Be Curious and Have a Growth Mindset: How This Mother and Engineering Leader Succeeds

Sponsored by Veeva Systems

Anuradha Athreya

Photo courtesy of Veeva Systems.

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May 23, 2024 at 9:27PM UTC

“My foray into software development began after earning an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, which happened by chance,” recalls shares Anuradha Athreya, who is currently leading two engineering teams at Veeva Systems. “I believe the small victories along the way inspired me to do better over time and expand my interest areas.” 

Of course, being in a male-dominated tech field isn’t always easy — especially as a mother. “Within a span of four years, I had two kids while balancing a growing career,” notes Athreya.
“While those years were challenging, my confidence in my capabilities kept me anchored.” Athreya also developed the skill to handle the unpredictable — both at home and at work. As Athreya herself explains: “I’ve found ways to thrive in the chaos.”

These abilities have launched Athreya into a very rewarding career where she is able to directly impact Veeva’s mission to help customers. “On a day-to-day basis, I get immense satisfaction from bringing together a team that works cohesively to solve any problem at hand,” she says. “Over time, it’s wonderful to see engineers progress in their careers.”

If you’d like to learn more about progressing your own career as a technology professional, or about how Veeva supports their employees like Athreya, read on!

Tell us about your job.

I joined Veeva over eight years ago as a Software Engineer. In the first four years, I had the opportunity to contribute to several areas of Veeva’s Vault platform, gain a deep understanding of the technical architecture and work with engineers across multiple teams. I then began leading a small team that has since grown and gradually added one more team.

Now, I lead two engineering teams in the Veeva Vault product team. In this role, I combine my love for working as a team to solve technical problems with shaping the careers of budding software engineers and playing a role in the everyday success of Veeva and our customers.

What were your initial thoughts when you learned you were moving into a leadership role?

My initial thoughts were around the shift in mindset. Being a leader, first and foremost, is about the people. You go from being responsible for your work and your contributions within the team to suddenly being responsible for shaping the careers of people on your team. 

There’s also an emphasis on building relationships with people you manage and those within other groups in the organization. I’d always observed leaders around me, and I took this opportunity to learn and mirror what they’d been doing well (listening, being empathetic and celebrating even small wins). I’ve kept this as a guiding principle for my new role. 

What traits/skills do you have that help you succeed as a technology professional?

Being curious and having a growth mindset.

A combination of three things that have also helped me: 

  1. The technical skills I actively acquire via self-learning and hands-on work.

  2. The skills I acquire passively by observing how others do their jobs well.

  3. Understanding the business impact of what we deliver to our customers.

What’s been your most valuable career mistake?

I would call this one more of a learning opportunity than a mistake!

For many years as an individual contributor, my mindset at work was to complete the given task efficiently — there’s a natural tendency for a programmer to write clean code. 

When I moved to a role where I was at the forefront of dealing with customer issues, solving the problem at hand meant so much more than a code change. There’s a balancing act between finding the right solution, unblocking customers, working with different stakeholders, prioritizing and always having a communication plan. 

I now encourage engineers on my team to think about all this when they aspire to be great software engineers. 

How has Veeva supported you in your career?

I’ve been very fortunate to have been on a team of wonderful leaders. They gave me opportunities to take on increasing responsibilities while supporting and guiding me along the way.

A lot of people believe that developing your career means changing companies. What has enabled you to advance your career?

I strongly believe in the company’s vision and values. With that as a foundation and consistent efforts on my part combined with growth opportunities, I’ve kept this long-term relationship going. I also work with fantastic people who inspire me to bring my best self to work

Veeva has a unique career development policy that allows employees in good standing to switch teams and roles if they are interested in a change. I know if I’m ever looking to switch things up, I’ll be looking for something new within Veeva. 

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