Anuradha Madhusudan, Senior Manager Marketing with Target, is a fine example of someone who has made a very successful comeback into the corporate world. Her journey is a reminder to all the women wanting to restart their career that more than anything else it’s important to conquer our own internal challenges and uplift our confidence levels to make a successful comeback.
Roots and background:
Anuradha was born and brought up in Chennai. She did her BCom in Chennai and then went on to do an MBA from Bangalore. Her mother was a very key person in her life and shaped her to be the strong individual that she is today.
Career and life before the break:
Anuradha has about 13-14 years of total experience. She was working for 9 years post which she took a 3 year break for childcare. Before having a child, life was completely different for Anuradha where she would put in 12-14 hours a day without giving it a second thought, she didn’t have to worry about home management as much nor did she need any support for herself despite a hectic career.
She started off her career with Titan where she worked for 5 years. Towards the end of her stint with Titan she was managing south retail for them. Post this, she moved to Himalaya drugs FMCG division where she was responsible for managing 100 plus stores for retail marketing and promotion. Her next role was as a Business Manager with Wrangler – Arvind Brand which was a national level role.
After working for these large organisations, she decided to work for a start up which had only 5 people called Foley Designs. This was a completely new and different experience for her. She was Heading Business for Foley Designs where she helped scale up the company from a 5 member team to a 35 member team.
One of the biggest achievements for her was the common wealth games torch design. She lead the bid for Foley design which they won and front ended the complete project from a management stand point. She also helped Foley Designs get investment from Technopack.
Anuradha took a break for childcare in 2009. During this period she devoted herself completely to taking care of her son. Instead of board room meetings she was suddenly dealing with children’s play pens, instead of corporate hi-tea session she had to focus on baby food. She welcomed this change with open arms. However, she did feel that she could do so much more and needed to be intellectually challenged.
The comeback story – challenges and triumphs:
In 2012 after being a stay at home mother for 3 years, Anuradha decided that now was the time that she would step back into the Corporate World. Luckily, for her she had a very supportive family who stood by her decision to rejoin the workforce. However, the challenges that she faced were more internal where she had doubts if she would be able to cope once she got back.
On being asked how she faced these challenges. She says “The first thing I decided to do was i decided to fix my house – which means I got help for household chores and cooking so that my home could run without me. In addition to this leaning in on family and friends helped a lot as they are there for me during those stressful moments. I defined priorities at work and home which helped me with work life integration. Most importantly I started reading up, getting conversations with key people and upgrading my skills which helped boost my confidence level before i got on to the interview table.”
Advice on striking Work Life Balance:
Anuradha firmly believes that its not so much about work life balance but about work life integration. Working at a Senior level in the organisation, there are days when she has to put in 12-14 hours at work.
"Each and every person has their own way of prioritising when it comes to work and home. Especially after you reach a senior level in an organisation there are bound to be days when you have to put in 12-14 hours of work. You may also have to travel from time to time. For me, even if i have to put in 14 hours at work for 3 weeks, i make sure that i make the fouth week with my child really count and give the time that he needs therefore i can make up for lost time." she advises.
“There are multiple ways of balancing - bringing work home for example is another option. There will always be peak periods at work. How you manage to find time for yourself and your family through this depends on each individual” she concludes.