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"Adversity Brings Opportunity, but We Often Need Help in Finding It"

Pradeep Nair, Vice President & Managing Director, VMware India

Pradeep Nair, Vice President & Managing Director, VMware India -- Photograph by Danesh Jassawala

Q. What was the problem you were grappling with?

A. I've been in the world of enterprise software for a while now, but how I got here wasn't planned. Years ago, I was doing really well at a leading technology firm, taking on increasing responsibilities in what was then a largely hardware-led business. But I had a couple of not-so-good quarters. One day my boss told me the management was removing me from my high-profile "leadership" role. They weren't firing me, but I was demoted to run a small software business. It was the first time I had encountered professional failure, and frankly, I was devastated.

Q. Who did you approach?

A. I reached out to a former boss, who was then at another firm. I told her I have to leave, and would she help me find another job?

Q. What was the best advice you ever received?

A. She told me - pause and think things through. You are still at a very influential firm, and what you see as a demotion could be your stepping stone into an industry with incredible potential.

Q. How effective was it in resolving your problem?

A. I threw myself into learning this new software business. We built a strong team, and I got to understand the transformative power of software. A year later, after our success in India, I was asked to lead the business across South-east Asia and India. And I haven't had to look back since - I had found my calling. Adversity brings opportunity, but we often need help in finding it.

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