Vasuta Agarwal is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region at InMobi. She has won multiple awards as a leader and is widely known for being a champion of women’s leadership initiatives.
Vasuta also plays the role of the executive sponsor in the APAC region for Winspire, InMobi’s employee resource group for women. In this conversation at Winspire’s Spotlight event, she opens up about her career journey and shares insightful advice for women in the workforce.
Here are the key takeaways from Vasuta’s Winspire Spotlight session:
Her journey at InMobi
Vasuta Agarwal: “As non-traditional as my move from McKinsey to InMobi was back in 2012, I am glad that it happened. InMobi was in its early days back then and the first few months were a fun ride. We were working at break-neck speed – it was exhilarating. Initially, I moved from Product to Strategy and Operations. But in 2013 I decided to move to the business side of things. I am very glad I took that leap of faith.”
Managing connections during the pandemic
“When you work from home, it is easy to just go back into your introverted shell and relax. But the role of a leader does not allow us to do that. Leaders need to make sure that we connect with our internal teams as well as clients constantly through calls during such a time. Planning and calendar-ing is the best effort we can take in these situations.”
Allies and mentors in the workplace
“It is very important to have allies and mentors in the workplace - not just from a growth perspective but from a day-to-day standpoint too. It is extremely helpful for guidance and for getting things done. Since we work in such a decentralized system these days, where we need to influence without authority, it is essential to build trust, credibility and equity with everyone across teams and departments. It happens very organically mostly.”
What motivates Vasuta
“To be very honest, sleeping early helps me a lot. But other than that, I think it is more of a personal drive I have. I have this internal need to get things done and keep doing more. What also really helps is that InMobi has been such a fun workplace for the past 10 years. It has become such an integral part of life that it doesn’t feel like work. It doesn’t exhaust me.
Sharing your goals and aspirations at work
“I think it is essential to do that. No one – your colleagues, or your managers – will know what you want, or which direction you want to grow in if you don’t let them know. I had to do that too when I wanted a bigger role and I had to do it whenever I switched roles. Fortunately, InMobi respects this and marries your aspirational goals with the right opportunities.”
Opinions on asking for a pay raise at work
“As I said previously, we need to ask for what we want. When it comes to a pay raise, I believe more importantly that we need to ask for what we deserve. This happens more frequently with women. Unfortunately, sometimes not asking maintains the status quo. That being said, as much as it is an individual’s responsibility, the organization should also ensure equitable distribution when it comes to compensation.”
Message for young women professionals
“When you’re young and just starting your career, there is a lot of uncertainty because you’re trying to determine what your strengths are. But I would urge young women to take a bet on themselves at that stage – because you are where you are because you are good at something. Believe in that. You have to be your biggest cheerleader.”
A piece of advice for everyone
“Do what you enjoy. We need to remember that work will always be work and it won’t be fun all the time. So when we do something that brings us joy, it becomes easier. Then everything else follows.”