International Women’s Day: Interview with Purnima Jandial

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, and it can mean something different to everyone. At Genesys, we took a moment to look internally — at our successful team — to learn what Each for Equal means to them.

Today, we sat down from Purnima Jandial, Chief Procurement and Real Estate Officer at Genesys. In her more than 20-year career as an executive, she’s focused on business transformation, driving innovation and organizational effectiveness, and improving business scalability. And she does all of this while mentoring others, working collaboratively, networking and building up her entire team along the way.

Following is our interview with Purnima about what International Women’s Day means to her.

What does the 2020 International Women’s Day slogan #EachforEqual mean for you in your work life?

Purnima Jandial: Having a seat at the table and making important business decisions is key. Equality needs to be demonstrated in actions: equal and fair compensation, opportunity to take on critical roles, and recognizing and promoting fellow women leaders within the organization.

Your current job is Chief Procurement and Real Estate Officer for Genesys. Is this role what you expected to be in when you started in the workforce? How did it change?

Purnima: Not at all. I didn’t even know this role existed when I joined the workforce. I graduated as a computer engineer but didn’t want to pursue the role of a software engineer. I always aspired to be a C-level for a technology company. I pushed myself to take on roles with no prior experience and/or having the subject matter expertise — moving from technical roles to marketing to sales operations to procurement and real estate. I believe in continuous learning and taking up new challenges every few years. As opportunities came around, I jumped into action with the bigger picture in mind, not worrying too much about the minutiae of the role. I knew my end goal, so it was a matter of paving the path to get there.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

Purnima: Early on in my career, I felt that, in spite of being a diligent and conscientious team member, I didn’t have access to the opportunities — whether it was for compensation or promotions. I did feel the bias based on gender, age and university affiliation. I realized early on that hard work wasn’t the only key to success.

One has to be smart, strategic and visible in the team. One has to raise awareness about the business impact being brought forth by the team and oneself. That’s exactly what I did. I had to network within the organization and engage with senior leadership, discussing and bringing forth ideas. And I showcased the work. Also, you have to ensure that there’s clarity and a plan about your position and where you want to go. I didn’t shy away from stating what I wanted and, in return, I delivered results and executed flawlessly.

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in your field?

Purnima: It is important to take control of your career and be in the driver seat – be your own cheerleader. Be ready to take risks and grab opportunities as they show up, or even better, create them. You need to have the aspiration and a “fire in the belly” to take up new challenges. Don’t be shy; it doesn’t cost anything to ask for what you want. You have nothing to lose.

In your opinion, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?

Purnima: Often in life, one may find oneself to be an influencer or supporter of people around you — whether it’s professional or personal. Trust is the key element that people get drawn toward, and building trust is a key factor in both personal and professional interactions. When people feel you are telling them things you truly believe, they are less likely to be skeptical of their interactions with you. Thus, you have to see yourself as others see you. So, your actions, words, behavior become very important. One needs to be aware of one’s actions as there is a ripple effect to the people around you. And that has an impact on the broader community.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

Purnima: Balancing between personal and professional life has always been a challenge for women. And women are able to manage it well, but everyone needs a support system — one still has to be a hard worker. It’s important for women to lift each other up but more importantly, I believe, that leaders within organizations do a better job advocating for high-potential female talent earlier in their careers. If more leaders would mentor and advocate for diverse talent, I think we would see more women advancing at faster rates into leadership positions.

Own your ambition and don’t wait to be asked. The road to success comes with a price and you should be willing to pay. No pain; no gain.

Continue following International Women’s Day discussions with our latest “Take a Moment” podcast and learn how two exceptional leaders walked the unplanned path to find success. Barbara Gonzalez, VP, Global Business Consulting, and Janelle Dieken, SVP, Solutions and Product Marketing, share their philosophies on building high-performance teams and turning heartbreaks into triumphs.

And get involved for International Women’s Day. Learn why Genesys Women in Technology is partnering with Water to Thrive to bring the sustainable blessing of clean, safe water to communities in rural Africa.