Anipriya P., Kimberly-Clark Professional’s digital technology leader who is based in the company’s Global Digital Technology Center in Bangalore, India, is passionate about what technology can do for the company’s employees, consumers, and society at large. We spoke with Anipriya, who also goes by Ani, about her career path and advice for young women and girls who want to pursue a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career, what inspires her, and what she likes most about working at Kimberly-Clark.
Ani, why did you decide to become an engineer?
Growing up in Trivandrum, India, which houses one of India's prestigious space research centers, I have always been inspired by the innovative work performed by scientists and engineers. From a young age, I had a passion for technology and how things work.
As an engineer, you can contribute greatly to making the world a better place to live. I am particularly thankful for the innovations in the field of telecommunications that helped to overcome distances and brought people closer irrespective of where they were located.
Who was your role model when you were a child? How did this individual impact your life and career path?
My mother has been a pillar of strength for me. She always emphasized the importance of a good education for girls to become independent in life. She was interested in the academic achievements of her girls and always encouraged us to do well.
I have been amazed at her ability to manage her work and our home. When my sister and I started working, she supported us in taking care of our little kids so we could focus on our careers. She taught me an important lesson – your career and home are meant to be balanced without having to sacrifice one for the other.
What are some of the challenges that female engineers often face?
For a long time, engineering was largely viewed as a male domain. The perception was that most jobs in engineering were physically strenuous, involved a lot of travel, took time away from family and kids, and were therefore unsuitable for women.
As with any job, female engineers face challenges if they have no support system, or if the workplace is not equipped to adequately support female workers. I have known many women who drop out at the mid-senior level due to the lack of reliable childcare facilities or due to rigid, inflexible work hours.
As an advantage, women offer diversity of thought. Since they represent the interests of roughly 50% of the world’s population, their unique perspectives help to build better products for our consumers. Having women in leadership positions as change agents and role models attracts more women into the workplace, promoting gender parity and inclusion.
What has your career path looked like, and when did you join Kimberly-Clark Professional?
When I look back at my career of more than 25 years, it’s not a straight line. I’ve had my ups and downs and made several lateral moves to build professional skills in technology and acquire business acumen – but I always knew where I was headed and stayed focused on my career goals.
I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering and a master’s degree in control systems. I started my career as an electrical engineer and shifted to IT in the late 90’s.
Since then, I have worked for numerous IT services companies where I honed my skills in technology consulting, IT development, project and program management, and team management. Afterward, I decided to move to a major energy company to acquire business domain and IT strategy skills and gain exposure to a wider range of cutting-edge technology.
In 2021, I joined Kimberly-Clark Professional in Asia-Pacific as a digital technology leader. I am excited about the role I play in shaping the digital strategy and technology roadmap for the Kimberly-Clark Professional business here in the region.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self? What do you wish you knew when you first started your career?
I wish I had understood the importance of having mentors in my early career to help shape my professional journey. Irrespective of whether you are fresh out of college or an experienced professional, try to find mentors to guide you along your path.
What does your day-to-day look like in your current role?
As a digital leader, my top focus is to provide our customers as well as employees the best digital experience every day!
We are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. We witnessed how the ways of working changed throughout the pandemic. Traditional business processes were disrupted, and new digital ways of working have evolved.
At Kimberly-Clark, we incorporate technology adoption into how we engage with new leads through digital marketing, how we utilize advanced data analytics to identify new opportunities, and how we engage with our distributors and customers via online platforms. There are a lot of changes that we need to make in a high-quality, purposeful, and agile way. We need to always move fast.
It is exciting to help craft the new digital strategy and digital transformation programs for a global corporation to include newer digital platforms, predictive analytics, the Internet of Things, and robotic process automation into our business processes.
How do you get it all done?
My role involves a lot of cross-functional collaboration with regional and global stakeholders who are spread across multiple time-zones, which can become challenging at times. I strive to balance my work and personal life by setting aside some time to relax into my daily schedule.
Working for a company that has a good support system for working women also helps. I appreciate that Kimberly-Clark’s culture of care provides me the flexibility and empowerment to manage my working hours and deliver my very best.
What do you like most about working for Kimberly-Clark?
It is an honor to work for a company that truly lives its purpose to deliver Better Care for a Better World. Last year, Kimberly-Clark celebrated its 150th anniversary, which is a huge milestone. Our global ambition to improve the lives of 1 billion people in vulnerable and underserved communities around the world by 2030 both inspires and motivates me.
At Kimberly-Clark, our values define who we are, and our ways of working outline how we carry out our values. We are people who care, own, and act. We play to win by focusing on consumers, moving fast, and growing our people. I like the culture of care and customer focus that the company embeds across all of its markets.
Working at Kimberly-Clark has also provided me with the opportunityto work with brilliant female role models who include Teresa M. , the vice president of business technology solutions at the company, and Nicole W. the vice president of Kimberly-Clark Professional in Asia-Pacific. They both have given me opportunities to grow my skills and build a purposeful career.
Do you have a life mantra or words that you live by?
Live your life and be happy. A positive mindset is always helpful. Value your unique capabilities and focus on things that matter to you to remain happy.
What advice would you give young girls who want to build a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)?
Be curious. The field of STEM is rapidly changing, and what you learned at school will soon be outdated. Commit yourself to continuous professional development to stay relevant.
Focus on your long-term goals. A successful career in any field of STEM is a journey of several years. Have your long-term goal defined and break the journey into achievable milestones. Look out for a learning opportunity in successes and failures you may encounter along the way.
Believe in yourself. Having faith in your own capabilities will help you build self-confidence and enable you to bounce back when faced with setbacks.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science is ‘Innovate. Demonstrate. Elevate. Advance. Sustain. (IDEAS): Bringing Everyone Forward for Sustainable and Equitable Development.’ What does that mean to you? Why is it important?
The theme for this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science is spot-on about what needs to be done to close the gender gaps in the workforce and bring better opportunities for women who are making their marks in fields related to STEM. While we celebrate short-term successes, it is equally important to have a structured way to advance and sustain these efforts for the longer term.