Today many women leaders are steering the success of world’s leading organizations . Their enthusiasm and exuberance induces positive vibe not only within their organization but also industry at large. In an interaction with NCN, Ms. Jaya Jagadish, Corporate Vice President, Design Engineering, AMD, reveals what it means to be a women leader in the niche semi-conductor industry and how she is contributing to the success of her organization.
How are women at managerial posts viewed by your organization?
AMD has a very open culture and growth in the organization is purely based on one’s caliber and performance. Women rise up the ranks at AMD basis their leadership skills, management capabilities, strong industry know-how and the value they bring to the organization. There is absolutely no gender bias. We have quite a few women in the Management ladder including at the very top rank. Our CEO is Dr. Lisa Su and she was recently named among the Top 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by the Fortune magazine. We have programs under which women with high caliber are mentored by Senior Executives. I myself have benefited from the mentorship I received from Dr. Lisa Su.
In addition, we have an Employee Resource Group (ERG) called the AMD Women’s Forum [AWF] which meets regularly to share achievements, discuss challenges, undertake networking opportunities and learn from Women leaders in other sectors. Having said that, the number of Women in senior management is relatively small compared to other sectors as we are part of a niche semiconductor industry. Very few women enter the sector and fewer continue beyond a certain level. Many capable women give up or discontinue their careers due to life cycle changes and personal commitments that make it very challenging to cope up with the demands of a career at the senior level.
How do you see your ‘role set’ evolving in the IT world?
Semi-conductor is a very niche industry and there are not many companies that do CPU work in India. As a result, the talent pool with relevant CPU design experience is limited. When I started at AMD about 11 years back, we struggled with this challenge. We hired fresh talent and invested heavily in building a high performing engineering team that is today steering the innovation engine for AMD in the CPU space. As high performance computing takes center stage in a highly digitized world, I see engineering leaders like me playing a critical role in building teams and technology that make next generation computing accessible and affordable to a larger population.
How can a woman execute challenging tasks and bring desired results in corporate world?
It is important for women to build their confidence and understand and play with their core strengths. Standing up for what you believe is right, questioning the status quo; determination and hard work are a few key aspects that have helped me successfully overcome challenges. Being open to taking on new challenges and not shying away from taking bold decisions when required are also very important to succeed in the corporate world.
Do you think a woman at decision-making position can understand the channel issues more sensitively?
Women have the innate quality of being more observant and sensitive which can be a huge strength. This helps in understanding the issues better and more comprehensively. Being caring is another strength most women have which can bring in the much required sensitivity into understanding and solving issues in any sphere of work.
What type of challenges are you faced with in corporate business?
Since it is less common to have Women in leadership positions, it is not always easy to be accepted as a leader. There are times, when you have to doubly prove yourself to earn the respect and position from peers. Long work hours, cross site meetings, corporate travel along with domestic responsibilities at home can at times become challenging to balance.
Being a woman, how did you balance between your family, relationships and work?
I have been very fortunate to have very strong family support which has helped me balance the needs of my family and a demanding career. Flexible work hours, ability to work from home when needed and great work culture has certainly made it easier. However, things do get difficult at times and the key is to not give up when the going gets tough. Things do settle down eventually.
What are your future plans?
We have a young and energetic talent pool in India. I will continue to build high performing teams at AMD and contribute towards enhancing the capabilities of the engineering teams to reach greater heights of innovation and technical expertise.