When you get five minutes with one of corporate India’s most powerful women, the list of questions are endless. Kirthiga Reddy, the lady who runs Facebook from Hyderabad, was all business when she attended the ‘Rethinking Women in Leadership — An Indo-US Perspective’ meet in the city on Tuesday.
We sat Kirthiga down and asked her to explain her journey and just what she was doing near Mt Everest earlier this year.
“I came to India with Motorola and was finishing my year-and-a-half stint there when I had my first conversation with Facebook and told them that I just loved what they are doing. They said, ‘we have no plans as of now to open an India office. But a year later (2010), they announced the opening. It’s a privilege and I don’t think there’s any other company that touches life in such a fundamental way.”
We agree. With India, continuously gaining in numbers on the website, even Mark Zuckerberg is pouring over the data. But Kirthiga explains why the company’s people are seldom spotted in public. “Facebook is still new in Hyderabad. In general, we try to focus on what is a priority… We let our users do the talking versus the people in Facebook.”
What about women in tech? Kirthiga has over 15 years in the sector which is often seen as ‘male-friendly’. Is the market then, changing? “It’s about giving the right exposure and encouraging women to find out that this is their forte,” she says.
And the mythical work-life balance? Kirthiga says it’s all about work-life integration. “I have travelled with my kids for business meets and have dropped them at day cares during those meetings… At the end of the day, it’s about the impact you create with whatever you decide to do.” There was also some advice.
“One has to prioritise what’s important and it needs internalisation... you may have to say no to something important as you are trading it off for something more important.”
That’s the list of fundas that’s taking this supermom to new heights, literally. She was recently involved in an Everest base camp trip and now she’s planning to organise a weekly 10-km walk for her colleagues in the city. She’s also a book lover, and yes, enjoys the movies. Just about everything is regular, except for the power she holds within the planet’s mightiest social site. Which brings us to our last question. We wonder what friendship means to her?
“It’s about connection... Facebook has impacted my ability to keep friendships to a deep level. Being with people who I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to be with.” Noted