Tech Innovation with a Conscience
Sugandha Sahay‘s journey began as a young girl who was captivated by cartoons featuring the magic of technology. She dreamed of one day mastering this magic herself. As her curiosity in technology grew, she secured her first tech job at TATA Consultancy Services after completing her undergraduate degree in 2012. While working on projects for Apple Inc, she realized her passion for learning more, leading her to enroll at Carnegie Mellon University, where she honed her skills in several cutting-edge technologies.
Sugandha started her career in the United States at DataCore Software Corporation, where she implemented responsible hyperautomation technology for three years. She then became a Technical Program Manager at AWS and is passionate about mentoring students and professionals. She is a member of the Criya Expert Circle and WomenTech Council, and also serves as an industry expert judge for tech awards and hackathons organized by prestigious universities such as Harvard, Ohio State, and the University of Cincinnati.
“As a tech professional, my primary responsibility is to lead the business processes automation using AI and other cutting-edge technologies,” explains Sugandha. “My specialization lies in responsible hyperautomation, which involves developing secure automation systems while adhering to the principles of fairness and ethics.”
Sugandha’s expertise includes conceptualizing and designing systems that streamline business operations while minimizing the risk of errors and maximizing efficiency. She stresses the importance of ethical AI and automation in all her work, stating that “it is critical to ensure that automation systems are developed keeping fairness, security, and transparency in mind.” By doing so, she helps organizations navigate the complexities of the rapidly evolving tech landscape while upholding their core values and principles.
Sugandha’s journey to success has not been without challenges. She faced the daunting task of navigating the rapidly evolving tech landscape while also sustaining herself in a foreign land. “Keeping up with the pace of change was difficult, but I firmly believe that success is a result of a combination of both luck and hard work,” she says.
“Luck manifested in many ways, whether it was gaining a supportive life-partner or simply being in the right place at the right time,” she explains. However, she also stresses that luck alone is not enough. “Success requires perseverance, dedication, and a willingness to take risks and embrace new challenges.”
Sugandha is deeply passionate about helping students and professionals smoothly transition into the tech industry. With technology evolving at an unprecedented pace, it’s crucial for people from diverse backgrounds to build world-class tech solutions together. Many individuals with innovative ideas shy away from entering the tech industry, intimidated by the perceived difficulty of breaking in. Sugandha serves as a mentor and guide to aspiring tech professionals, motivating them to realize their full potential. She works alongside them to build amazing tech solutions that increase productivity, efficiency, and sustainability.
Sugandha embodies the spirit of a “tiger,” taking a proactive and empowered approach to life. She embraces challenges and pushes beyond her comfort zone to achieve personal and professional growth and pursuing opportunities like taking a job that pushed her out of her comfort zone. To Sugandha, being a tiger means being willing to take calculated risks and make bold moves towards achieving one’s aspirations.
Sugandha draws inspiration from her parents, who have always been her role models. She admires their unwavering passion and dedication towards achieving their goals, and their ability to overcome challenges with courage and perseverance.
During her tenure at TATA Consultancy Services, she received 4 Star Performer awards and 2 Spot Awards. After completing her masters degree, she received multiple executive level accolades and cash awards at DataCore Software Corporation for her exceptional performance. Her achievements were recently acknowledged by Fox Story India, who honored her with the 50 under 50 Quality Leader 2023 award.
When asked about her definition of leadership, Sugandha shared her belief that effective leaders prioritize supporting their teams. She stated, “They help team members discover their superpowers and identify areas for opportunity to foster personal growth.” According to her, a leader’s ultimate goal should be to build a team of empowered leaders who can guide and uplift their own teams towards achieving their full potential.
As the interview concluded, Sugandha offered a valuable life lesson she learned from her parents. She recalled the couplet, “Karat karat abhyas te, jadmati hoth sujaan, rasri aawat jaat te sil par padat nisaan,” which roughly translates to “Practice, practice, practice! That’s the key to mastering any skill.” Sugandha emphasized that consistency is key, and even if progress feels slow, every bit of effort counts towards achieving goals. She encouraged readers to stay committed to their aspirations and reminded them, “You got this!”