SentinelOne’s Sandy Venugopal on Challenges, Triumphs, and the Pursuit of Inclusion in the IT World

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Can you share your journey with us and what inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?

After completing a computer science degree, I started my career in tech consulting. Working with clients on complex initiatives was a wonderful learning experience. Still, the constant travel and lack of role models at the senior-most levels made me switch out of consulting and land at a startup in the Bay Area, which eventually led me to LinkedIn.

What I love about tech is the ability to solve problems and tackle opportunities across different industries and sectors. There’s always something new to learn as it is constantly evolving. After almost a decade at LinkedIn, I moved to Uber where I became the CIO and had the opportunity to lead and drive transformation across many areas.

Continuing with the theme of being a part of industry-defining/leading companies that have strong missions, I moved to SentinelOne last year. Impressed by their product for many years, I jumped at the opportunity to help them accelerate their growth trajectory, deliver on their mission and have a meaningful impact in the cybersecurity industry.

 

What challenges have you faced as a woman in IT?

I did not have enough role models at the senior-most levels early in my career. It’s hard to imagine what you can aspire to when you can’t easily see it. It raised a lot of self-doubt and made me really second guess if I could have a fulfilling career and a home/family life.  That confidence hit is hard to overcome without strong managers, mentors and champions who support and push you to aim higher. As I progressed in my career, I was fortunate to have them, who made me believe in myself and gave me opportunities to shine.

 

What unique contributions do women bring to the IT field?

Women bring so many assets and capabilities to the technology field. In my experience, we excel at tackling multiple challenges, zooming out to the big picture but then zooming in to the details/specifics and building strong collaborative cultures in teams and organisations. So many women I know are natural leaders and can mobilise teams to success very effectively.

 

How can the tech industry better support and encourage gender diversity and inclusion?

The industry needs to acknowledge that multiple perspectives are equally valid, and that increasing diversity of teams leads to increased diversity of ideas, approaches and solutions which leads to stronger results and outcomes.

Being open to new ways of doing things, creating work environments where people with different needs, styles and backgrounds can all thrive and implementing policies that enable people to lead healthy “home” lives and “work” lives are all going to be critical to see improvements in gender diversity and, most importantly, inclusion.

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