra’s day is when all of her hard work pays off, and she finds her flow. “I love the satisfaction of seeing pieces of the jigsaw click together,” says the Vice President of Program Management at Netskope. “When the processes, procedures and best practices that my team and I are proposing show results, that’s a huge win and a high. Not everything will get solved immediately, but seeing early successes that we can build upon is what keeps me going.”

And, wins at Netskope, a market-leading cloud security company that is developing the most innovative next-generation security platform, have the possibility to change the world by taking cybersecurity to the next level. As Mehra puts it, the “best part about Netskope is that you don’t have to explain to a customer why we matter, why our product is important or why they should invest and partner with us — that’s huge!” In fact, that’s one of the reasons she loves working at Netskope. She also loves the innovative product she works on — and the people, too!

“The icing on the cake is getting to work with a very dedicated leadership team who really care about their teams and the product we are building,” remarks Mehra. In this article, Mehra shares more about her role, what she loves about working at Netskope, her best advice and more!

Tell us a bit about your job. What are your priorities at work?

I’m heading up the newly formed Corporate PMO. The mission for my team is to: deliver the highest-quality product that delights our customers — on time, every time. We plan to achieve this by focusing on five key strategic areas/building blocks:

  1. Release readiness: Ensure on-time, high-quality delivery, every time.

  2. Standards and templates: Achieve scale and efficiency through standards.

  3. Cross-functional coordination: Work more efficiently and effectively across all departments.

  4. Launch checklists (NPI): Follow rigorous checklists and new product introductions lifecycle phases to build robust products from the ground up.

  5. Effective communication: Communicate early, often and consistently.

There is a lot of goodness here at Netskope. We have a product that the world needs and wants — that’s a really remarkable place to be in. My goal is to help Netskope execute more smoothly, efficiently and consistently on their customer commitments so that we can scale and grow the company.

Describe your overall career path. What were you doing previously, and how did you get your start at Netskope?

I have held a variety of leadership positions during my career, and I have loved the interesting and diverse journey that I’ve taken. Before coming to Netskope, I was heading up Sales Operations for Limelight Networks. Prior to that, I was heading up Product Management for Limelight. I was a Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle and built mobile solutions for leading e-Commerce vendors. 

What about your role today excites you the most? Why is this type of work important to you personally? 

I love problem solving and making things run more efficiently. I love collaborating across the aisle to find solutions that are a win-win for all parties. I like things to run in an organized, frictionless manner because that’s how you grow and scale an organization. I’m really fortunate to be working with so many smart and passionate people here at Netskope, and I hope to add value for our internal and external stakeholders.

How do you prioritize and deal with your to-do list each day? 

Since I’m quite new in my role, I’m trying to push initiatives through as quickly as possible. I don’t know how one slows down at a startup to be honest. If you know, let me know!

What’s been your favorite career ‘mistake’, and how were you able to see it as a learning opportunity?

I think there is no better way to learn than by making mistakes. I’m very quick to respond, very quick to find solutions and rush to solve. In hindsight, my biggest lesson learnt is not to do that. Let things simmer, let them marinate for a bit. Sometimes the best solution is not having a solution at all! At least in the short term, it’s okay to live with chaos and ambiguity for a while. People who know me will understand how difficult that is for me to do and that is something that I’m constantly working on every day.

What’s your personal definition of success, and what have you learned over the course of your career about how best to achieve it?

My definition of success is when I’m part of a team that helps solve a pain point for someone, somewhere. When I’m part of the solution. When I hear, privately and publicly, that I helped. For me, that positive feedback is what I treasure the most.

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?

Be like a swan, paddle hard like a duck under the surface, or something to that effect. Be graceful, calm and open — you can lead others when you are all of those things, at least on the surface! Another mantra I live by is praise publicly, reprimand privately. This philosophy has helped endear me to my team in all my roles.

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