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Preethi Narayanan

Preethi Narayanan, UPWARD Bay Area Chapter Leader

Preethi Narayanan is a Senior Director at Roku and UPWARD Bay Area Chapter Leader.

Learn more about Preethi by reading her full feature below.

Describe your career, your platform, or what makes you you?

I have been part of several innovative product launches in the consumer electronics industry – Motorola cell phones, Echo devices, Chromebook, eero access points, smart TVs. Have worked as a hands-on engineer, and transitioned to management. I am curious about everything and love solving problems. If interested, I can share the keynote I gave at Women Impact Tech – I talk about my journey and covered how growth is not always linear, life happens

Do you have any habits or disciplines that you’ve developed that helps keep you motivated?

My curiosity and drive have taken me where I am. I was super driven as a child, overcame some odds and made to a great school and at a great company. I had to slow down a bit to focus on raising my son. When I was able to find more time to focus on work, my drive was back to help me learn and grow further. I am curious about problems I haven’t worked on and driven to be at roles that enable me to do that.

What are you most proud of in your personal life and in your career?

Personal life : Raising my son to be what he is today Career: Working through some odds and getting where I am. By track analogy, I definitely had a starting point that was laps behind compared to my current peers.

We know from data that no one advances completely on their own. Relationships are often the difference between getting noticed and promoted and getting stuck. How do you identify key individuals with whom you need to build strategic relationships? Has UPWARD been a platform to helping you build these necessary relationships?

Identify individuals who can help you grow – most often we think we build a strategic relationship and they can hand us the next opportunity. That is very rare and awesome when that happens. You build relationship that would give you opportunities to expand and learn your skills. Another area to focus – build relationship with people who have done what you want to do in future and share their learnings and mistakes Examples for 1: Let us say you want to be a startup founder – build relations with other founders, people who are involved in VCs Example for 2: Let us say you want to move to management – build relations with people who recently made that transition.

As an UPWARD Member what experiences have been most beneficial for you?

Networking and the resources available for learning. Especially the resources I can lean on at my own time.

What advice have you received that has helped drive you to where you are today If youre comfortable please share where this advice came from.

My answer to this question is going to be strange. I actually understood many of the most given advices much later in my life. All the great advices were right there all the time, but I hadn’t internalized. For example, “progress not perfection”, “Know your audience” – the common wisdom is mostly all what you need really. Other than that, one thing that stood out for me was “treat every meeting and encounter as a job interview” – this is a real hard act to follow, but the core of the message is to use every opportunity equally important and not waste any of it

What advice (2-3 things) would you share with others who have similar goals or is on a similar path as you?

1. Work on your confidence and be patient with you 2. Course correct quickly when things are off track

Do you have a favorite inspirational/motivational quote that you’d like to share? 

It is progress, not perfection. I think I had this “all or nothing” attitude for a very long time in my life. And without factoring in the context, I was too hard on myself. Hearing this and believing in it helps you move forward even when things are not perfect. Also, it helps you to enjoy the current moment

When you’re not in “work mode”, attending calls/meetings, what would we find you doing?

Peloton – I love all their classes Listen to a variety of Podcasts Read upon books on behavioral science – this helps me to understand people so much better Mentoring and working with other women in tech

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