Maragathavalli Inbamuthiah is the Co-Founder at Employee Experts. Known to her friends and employees as Maggie, is responsible for the Leadership Development and Consulting Services. She is currently program managing Global Payroll Process for a large Banking Customer in Australia.During her career spanning more than 15 years, she has worked on many HR transformation, operational, analytical projects for various clients in the US, Australia and India.Maggie holds a Masters degree in Human Resource Management from University of London. In this interview with Techstory, Maggie talks abut her journey of being an entrepreneur.
What made you take the leap towards entrepreneurship? What was the inspiration? How did it finally happen ?
My family has a background of Entrepreneurship, so I guess it’s in my blood. After working with Infosys for a decade, I felt the urge to test myself in this wild world. I was not keen on the corporate rat race and the politics that follows. Having worked on HR Technology Implementation projects, I knew that the area of People Management via Technology had a lot of gaps. I wanted to add value and make a change to the eco-system. I was on the urge of making a decision when the company policy at Infosys changed and took away flexible work timings. As a mother, it was very important for me to be home during specific hours and I was not willing to compromise. So, with a leap of faith, I quit my job and started a consulting firm which later evolved into a Technology company when my husband, Srini, also joined the venture.
Please tell us how a typical day is in life of Maggie
I always try to strike a balance between my professional and personal life. At home my day starts early, I need time to mediate or read which helps to start the day on the right note. After kids leave for school, I squeeze in a quick workout before I leave for work around 8 AM. Office activities consist of team meetings and customer meetings; I plan activities that require face to face interactions when I am physically in office. I try to leave early, by 4.30pm or 5pm, to get back home in time for an evening walk with the kids. Evening is a mix of focused work, emails and dinner. Weekends are relaxed I catch up on movies and write blogs.
What are your top priorities for your company and for your people?
Our top priority is to transform the way employees interact with enterprises to enable a happy and engaged workforce. The obvious first step then is to be an organisation ourselves where employees are happy and engaged. We have created an organisational framework we call Good, Happy, Talented and Engaged and it is our top priority internally and externally to enable that. With regards to our people, we want them to be proud of the experience they are creating for their end customers and appreciate the value they are adding. They should recognise good quality and always strive to deliver their best. Our biggest aspiration is for each of them to walk out as entrepreneurs someday, taking the culture and the lessons learnt here with them.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I usually don’t plan beyond the coming weekend 🙂 . I am open to wherever life will take me in 5 years. But if I am asked to envision where we would reach in five years, we would be running a global firm with operations and customers in multiple countries making an impact to how employees manage work in their organisations. Mr. Narayana Murthy always used to say that work places need to provide a positive environment to employees so that when they go home the positive impact will create happy families and eventually happy societies. We aspire to be a catalyst in the process making work easier for employees through our technology platforms and eventually impact societies positively. I would like our product to be synonymous for frictionless workplaces 5 years from now. I am working on setting up an organisation built on strong operational fundamentals that will allow us to scale and expand.
How has your experience been of being a woman entrepreneur? Today if you had to what advice you would give your 20 year old self?
Personally it has been a great period of growth. I enjoy the freedom that comes with this, freedom to define what you want to work on and who you want to work with. The challenges are immense but hard work and perseverance ultimately pays off. I have also learnt to prioritise better and focus only on what really matters, and that has helped along the way. Being an entrepreneur has also made me realise what a wonderful support system I have in friends and family. From helping with household chores and child care to financially pitching in, they have sustained me every inch of the way. If I have to give an advice to my 20 year old self it would be to follow my heart. I think I started off conventionally and travelled a bit on roads laid by others before I found my path. I could have had more fun doing what really intrigued me.
There is a strong debate about whether women can have it all. Your comments.
I think women can have it all. But we need to be very careful what we define “all” as. For me, “all” is family, being a professional and doing good work, being healthy and travelling. I can do that quite easily. But if we have a really long list we need to reconsider it as it is most likely to have things included in there due to social pressure, peer pressure and a desire for perfection in every aspect of women hood.