Padma Ravichander

I am Padma Ravichander, CEO at Tecnotree – a post I have held for the past 5 years. 

I have been in in the IT industry holding global CXO level positions for the likes of HP, Oracle, Dell-Perot and most recently, for the past decade, for Tecnotree. I am a Canadian citizen and have lived and travelled globally extensively. I have always been in the technology field, mostly focused on telecoms and financial services leading and managing large, global product engineering organisations.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really but if you ask me if I am happy with my career development and progress – I would say yes both in terms of the field I am in, the career opportunities I have enjoyed globally, the leadership opportunities I have been given and the learning they have all provided me.  My career has also introduced me to global customers, across various continents and has exposed me to managing and integrating large teams to deliver technology solutions across numerous cultures.  It has been an exhilarating journey and I have enjoyed the opportunity and the challenges along the way.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

As a woman in the technology field, I have often met challenges along the way – but I have never shied away from any of them.  During the initial days of my career I was often the only woman in technology and in many situations among many of male colleagues.  Often, I would have to work harder and longer to prove my capabilities and sometimes found it hard in senior positions to break the “old boys club”.  But my critical strength was always my passion for my work, competence and an enduring spirit to see a job well done. These three attributes have inspired me to overcome some very hard and negative situations.  It’s not always important to win every argument but it is important to participate, to put your ideas across effectively and to learn the ability to negotiate and influence others in the process.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

In every one of my job opportunities, I have had great triumphs, excellent achievements and several firsts however if I were to pick one it would definitely be what I have done at Tecnotree. We have turned the company from being in a difficult financial position of debt re-structuring in 2016 when I became CEO of Tecnotree, to a fully financially stable company in 2021 completely out of debt restructuring.  Today the company is leading digital transformation of CSPs in emerging markets, has launched a fully cloud enabled digital BSS stack ready for 5G along with a fintech solution for a digital wallet and an e-commerce platform to cross-sell and upsell partner offerings in the areas of sports, entertainment, gaming, healthcare and education. We call this our Tecnotree Moments platform. The journey has been unstoppable in 2021 too with the increase of 16% in revenue, 60% in net income and the share price reaching a 52-week high this year.  The Market Capitalisation of the company surged past 400 Mn euros registering an increase of  approx 1400% over the last 24 months. In addition, the company has won several new awards, recognition from industry analysts, media and associations like Gartner, Financial Times, TM Forum, Omdia, Kauppalehti, etc. It’s a great achievement by the team over the last 3 years achieved through lots of dedication and hard work by many employees across the globe and the results speak for themselves.

It’s an incredible turn-around story which has been truly an inspirational journey for me.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

The success of an organisation is never just down to one individual. It’s always the result of a great team coming together and believing in a shared purpose. We all work together seamlessly with extreme focus, commitment and dedication to see it through.  The one major factor for Tecnotree’s turn around is our Tecnotree Team!

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Firstly, you have chosen absolutely the best field to be in especially post Covid.  Being digital is no longer a nice to have but a necessity for all lines of business and digitally connected communities.   The technology field poses huge opportunities for men and women alike to learn, adapt and excel.

My top tips are to:

  • Seize every opportunity to learn and contribute. Technology is a dynamic, ever growing field and staying relevant non-stop is key
  • Be agile in your ability to adapt and change in your work environment and be perceptive to the greater purpose and vision of the organisation you are serving
  • Aspire to be the absolute best in everything that you are at work and at home, creating a winning spirit and a leadership quality that becomes part of your DNA
  • Share and celebrate your success at work with your teams, and your family – always

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

In the 21st century, I believe we are in a digital age, where physical attributes of gender are no longer really relevant. What truly matters is your intelligence and ability to create and to innovate.  In this new age, where  instant gratification is propelled by the high speed internet, intense automation and ubiquitous access to information, success is no longer measured by one’s physical abilities or wealth but by one’s capability to innovate and create new experiences that are unique and can touch and empower the lives of others.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

In our post Covid world, I feel companies have a greater opportunity to support women especially those returning to work after having children.  Working-from-home (which was once a request denied to many) has become part of the way we work which has enabled a much  better work-life balance for both sexes, creating more opportunities for men and women to work. This will create a far greater gender diversity in the workplace helping to enrich the contribution we all make to the teams we work in.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Nature has a way of self-correcting itself.  I believe that with the pandemic behind us our acceptance of new work models will force more gender diversity in the global talent pool which will blur gender differences and force a richer work experience which will cause a greater amount of men and women to contribute to work products.  Diversity, regardless of industry is a necessity. It strengthens the capacity of an organisation in terms of how it reacts to change and how it delivers on results.  Most successful companies with a strong outlook, and a good balance sheet have been proven to be driven by diverse teams that are equanimous.

At Tecnotree the impact on our bottom line is well documented by the diversity of our organisation. We have a global foot print with an HQ in Finland and offices across the globe, in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, France,  Dubai, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, The UAE, The Middle-East, India and Malaysia. Tecnotree is among the top 100 most inclusive companies in the world today in terms of the Diversity index – something we are proud of and something we want to continue to build on.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

All the above and more.  One of the keys to success within technology is to always continue learning. Micro-Learning whereby you can improve your knowledge within key areas helps you to respond to challenges quickly and dynamically. And with today’s e-learning tools this is more easily and readily available on demand.

For women beyond technology who want to be the true benefactor of the new digital age we are entering in the 21st century I have 2 pieces of advice:

  1. There is nothing wrong to desire to have it all and you can but what we need to realise is that you cannot be successful alone. Far more success comes to those who collaborate and share success as a team – whether that is professionally with work colleagues or personally with family and friends. You have to trust, care and nurture people along the way in a way which makes them believe in your success as much as you do.
  2. Finally, for great success, you need thorough planning, and impeccable execution and discipline. We are truly blessed to be in this time of change, because with every change comes the opportunity to change, learn, grow and experience new forms of inclusion and diversity. With this we look forward to a new beginning.