I was 19 when I applied for my first waitressing job. I was scrolling through Craiglist when I saw a posting for a Japanese restaurant with the vague subject line: “CREWS WANTED!”

Interview with Veena Ramaswamy

Kate Anderson-Song Head Interviewer

Introduce yourself! 

Hi lovelies! My name is Veena, and I’m currently a data analyst at Brown Girl Magazine. I’m a dreamer and a doer—a tech leader, keynote speaker, award-winning blogger and photographer, artist, aspiring entrepreneur, forthcoming author, and much more!

You lead a truly multifaceted life, with your work spanning across tech, business, and the arts.  Can you explain your involvement in each of these fields? 

Tech: I currently work as a Data Analyst at a South Asian startup called Brown Girl Magazine which unites thousands of women and men globally and empowers them to break the glass ceiling and spread awareness through the power of storytelling. As a data analyst, I have 1+ years of industry knowledge manipulating and analyzing digital data, generating actionable insights, and improving business optimization through Web Analytics & Strategic Marketing. I aspire to become a Data Scientist at a large tech company in the future. 

One of my goals is to encourage women to break the gender stereotypes and give them the moral support that they are capable of becoming a future excellent female leader. Their identity, creativity, perspectives, etc. are all valuable to each and every company and in the world and it’s our job to make them feel heard, seen, and loved. I would like to pave the right path for the next generation of girls to break that glass ceiling and to create change in tech sector.  As a Founding Member & Global Community Director at WomenTech Network, I encourage team leaders and members of superior talent to promote the network and help the community grow. I was one of the community keynote speakers for one of the largest WTN global tech conferences among 200 speakers and 3K women in tech. 

Women in Business: I’m a life & career coach and founder of Beyoutifully Empower which is my coaching business  where I would like to inspire women to become the best possible version of themselves, instill confidence, and motivate them to unlock their full potential through personal, career, and leadership development. My IG account is @beyoutifullyempower

Women in Arts: I’m a forthcoming author & I will be launching my very first book called Beyoutifully Empower in December 2020.  I’m also a lifestyle and travel blogger at Beyoutiful, where I write about fashion, beauty, travel and share my own portfolio showcasing talents of photography, poetry, DIY, etc. I’m a published writer and have published poems and articles on popular literary magazines and companies such as BGM, Simply Woman Magazine, and Thrive Global. I’m also an award-winning photographer & have gained recognition for my nature photography. I’m also a classically trained Indian Bharatanatyam Dancer and Carnatic Singer. I’m an artist and have had my drawings featured in various platforms. 

What does it feel like to be a successful woman leader? How do you define leadership?

It just feels surreal to be a female leader in a male dominated industry. There are several amazing networks for women in tech which have done an incredible job in encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM, especially technology. I’m so honored and humbled to be part of such a strong community of inspiring women from all parts of the world in which we all worked together to make a difference and help emerging talent from diverse backgrounds to connect and learn from one another. I’m grateful to have an amazing support system who have helped me expand my network, portray my leadership skills and my passion for women empowerment. They are such amazing souls and have always cheered me on and supported me in every endeavor. They are family to me and I couldn’t have become a tech leader without them. I’m also thankful for all the friends I’ve made via networking and the mentors that have guided me to the right path to career success. 

I define leadership as empowering the people around you and motivating them to make a positive impact on the world. Leadership is not about you and it’s all about what the people want and what they’re looking for. It’s about catering to their needs and giving them the moral support and resources to make them successful personally and professionally. Women face a lot of challenges in which they are accustomed to gender stereotypes that society has created. It’s believed that women are assigned to roles in the household and are seen as the more submissive and emotional type. People have underestimated the power of a woman to become an effective leader and to level up in the workplace. Women also experience imposter syndrome in the corporate world where their opinions and ideas are ignored and judged. They are always doubtful of their potential in the workplace which makes them feel like “they are young” and “they aren’t good enough”. Because of this, they tend to hesitate to voice their opinions which hinders them from reaching their full potential. Women have to realize their competence and talent and their amalgamation of feminine and masculine qualities can make them a great leader in the workplace too. They should embrace self-love and self-acceptance and stand up for what they believe in. Women in tech should never have to feel inadequate and should always be given equal opportunities. Women need to challenge the status quo by educating and showing society that they are capable of reaching great heights and success in tech as well as in life. It’s important for women leaders to spread awareness of women inequality in the corporate world and encourage young girls to tap into their strengths and abilities so that they can reach their full potential. We should empower girls to let their voice be heard and to stand up for what they believe in by portraying empathy, listening to what they have to say, respecting their opinions, and giving them the help that they need to become successful. Being a leader is about showing your authenticity, being empathetic, and empowering others to make a difference in the world. There are misconceptions that you have to be “bossy” and “dominating.” In reality, you can be strong yet compassionate to become a successful leader.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?  Personally and work-wise? 

Work-wise, I’m a successful South Asian woman because as a tech influencer, I was able to connect and unite with 100K women to attend a global tech conference, get inspired, and make a positive impact by making sure their voice was heard!  I was ranked #1 Global Ambassador for WTN among thousands of inspiring women. I also received immense global level recognition as Country Leader for my effort and hard work in empowering women in tech to join the network and empower each other to become successful in their professional life.I’ve also been featured and interviewed in various tech magazines and platforms such as GalTalksTech, The Moment for Women Magazine, Women in Tech Show Podcast, etc.

I would say my biggest accomplishment is being nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30 and nominated for global ambassador and speaker of the year award for the Global Awards 2020 which is going to take place December 2020. I’m also proud that I was selected as a community keynote speaker for the largest tech conferences alongside women leaders

Personally, my biggest accomplishment would be that during my personal development journey, I was able to embrace my identity and culture and loved myself for who I was. I was able to overcome self-doubt, gain confidence of who I was, and came out of my comfort zone. I’m proud that after all these years of struggles, consistent dedication and determination, my hard work finally paid off. I was able to turn several of my dreams into reality. Now, I would like to empower women and encourage everyone to accept them for who they are and eliminate any gender bias, discrimination, or stereotyping at all costs. Girls should have the right to bring their true self and ideas into the world without having to feel that they are not good enough .We should break the gender stereotypes and give them the moral support that they are capable of anything they put their mind to. We should support them to have the same equal rights as men and always instill confidence in them to manifest their dreams. Girls are strong, talented, worthy of love and respect, and beautiful in every way and they have what it takes to become the person they want to be no matter what anyone says!

Who inspires you? Do you have any role-models in your life? 

Professionally, one of my role models is Indra Nooyi. Indra Nooyi has always been a huge inspiration for me. She was the CEO of Pepsi Co, a Fortune 500 company and has become one of the most valued women leaders in the tech industry, receiving the title America’s Best Leaders. She has portrayed outstanding leadership qualities and stood out from the others due to her ambitious, passionate, and open-minded personality. She is the epitome of women empowerment due to sheer dedication, confidence, and hard work. She stands out from the crowd and is an inspiration to all young women and upcoming generations. I’m proud as she represents the Female South Asian community and is ranked world’s most 100 powerful influential women. I aspire to learn from her journey and follow in her footsteps 🙂 I watched a lot of her interviews and this quote of hers stood out: 

“Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that.” – Indra Nooyi 

In my personal life, my role models are my grandparents. They are truly inspiring and I feel that the person that I became today is all because of them. I’ve learned how to be a strong, independent woman from my grandmother. She is so resilient and never gives up no matter what obstacles come her way. She tells me to always ‘take it easy’, be optimistic, and to keep gaining knowledge as much as possible in life. I’ve learned how to be highly emotionally intelligent, down to earth, and self-disciplined from my grandfather. He is a gem of a person and an inspiration to many. I’m so proud to have them as my grandparents as they are truly beautiful and genuine souls who have provided me with tremendous emotional support, constant wisdom, and endless joy. I have to say that their prayers and blessings have made me the successful woman I am today!

One of your focuses is leadership development and empowering women in tech. What advice would you give young women who are striving to grow in these paths?

1. Speak up & Don’t hesitate at all to let your voice be heard! Be an inspiration and if you have something that you can add value to a community or organization, please take time to contribute by sharing your stories, insights, and experiences so that you can help empower others who would like to make a difference. Showcase your talents and knowledge by putting yourself out there and it’s totally ok to seek assistance if you need help with anything so that you can reach your full potential. Motivate yourself to stand out from the others because you all have worked really hard and you deserve to have your efforts be recognized and rewarded!

2.  It’s also important to alter your thoughts and use the growth mindset by being open-minded. Strive to keep learning something new every day. Acknowledge your competence and versatility and build resilience as you work towards achieving your career aspirations. Assess what your core strengths were and take the time to develop several IT skills to become successful in the tech industry. Embrace intellectual curiosity in attaining knowledge in concepts that are new to you. Try to let go of the fear and embrace the unknown as this will foster innovation. Step out of your comfort zone and try new career paths that interest you. It’s so important to find a career that you’re passionate about. Don’t choose something that you’re low-key interested in. So for example, within the tech industry, you have so many options to choose from: you can go into software programming, data science, cybersecurity, etc. If you don’t see yourself doing this job from 9-5 and you feel like you dread it then it’s definitely not the right one for you. Always be yourself and choose a career that works for you and jives with your personality. 

3. Always grab any opportunity that comes your way. You’re never going to be 100% ready. You have to just give it a try because you never know where it might lead you. The right opportunity at the right time might be your next breakthrough. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. Sometimes it might not work out and that’s totally fine. Just take it as a grain of salt, assess areas for improvement, and do better next time. 

Now, for some fun rapid fire questions!

Early bird or Night Owl?

Early Bird

What’s your go-to coffee shop order? 

Chai Tea Latte

Favorite comfort food? 

Pizza and Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Icing

Three words to describe you?

Authentic, Go-Getter, Passionate

And finally, what is upcoming for you?   

I have two things coming up:

1. I will be publishing my debut book in Dec 2020 called Beyoutifully Empower which portrays my personal self-discovery journey along with some of my tips for women & men to become the best version of themselves. I wanted to share my story how I overcame my limiting beliefs and turned my dreams into reality. I’m passionate about empowering women to believe in themselves and they are strong and talented people who have the capabilities to make their dreams come true. If I can do it, so can they!

2. I just launched my side hustle/business: Founder of Beyoutifully Empower. I’m always striving to better myself each day and I focus a lot on self-improvement and using the growth mindset to live a purposeful life. My goal is to empower women to do the same through life coaching and guide them on how to overcome imposter syndrome, leverage confidence, and unlock their full potential. I’m hoping to take my business to the next level in 2021 by providing services such as: 

  • Life Coaching (Success and Mindset)

  • Career Coaching (Career growth development)

  • Leadership Development

WomenTech Nomination.png

Veena is an ambitious, passionate, and career-oriented woman who did her undergrad in Economics at Rutgers and Masters in IT and Data Analytics at Boston University. She is currently working as a Data Analyst at a South Asian startup called Brown Girl Magazine. Apart from career, she’s been working on a few side hustles in her free time. She is a huge supporter of women empowerment and believes that women should showcase their talents at all times and strive to be successful in their career and in other areas in life by standing up for themselves, voicing their knowledge, and introducing new innovative ideas to the table. She focuses on leadership development and is currently a Global Community Director and Founding Member for WomenTech Network.  She will be launching her very first book called Beyoutifully Empower in December 2020. She is a life & career coach and founder of Beyoutifully Empower which is her coaching business  where she would like to inspire women to become the best possible version of themselves through personal, career, and leadership development. She is a lifestyle and travel blogger at Beyoutiful, where she writes about fashion, beauty, travel and share her own portfolio showcasing talents of photography, poetry, DIY, etc. She is a published writer and have published poems and articles on popular literary magazines and companies such as BGM, Simply Woman Magazine, and Thrive Global.

Personal Social Media

Personal: IG: @veena4ever19 

               LI: veena4ever19

Business: IG: @beyoutifullyempower

Lifestyle Blog: IG: @thebeyoutifulgal

Company Social Media

Brown Girl Magazine:  IG – @browngirlmag Twitter – @browngirlmag

Website – https://www.browngirlmagazine.com/

WomenTech Network IG – @womentechnet  Twitter – @womentechnet

Website – https://www.womentech.net/

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Head Interviewer

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

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