“Embrace new opportunities that come your way and make the best use of them,” says Padma Bhamidipati, Senior Business Manager – Learning – Education, Training & Assessment, Infosys. “Grateful” for all the opportunities she has received and the support system she has had, Padma shares the milestones and key learnings from her professional and personal experiences while participating in YS’s ‘I am the future’ series.
In a career spanning over two decades, Padma attributes her wholesome success to her family, colleagues, and managers.
Learning begins at home
Growing up in a gender agnostic set-up, Padma is thankful to her parents for providing her with a stimulating environment during her formative years. Calling her mother – a teacher by profession – her biggest influence and sharpest critic, she recalls how her mother always had the best of education and she ensured the same for Padma. She shares an incident when she froze on stage during a school play and her “action-oriented” mother immediately enrolled her in public speaking classes and gave her weekly speech writing assignments.
“From freezing on stage in 1987 to being an active emcee at Infosys, I had the singular privilege of hosting important events such as the farewells of legendary Sudha Murthy, U B Praveen Roa, Infosys Foundation Awards … these have been important elements of my journey,” adds Padma.
Her peculiar interest in branding and marketing – courtesy her mother who would create scrapbooks – led her to pursue marketing and entrepreneurship as her main subjects.
An enabling support system
The role of Padma’s maternal and paternal grandparents in empowering her mother to enjoy a break-free, long-standing career left a lasting impression on her.
Drawing parallels with a saree, she explains how the garment has been of great significance in her life as she saw her mother donning it daily. For Padma, the saree not only became a symbol of grace and simplicity but also “the fine balancing act” her mother was striving by rotating her set of sarees confidently in a manner that nobody could take notice of her limited collection.
“My support system begins with my parents, especially my mother, who took care of my elder child until he turned three years old. My late father-in-law who always pushed me to chase my dreams … my husband who has always worked around my schedules, travels and has encouraged me to push my boundaries, and my sons who have been a pillar of support,” she shares, highlighting how her family members continue to strike a balance between their multiple responsibilities.
Padma applies the same philosophy at work too. Being expressive and vocal are her go-to mantras, and she feels it’s essential to have clarity on what you want and asking for help wherever you need it.
“Most of the time people say it takes a village to raise a child. What we all forget is it takes a village to continue to help someone achieve their dreams. I personally don’t believe in this concept of a self-made person. [To achieve sustainable success] You need to have an army of people, always with you, whether it is your colleague, your manager, or your support system at home,’’ says Padma.
Journey rife with opportunities and learnings
One of the highlights of Padma’s career has been featuring in the Netflix series ‘Bill NYE Saves The World’. “It still gives me goosebumps to be a ‘non-tech person’ and be featured in a segment about Infosys that spoke about how population control education of women is so important to take a society forward,” she adds.
Equating her experience at Infosys to the feeling of “unwrapping a gift”, Padma speaks about how the company has let her build on her strengths. “Infosys lets you be you,” says Padma, highlighting how the ecosystem comes together to support colleagues during their time of failures.
“They are so magnanimous, whether it is in giving you opportunities or your space. In 2009, I had to take a call of going slow in my career, and I had the support of my managers. They encouraged me to continue to be in the workforce but enabled me to slow down for some time without the pressure of feeling guilty about it,” she shares.
Empowering the next generation
Padma’s understanding of diversity and inclusion became clear after joining the workforce when the gender diversity gap was quite apparent. “It is important that everyone gets a seat at the table,” she adds, reiterating that every individual, irrespective of their gender and position, needs to strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment. “I do acknowledge and understand that I am raising two boys and they need to take these conversations and actions forward,” adds Padma.
Padma insists that it is important to have absolute trust in your dreams for the universe to come together to help you achieve them. “Always acknowledge that everyone brings something unique to the table and keep yourself open to learning. Keep looking around for role models and do something to make you proud, and as Mr Murthy says, have a clear conscience when you hit the pillow at night” says Padma, signing off.