Women in Big Data Global



International Women’s Day – Ranjani Mani

Women in Big Data

By Ranjani Mani,

March 8, 2021

ranjani pic

Women in Big Data is spotlighting amazing women

I am passionate about creating a world we would like our children to live in.

I have more than 14 years of experience in setting up and growing Data Science teams, Product Management, Consulting and Customer Experience analytics, with stints across high tech companies such as Dell, Oracle and VMWare. Graduated top of the class – Bachelor in Engineering, Electronics and Communication.

Silver Medalist – Masters in Business Administration, MICA, Ahmedabad.

My interests lie in solving business problems through analytics, strategy and leadership.

I currently lead a 12+ member global team of data scientists and engage with cross functional leadership across Product management, Engineering, Technical and C suite executives to solve business problems with data across Customer Experience and Success Organization [CXS] at VMWare.

We work on bringing in cost efficiencies and improving customer experience through both Machine Learning that helps with decision making and ML that gets integrated into proactive support products.

Currently, we are working towards designing and support the SaaS transformation through Customer Success with business analytics and AI driven customer experience.

I also drive and collaborate in Bangalore Site level activities – I am part of the core team engaging with Start-ups and VCs in the India ecosystem to identify collaboration opportunities. I am a huge D&I evangelist and keen on bringing more Women into Tech, specifically into Analytics – something I have had opportunities to explore further through our VMInclusion initiatives.

I write about Tech and AI, Future of Work with Exponential technologies, Leadership and Managing Analytics teams, Book Reviews and Being Better on LinkedIn and on my website – https://ranjanimani.com/

I believe that reading is my superpower. I do book reviews and provide #2MinExplainer videos on STEM, Finance and Behavioral Economics on my YT channel ‘Reviews with Ranjani’ here –https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFH85dLGcSqc6Eofivd3gVw

My Journey:

I have been a nerd growing up – I sometimes think I still am. I was very keen on doing medicine but ended up doing engineering thanks to my parents.

I topped my Electronics Engineering batch and joined Oracle as a Technical Consultant for a couple of years before doing a full-time Postgraduate Management degree at a B school that was 1500Km away from my home – again earning a silver medal majoring in brand management with minors in econometrics.

I think I discovered a bit more about myself for the first time out there – more outside than within the classrooms networking with peers and visiting professors.

I had stints at Tata Docomo, Tech Mahindra, and Dell Global Analytics in product management, consulting, and analytics before VMWare.

My interest lies in solving business problems through analytics, strategy, and leadership.

I am passionate about a lot of things – but primarily it falls under three areas – AI &Technology, Books, and Being better.

I strongly believe in using a human-centred approach to win and drive business value with AI.

The most accurate models are not useful unless the humans involved in them can use them. I think therefore that the AI strategy should be aligned to business strategy and it should start with the needs of the humans in the loop. Managing a data sciences team of high performers also requires exceptional leadership – in terms of constantly learning and enabling people across process, process, and tech and through designing systems that work.

Technology, I believe, can hence be the greatest leveler – throwing open opportunities to my 6-year-old that wasn’t available just a couple of decades ago.

I believe Technology isn’t inherently good or bad – but reflects the intentions of the user.

And most importantly, I would like to do my part in bringing in more women into tech – specifically into analytics.

My parents have been both been working professionals and always treated each other equally. And that was my definition and expectation of normal.

And when I grew up to see that that isn’t always the case for many women around me, the helplessness infuriated me.  Enabling women with a choice is the best thing one could do – and I am keen on figuring out how I can do my part towards that.

I enjoy dabbling in new things – say learning how to build a website, finances to learning drama, and meeting new folks.

I am passionate about all that I do, and I have a huge action bias towards getting stuff done.

What motivates me?

I spent a lot of time questioning myself about my ‘raison d’etre‘ or reason for being as the French call it. What drives me, I realize, more than anything else in life, is my need to make my dad proud.

He had such a huge presence everywhere he went, he was a natural leader earning respect for the unfailing values he held himself to across 4 decades of his career.

The sense of integrity he displayed and doing his part to make a positive difference – that is my NorthStar.

He is the compass and driving force – for every single thing I have done and continue to do, I do it for him.

At different points in our lives, one is going to be met by different paths, choices, and decisions to take. From the trivial to the consequential – we are the sum total of our decisions.

We need more than willpower to drive us through the difficult times.

The ‘why’ should be bigger than yourself – it is one that anchors you and helps you choose right from wrong during a conundrum.

And my raison-d-etre is to be the person my dad would be proud of.

What frustrates me? 

One of my favorite thinkers is Naval Ravikant and he oft mentions this – “Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”

So, what frustrates me is when there is a lack of accountability, standing up and taking responsibility, and getting things done. Relationships and your credibility at work and life are built long term on our ability to stand by what we promise to deliver.

The other thing that comes close to this is anything that goes against my principle to “Be Nice and Be Respectful.

Quotes or inspirations that I live by. 

Being Better each day – That is the precept I would like to live by. Level Up. Average is Over.

Messages I’d like to share with our awesome WIBD community of 17000+ women worldwide….

Fear holds us back from putting ourselves out there. This is also more evident in women than men.

“..women consistently rated their performance on a test lower than did men, even though both groups had the same average score.

Where men on average gave themselves a 61 out of 100, women gave themselves a 46 out of 100. Even when told that an employer would use their self-evaluation to decide whether to hire them and what to pay them, women still self-promoted less than men” [source]

“Stop telling yourself you’re not qualified, not worthy, or not experienced enough. Growth happens when you start doing things you’re not qualified to do” – Steven Bartlett