Anitha Gollapudi plays a dual role in Cisco’s Data and Analytics organization. She extends her stakeholder engagement skills as a platform manager, and she leverages her experience with functional data in leading metrics for a critical company-wide program. As an introvert, Anitha never expected to have a spotlight on her.
Career at crossroads?
For 15+ years, Anitha worked on increasingly progressive roles and ideas. Her career trajectory intersected with her life journey in many instances. There were situations when she had to choose between continuing her career and nurturing her family, sometimes choosing to put her family first, and sometimes to put her career aspirations first.
It was a decisive moment for Anitha and her husband when their elder daughter decided to pursue a medicine course in India. Anitha had to make a choice between quitting Cisco and changing her daughter’s career path. As a compassionate individual, she decided to support her daughter’s dream. So, she sat down with her manager and evaluated her options. To her surprise, Anitha’s manager accommodated Anitha’s desire to physically be with her daughter and together, Anitha and her manager created a flexible work schedule. Anitha travelled to support her daughter during every semester exam. After 6 years of hard work, multiple international travels every year, meticulous planning, and support from Cisco team, Anitha accomplished what she set out to. She is a role model for her daughter and other women.
Recipe for Success
Anitha is an introvert who did not know how to say “NO” when her plate was full. At the start of her career, she absorbed everything that was put in her path. The learner in her received guidance from her colleagues and leaders. The female leaders at Cisco have influenced her work style. Anitha was observant of the high performing women leaders and their key traits. And over years, it shaped her personality that increased productivity without compromising what was most important to her.
While on maternity leave with her elder daughter, Anitha learned of a position at Cisco that aligned perfectly to her career aspiration. At that point in her life, career progression was her priority. So, she chose to cancel the remaining leave and start in her dream role immediately- relying on Cisco’s physical facilities and programs to support her needs as a mother.
Memories bring back memories
Anitha feels grateful that the culture, policies, and infrastructure of Cisco provided her with the accommodations she needed to continue working while raising a family. She has it all, including 2 beautiful daughters! Anitha’s older daughter, is currently pursuing master’s in health care in Iowa. Because Anitha’s younger daughter was born during a prestigious internal Cisco initiative called Everest, Anitha fondly refers to her as her “Everest baby”.
She is proud to lead a well-balanced life while continuing to be deeply involved in Cisco’s transformation. Anitha is an embodiment of diverse experience that spans across sales and HR business functions, services, enterprise release management and operations. Many of her colleagues will tell you that she has built and mastered an algorithm for career longevity and its success. Truly, she believes that hard work and commitment are the inputs for a never-failing algorithm.
“Don’t kill the weeds with chemicals, they are part of the eco system. Just do not feed them.”Anitha
“So how do you sustain your energy to manage work and personal passion?”
Anitha suggests that introverted women like her, who are just starting off in their careers should not identify themselves based on a single success or failure. Owing to two decades within Cisco’s data, processes, and tech landscape, she craves perfection and predictability. The pandemic challenged her own expectations. When probed on how she overcame this challenge, she shared the self-care practice that she adopted from Chuck. Since she heard Chuck in an employee connect session quote: “DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL.” Anitha has been setting boundaries and focusing her energy on results that she can deliver.
Like most introverts, Anitha needs time to recharge alone and does so primarily through gardening. She even turned her backyard into green paradise. Her favorite pastime is to share her garden produce with the community, cook and serve a satiating meal with fresh vegetables.
When asked, “What is your mantra to handle difficult situations gracefully?” She has a personality of teacher who creates harmony for those who surround her. She applies her gardener’s philosophy: Don’t kill the weeds with chemicals, they are part of the eco system. Just do not feed them.