Cover story on women achievers in the engineering world: Featuring Anya Geraldine D’Souza
14 Mar 2022
Anya Geraldine D’Souza, General Manager, Global Marketing, Elgi Equipments, shares insights on her professional journey and experiences with the Engineering Review for their cover story on women achievers in the engineering industry.
Professional achievements and career progression
Post graduating from business school with a major in Information Technology/Systems Management and a minor in Marketing; I began my career in business development and marketing with a start-up technology consulting firm in Bangalore, India. Here, I learned to think out-of-the-box, understand our customers, and offer them creative solutions for their business problems.
From there, I went on to work with Weber Shandwick (the Interpublic group), followed by Text 100 (now Archetype), where my roles focused on advancing corporate reputation while building customer loyalty, all critical aspects of value creation. Working with large, varied teams in fast-paced environments also helped hone my communication and coaching styles, ensuring everyone was together on delivering a cohesive customer-focused strategy. A career pivot came in 2014, where I was offered a role at Honeywell, calling for a transition from technology to the manufacturing industry. The role gave me exposure to all facets of the business and an opportunity to think differently and look at problems from new angles while engaging with our sales teams, channel partners, and customers across Asia-Pacific. Today, I am fortunate and proud to lead the global marketing function at ELGi Equipments Ltd., responsible for building the brand worldwide and developing marketing strategy to power our go-to-market efforts across India, the USA, Europe, and the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia. I’m also very excited to be working on ELGi’s ESG strategy. Together with a team of sustainability champions across the globe, we’re evaluating our current impact on the environment and determining how we increase our sustainable practices in the future.
Attributes that helped in career building
Well, I fundamentally believe in growing every day as an individual. Whether it’s pushing myself to do something I’m not ready to do, learning something new, seizing a new opportunity, or just interacting with new people. It’s important to learn, break through and grow! Equally essential is prioritizing efficiently and building a solid say/do ratio. Simply put, it’s all about keeping your promises, delivering on commitments, and doing what you say you’ll do.
Challenging the stereotypes
I honestly haven’t made a conscious effort to challenge any stereotypes. However, I believe that one needs to make their choices wisely, weighing the pros and cons at all times. You sure can have all the things that are really important to you. For a woman building a career, it’s quintessential to plan ahead, plan well, and focus on outcomes. It’s equally critical to set your boundaries and learn to communicate effectively both professionally and personally.
Impact of the pandemic
The pandemic shone incisive light on both the banal and the more complex inequalities that women face at home and the work place around the world. Despite the best efforts made by organizations, studies tell us that 2 million women, mainly mothers with young children, considered leaving the workforce. The reasons were many; the inability to cope with housework and caregiving, a lack of flexibility, difficulties with sharing challenges about multi-tasking or the perception that they need to be ‘always on’. Actions towards achieving gender-parity improvements need to be prioritized, ranging from investments in education, family planning, maternal health, digital and financial inclusion, as well as provisions for child care and mechanisms to care for the elderly more efficiently. Only then will we be looking at raising the gender ratio across the workforce, creating significant economic opportunities.
Message for young working women
The first step, albeit the most courageous one, is to become the champion of your own development and think for yourself. Think long, hard, and clearly. And then, go get what you want and become who you want to be.
Secondly, it doesn’t matter what your background is or where you come from. All that matters is whatever YOU want to do. If you want to be great at it, you have to love it, push hard and be able to make sacrifices for it.
Anya Geraldine D’Souza
General Manager, Global Marketing