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Change, Challenge, Chance and Seeking Potential

Evolution is a part of everyone’s life, but how one interacts with time and receives the chances that life brings forth, can make it possible to seek one’s potential. Watch four Infoscions share their life journeys and how they’ve gone through the journey of seeking their potential.

In an ever-changing world, there's something truly incredible about individuals who possess the resilience to weather storms, adapt to change, and emerge stronger than ever. These are the stories that resonate with us, stories that inspire us to face life's challenges with unwavering determination and hope.

Meet four such remarkable individuals - all proud employees of Infosys - who bared their souls and shared their unique life journeys and the invaluable lessons they've learned along the way. Their stories reflect a strong essence of the human spirit and the power of resilience.

These are not just stories of professional success; they are tales of personal growth, courage, and the relentless pursuit of dreams. Through their experiences, we learn the art of embracing change, the significance of community, and the strength that lies in resilience.

The journey to belong

Recruitment professional, Sundaram R M, has had a deep connection and association with Infosys that dates back to 2007 when he was just finishing his first year of MBA. His initial interaction with Infosys happened during a summer internship at Infosys BPM in Bangalore.

“I was completely blown away by the campus as it happens with... so many others who step foot into the campus for the first time," he said.

Following that, in 2010, he joined Infosys, and spent several years learning the different ropes in the recruitment space and grew within the organization. In 2017, however, he looked for opportunities outside of Infosys to explore how talent acquisition worked in different companies.

Come November 2021, when he was seeking another change because he felt something was missing, he felt that he didn’t belong, a strong connection as an alumnus helped him find his way back to Infosys.

“Change can lead us to great opportunities or new adventures. Yet, it can also be a challenge,” he said, emphasizing that building strong associations helps in chancing upon opportunities that might be well suited for an individual.

He also values the ecosystem that an organization can provide where one can grow and evolve and strive to be the best version of themselves.

“We don’t exist in silos. We all belong to a certain ecosystem, and these ecosystems also evolve over a period of time… The more open the ecosystem is, we would be more open to ideas and opportunities,” notes Sundaram R M. Tweet

He believes that it is important that we do not choose ecosystems that become echo chambers.

“We’re shaped by our ecosystem and it’s our job is to be conscious and pick one that suits us.”

Sundaram’s journey with Infosys indicate that the choices we make in the face of challenges and change can truly create an environment that can be a testament to the impact a professional journey can have on one's perspective on life.

Thriving with a difference

Mandar Salunkhe's story takes us back to 1985, just a year after his birth. A medical error led to a series of polio attacks, and the verdict was grim: survival seemed unlikely.

"But as my mother says, fate had its own plans, and somehow I survived. Then when I survived, I realized my legs weren't working."

Despite the physical challenges, Salunkhe's mother became his unwavering source of support, dedicating herself to ensuring his success. And his mother's advice to never be ashamed of who he was would shape his perspective for life.

Salunkhe's school days were challenging, crawling to get around, but his mother's wisdom resonated. A turning point came when a teacher noticed his struggle and offered support. With dedicated mentorship, he improved academically and overcame several hurdles.

“There are only two choices when a change is knocking at your door - whether you accept it, or regret it. It is always better to accept it rather than regret it,” notes Mandar Salunkhe Tweet

However, a harsh reality hit when companies rejected him due to his disability.

"They're letting me know that all your education… it doesn't matter because you're handicapped. We can't take you."

Undeterred, Salunkhe refocused on IT, pursuing an MBA with an IT specialization. But again, after two years, he was back to the grill of interviews and hearing “Nos”. However, he persisted and secured a job by displaying unwavering determination.

At Infosys, Salunkhe thrived, earning accolades, and grew in his role, while consistently advocating for diversity and inclusion. He emphasizes that a strong and supportive ecosystem can make one stronger as a person, and as a professional. Something that is apparent in his confidence.

"I'm not working for Infosys; I'm working with Infosys," says a proud Salunkhe.

Recognizing the challenges of so many others, he also gives back by volunteering and teaching computer skills to individuals with disabilities.

His journey from adversity to triumph serves as a testament to the human spirit's resilience and the power of perseverance.

"My journey has been of someone who people had given up on, to a person who wants to help others in similar situations."

A pivot to technology

Taking a leap of faith was not new for Mrinmayee Ranade. In the early '90s, when technology was just making its way into India, our storyteller embarked on a unique path. Despite having graduated in psychology, she was determined to explore new horizons.

She ventured into the world of journalism, and this marked the beginning of her dynamic career. As she navigated both Marathi and English media outlets, she always adapted and kept learning.

Challenges in the ever-evolving field of print journalism led her to explore other avenues and her journey took an unexpected turn when a friend at the BBC reached out with an intriguing opportunity. She worked to support several international publications, and collaborated with renowned authors and Pulitzer Prize winners, gaining insights into journalism and life itself. She further worked with organizations focused on gender.

Even as she moved from one phase of her career to another, Ranade continued to seek new challenges and opportunities for growth.

“I am above 50, I am a woman and not from this field. Yet I am here,” says Mrinmayee Ranade Tweet

"And then in one break, Infosys happened. So, I'm the youngest Infosys among all of you, okay. Though I may be the oldest in age," she candidly shares.

Her latest chapter at Infosys was yet another testament to her adaptability and willingness to embrace change. From being someone who never delved into technology to becoming deeply ingrained in it, Ranade’s career journey exemplifies the power of learning and continuous growth.

A space where she is learning from scratch, she speaks to the expanse there is when it comes to technology and how unique and interesting her journey has been. Even more so because with her skills as a writer, she is now able to decipher complicated technology jargon to be more accessible.

Restarting with Infosys

In the world of technology and corporate life, it's not uncommon to encounter professionals who have embarked on unique journeys. For one woman, her career path was filled with twists and turns, and a remarkable resurgence after a significant break. Meet Bhanvi Khajuria.

Life often presents us with unforeseen situations, and for Khajuria, her choice to focus on her family and her personal life led her to make the choice to step away from her IT career. Little did she know that her journey was far from over.

After years of dedicating herself to family and raising her children, the time had come for her to reignite her professional flame. In 2017, she decided to embark on this journey of reinvention.

"I started just to get into a profession. Obviously, you need to see how you are placed with respect to the current times. So, I started looking at what is in the market and what technologies I need to refresh because that has been a long break for me."

Adapting to the rapidly evolving world of technology required her to refresh her skills. Undeterred, she took courses on different learning platforms, watched, and learnt from YouTube videos, and diligently prepared herself for her comeback.

"I was looking for an opportunity. And at that time there were very few people, especially women who are on a long break waiting to get back," she noted.

"I would say whatever you have, since you have taken a break, obviously you have some expertise. So don't belittle that,” says Bhanvi Khajuria Tweet

Breaking barriers and stereotypes, she set out on her job hunt, determined to prove that a career comeback was not only possible but empowering.

"There were a few opportunities. I tried, and... then there was an option from Infosys, ‘Restart with Infosys’. So, I gave that a shot, and I was called for it."

This was the chance Khajuria had been preparing for.

While the path back wasn’t a cake walk, and her skills and determination were put to the test, she persevered in an ecosystem that supported her. Furthermore, she says, her journey was not only about returning to work but also about thriving in her new role.

"I'm happy because when I joined, I got good leadership support and also the project was commensurate with what I was doing before the break. It was into project management and delivery management.”

She saw her return to the workforce as a facing the new environment, rather than a source of fear.

"It's not a scare factor or anything. It's just a challenge, I would say. And again, a change from what I was doing in the past seven years… I was happy, especially within a year, I was also promoted because of my performance."

Her story serves as a powerful message to others who may have taken career breaks - challenges can be conquered, and opportunities can be reclaimed with the right mindset.

"I would say whatever you have, since you have taken a break, obviously you have some expertise. So don't belittle that. You know something and you are capable of taking it forward from there."

Her advice is clear – The knowledge and expertise gained over the years is a valuable asset that can propel one forward.

"And you can also pick it up. It's not a big deal. And there are a lot of learning courses available. And I would say just give it a shot. You are no less than others."

In the captivating life journeys of these incredible individuals, the interplay of change, challenges, and serendipity paints a truly relatable picture. It's a reminder that life's twists and turns can be a well of motivation, compelling us to face the unknown with strength and grab hold of opportunities for growth.

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