March 30, 2024

Corporate, Entrepreneurship and Social impact with Vinaya Mallya

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Corporate, Entrepreneurship and Social impact with Vinaya Mallya
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Show Notes

Today, my guest is Vinaya Mallya, is a seasoned IT professional, who has played leadership roles in the corporate sector, then was an entrepreneur building a team and moving on to create solutions to impact the social sector.

In this conversation, :

  • Vinaya shares her career path, including experiences in corporate IT, startups, and the social sector.

Early Career in IT

  • Vinaya’s original plan was to study civil engineering, but her principal encouraged her to switch to computer science due to her gender.
  • Despite initial challenges and limited practical experience, a project in COBOL sparked her interest in software development.
  • Her husband, an IT engineer, encouraged her to pursue a career in the field.

Finding Passion at Infosys

  • After getting married, Vinaya joined Infosys despite initial reservations.
  • The initial training period was difficult, but the collaborative work environment with diverse teams motivated her.
  • She discovered her passion for problem-solving, particularly collective problem-solving in a team setting.

Work-Life Balance Challenges

  • Marrying young and having a demanding job at Infosys presented work-life balance challenges.
  • Her supportive in-laws and husband, who encouraged her to focus on her career for the first five years, helped manage the situation.
  • Traveling abroad for work required additional compromises to maintain family harmony.

Leaving Infosys and Starting a Startup

  • Inspired by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit, Vinaya dreamt of creating jobs someday.
  • After 11 years at Infosys, the need to care for her children and the distance from her husband in Malaysia led to her resignation.
  • Her mother’s strong words about the impact on their children became a turning point.

Starting an Animation Franchise

  • Taking a break from corporate life, Vinaya explored franchise opportunities
  • Animation, a growing field, emerged as the final choice, and she started a franchise of an animation institute.
  • While the business didn’t generate significant profit, Vinaya takes pride in providing a platform for young talent to launch their careers.

Work in the Social Sector

  • Vinaya’s entry into the social sector was accidental. Initially, she volunteered one day a week, but her time commitment gradually increased to five days a week.
  • The transition from corporate IT to the social sector required adjustments. Vinaya had to learn to appreciate the value of creative solutions and a less structured work environment.
  • She also enjoyed building a team of all women who could relate to the challenges faced by the target population.

Challenges of an All-Women Team

  • Vinaya acknowledges that managing an all-women team has its challenges, such as difficulty with travel and limited budget.
  • However, she believes the team’s ability to connect with the target population is a significant benefit.

Career Advice

  • For Early Career Professionals: Vinaya recommends new graduates invest five years in their careers, being open to learning new skills and flexible in their work approach.
  • For Mid-Career Professionals: She acknowledges that some individuals may need to decelerate their careers at a certain point due to life circumstances. However, Vinaya emphasizes the possibility of re-entering the workforce or even transitioning to a new field altogether.
  • After 10 years of experience, Vinaya suggests that professionals consider how they can “give back” to their field or community.


  • Vinaya’s career path demonstrates the value of flexibility and lifelong learning.
  • Her experiences highlight the opportunities for women in both the IT sector and the social sector.

Vinaya has close to 24 years of varied experience in the IT services industry, and more recently in the social sector. She started her career with Infosys, where she spent a decade amassing technical knowledge and honing her management and customer relationship skills. During her stint in Infosys, she got the opportunity to work in different geographical cultures spanning America, Europe & Asia. During the phase of motherhood, she shifted from the hectic corporate job to founding her own startup, a design services company for training and development of multimedia solutions. She was selected for Goldman Sachs-ISB sponsored – “10000 World Women Entrepreneurs Management Program” in 2011. 

Through a common network, she found an opportunity to get associated in the social sector. At Dhwani Foundation, Vinaya engages with NGOs to help them adopt technology platforms to smoothen their operations. Her motto in life has been to keep an open mind and contribute towards any opportunity that comes along. This attitude has helped her have a very diverse career in her 2+ decades of professional life and hence has not had a boring moment so far !


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