Life is Not Sequential.
Madhavi Vuppalapati is an entrepreneur, Co-Founder and CEO of Prithvi Information Solutions, philanthropist, wife and mother. In the short span of 14 years, her company has grown from a startup to a $300 million/year enterprise, with operations in the US, India, Brazil and the Middle East. She successfully juggles her myriad roles and their varied demands successfully, while remaining true to her fundamental beliefs: entrepreneurship as her platform for value creation and her responsibility as a successful woman entrepreneur to nurture women’s latent entrepreneurial skills.
Approximately 60% – 70% of village households in India below the poverty line are supported by women. Although these women were not educated, they are highly skilled in the various trades their families have practiced over many generations. For example, in the village of Pochampally which is renowned for its silk textiles, Madhavi helped 10 village women establish a weavers’ cooperative society. She provides active support to the society with business plans, funding and product ideas, marketing and sales. Her local staff helps open up trade outlets, getting large retail stores to carry the products. She provides mentorship and support to 5 craft-based micro-businesses. So far, she has helped 50 village women realize their latent entrepreneurial potential.
Madhavi and her husband Anand are keenly interested in promoting education and livelihood generation, with ongoing activities in India and Africa. She on the Board of Pratham (Seattle), a non-profit organization focused on education in India. In the United States, her efforts are predominantly focused on improving opportunity through education. She is an active member of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, and through Prithvi Information Solutions, invests in developing internet-based learning solutions for the schools of tomorrow.
Madhavi has a degree in Civil Engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, following which she earned her Masters in Computational Mechanics from Carnegie Mellon University. After a few stints working for corporations, Madhavi found her passion – to be in business for herself. She was an early participant in the IT outsourcing movement, founding Prithvi Information Systems in 1998.
Her advice to women is that they should dig deep within themselves to discover their defining passion. Then they have to constantly remind themselves of it, of what they want to achieve in life. Often women lose their sense of self by subjugating their desires to the demands life places on them such as marriage and motherhood. “Life is not sequential. Women are fantastic at parallel processing, at multi-tasking. They just need to believe this and in themselves”.
Our guest writer is Mala Sarat Chandra, a faculty member of the University of Washington’s iSchool and CEO of MyMobilife, a consultancy focusing on the convergence of mobile, location and social media technologies. Prior to that she has held executive positions at several F100 high tech companies. Her full bio may be found at linkedin.com/in/malachandra.