Meet Deepa Seshan
Founder & Principal at Kindle Consulting LLC
How did you learn about PDXWIT and what keeps you coming back?
To be candid, I'm a fairly recent addition to the PDXWIT community but have heard about it in various local circles. This year especially, it seemed like all interesting conversations led back to a suggestion to get more involved with PDXWIT, and I had heard rave reviews about Megan; the PDXWIT crew; the fantastic networking happy hours and more. I've had the chance to start to get more involved, and I can already tell this is an amazing organization with a fantastic mission, a vast network of local professionals, and the sky's the limit!
Can you give us some background on your career in tech? Did you intend this career path?
I've had a long and meandering career in tech—in some ways I feel like techs had a way of finding me and bringing me back! I started my career at Intel as a circuit design engineer (yes, I'm a geek), then moved to the 'dark side' as they joked with a shift into product marketing while still at Intel. I had the chance to work in the trenches for a while then helped drive global strategy and marketing for the products I used to design, which was pretty cool.
While at Intel, I earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship and upon graduating, went to work for a small company in the food industry—a fun experience and I learned a lot, but it wasn't tech. I missed the pace, the innovation, the focus.
I was recruited into HP and really that's where I would say I 'grew up.' I wore a lot of hats in the near-decade I spent at HP, in a range of roles in strategy, product marketing, new business creation, web services, hardware and more and it was an amazing time to be doing this as the world really just morphed with so many advancements in technology and products that we couldn't live without today that just didn't exist ten years ago. I had the chance to work on some amazing businesses, around the world and with phenomenal folks driving innovation and connecting with customers...loved it.
When the time came for a change, I shifted paths to go head up B2B marketing at KinderCare and built a great team and business strategy, and again, just learned a ton. That said, there was still just something missing. It wasn't that long ago, earlier this year really, that it dawned on me that my long nearly two-decade journey was a way of bringing me to the crossroads to make a big decision to set up shop on my own. That's what I did and haven't looked back.
I started Kindle Consulting this year and have loved working with big and small companies to support their product strategy and go-to-market efforts, and it's been an exhilarating ride. The amazing thing is while I work with clients from a range of industries and focus areas, the one common is that there isn't really anyone that does anything today that doesn't have a tech-touch to it in one form or another. So tech found me again, and I'm glad it did!
What is a travel experience or a change in fortune that impacted your life?
I'm experiencing this now so the timing of this question is just perfect. I'm writing this from across the pond, in my hometown of Bangalore, India. It's nostalgic to be sitting at my parent's dining table and writing about my career and experiences over the past ~20 years since I've moved to the US.
There is never a good time to do this sort of thing, but I decided it was time. So last year, I planned an extended trip to see my parents who still live in Bangalore, and bring my kids. Zachary is seven and Anya is four; this is Anya's first trip. [We are] immersing ourselves in our family, experiencing the culture, the food, the social norms, all of it. We are spending just over two months and have a few weeks left of our huge adventure. And it's been an adventure—there have been moments when I've wondered what on earth I was thinking. My darling hubby told me I was crazy, but he went with it and has been shuttling back and forth as he can. But, I have had many more moments when I just feel so blessed to have able to take the time to do this.
Seeing my parents bond with my kids on their home turf, giving my kiddos the chance to really learn about India, reconnecting with childhood friends, the list goes on. Zach and Anya have picked up pieces of two local languages already, made a crazy number of new friends, got to ride on elephants, go on safaris, eat all kinds of amazing food, see a lot of India, and more—a bit of a different summer camp experience as my son says. This trip has brought me back to my roots, quite literally, and reminded me of who I am, where I came from, what's important. And I think with the madness of life and everything in it, I needed it to just put things a little more in perspective. It's reminded me of the importance of family, of balance, of values, of what we teach our kids, of the things we take for granted every single day. For anyone considering doing something similar, I'd highly recommend it!