[Women in STEM] Priyanka Swain, Director of Engineering, Tally Solutions

By : |June 8, 2021 0

In the ongoing series Women in STEM, this week, we have Priyanka Swain, Director of Engineering at Tally Solutions. She has over 20 years of experience in product solution, engineering and development. At Tally Solutions, she leads the client engineering group, hiring and training the new team members. She also manages technology projects and prepares the development path for the team. An IIT Delhi Alumnus, she completed her post-grad in Instrumentation and Electronics. She was also the recipient of the President Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal.

“I am committed to pursuing to do what is right and help others succeed,” states Priyanka. “I aim to be a change agent towards creating a positive and cohesive environment where there is no winner or loser, only success. At present, I am working on creating and nurturing high performant teams; ensuring customer delight with a focus on creating products that will set a global benchmark on excellence.”

Excerpts from the QnA.

What are your roles in Tally? What are your immediate goals for the company?

I play both strategic and technical role within the company. The strategic aspect includes setting goals for the team, hiring engineers and prioritizing projects. The technical responsibilities encompass being actively involved in developing new products, identifying requirements and setting timelines.

Some of the major responsibilities include managing engineering projects end-to-end by setting goals and timelines. I work closely with our internal team for business and product management. I also collaborate with developers and testers to implement new systems and design strategies for future development projects based on the company’s overall objectives and resources. Hiring engineers and coordinating their training as well as implementing innovative technologies is also one of my focus. Additionally, I coordinate with external stakeholders for new integration and tools.

With the onset of the pandemic, we are cognizant of the fact to ensure a healthy workforce and remain adhered to our principles of the customer-first approach. Some of the immediate goals we are targeting are a set of product releases. These aim at simplifying our customer experiences. It includes GST simplification, connected e-invoices, connected E-Way Bills to name a few. We also aim to bring in the much-needed work from anywhere experience.

Has the inclusion of Women in STEM changed over the years? How can the change be snowballed?

Definitely, when it comes to education, we can see a substantial increase of women in various streams of STEM. In fact, we can also see a significant number of them pursuing their respective streams right after the completion of their education. However, the major challenge that I have seen not just in the organizations where I have worked, but also through the numerous interactions I have had with friends, peers and acquaintances is about the continuation or retention of women in these career paths.

When I look back at what has helped me to sustain and pursue this stream for over two decades, I feel it has majorly been the support, guidance and encouragement that has been provided to me through the work culture and the environment and my leaders who have stood by me through thick and thin. If we can create such conducive and nurturing workplaces for women, give them the right opportunities, encourage them on the path of innovation and exploration, provide them opportunities for continuous upskilling, give them enough flexibility to balance their personal priorities and more importantly create a network of support, we will soon see the snowball effect.

“If every woman leader can mentor and nurture two more, I am sure we will soon be able to break the stereotypes and be able to bring in more diversity in the workplace.”

In the new normal, how are the roles of Women in Tech changing? What are the new challenges for women in tech?

In general, the new normal of WFH or working remotely has its own advantages. These include lesser traffic, more time to work, work from anywhere. Thus, it is opening up more opportunities to take up challenging prospects which otherwise most women would have foregone. However, it is difficult more than ever to define boundaries between professional and personal space at home.

In the majority of cases, women are the primary caregivers. The balancing act often leads to excessive working time and thereby burnouts.

The impact of women in technology is undeniable. What are some ways to keep women engaged and appreciated in the workforce?

Almost all researches show that diversity at the workplace invariably brings in enhanced productivity and creativity. Further, Women in the Organizational Workforce – almost all major organizations across the globe are following up on this initiative. I believe people are more engaged when they feel their work is appreciated. They need opportunities to learn which reinforces their confidence in themselves. Some great catalysts that motivate women about their work are – having role models at work, availability of mentoring from them and targeted leadership development programs.

In senior roles, how many women are on the top at Tally? What is the company doing to bring equality in genders in senior leadership roles?

Currently, Tally has 31% women in the leadership team, managing key functions in the organization. We believe women on management teams have a very positive influence on the social motivation and achievement of the organization. We have learnt from real-time experiences that women leaders possess skills like resilience, attention to detail, measured thinking, people development etc. These are critical when it comes to participative decision making.

What should organisations do to further advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the new hybrid workplace?

Organisations should increasingly focus on a holistic approach towards diversity and inclusion while hiring in addition to gender diversity. They must focus and evangelize within the internal teams on the need for gender diversity and provide unbiased training. It is simple, purely because gender has nothing to do with talent, skill, intellectual and/or execution potential in either STEM or any other profession. If an organisation is not willing to give a fair chance regardless of gender, race, orientation, class, and so on – all they are doing is restricting their potential talent pool, and this is a just lose-lose scenario.

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