Anika Sharma

Client Services, Experience Design

9 Months at Orion

“The consumer is rapidly changing, and technology has to keep up. That’s what I love most about the industry. It’s evolving; it’s exciting; it’s ever-changing; and it’s disruptive.”

What do you love most about working at Orion?

The thing I love most about working at Orion are the smart, passionate peers and team members that I get to work with every day. Whether they are in recruitment, delivery, our Centers of Innovation, marketing, HR, our verticals – they are all focused on solving problems.

I can’t remember a time when my colleagues weren’t able to help me with a project or something for a client. Usually, I wake up excited to be at work and sleep, happy, that I am smarter than when I first began my day. 

What advice would you give to other women in technology roles?

The tech world can be rather homogenous, with, usually, a particular kind of demographic or gender represented. Often, I realize that I am the only woman in a meeting, so I believe it is my job to ensure that everyone feels included and comfortable. 

In terms of my advice to women, I’d recommend becoming the ‘role’ model. Then, when it comes to hiring, your organization will hire more individuals like you because you have proven that you can work hard and that others want to work with you.

Also, when you have the opportunity to hire, or if you are involved in the hiring process, do your bit to help with representation. Men and women want to work with each other – because each of us have unique skill sets and can offer something that our peers can’t. It is up to us as women, to ensure that we pave the path for that to happen, both as role models and as champions!

What do you love most about the technology industry?

Everything today is tech-oriented. Even industries that are not inherently the definition of ‘tech,’ are playing in the space. The consumer is rapidly changing, and tech has to keep up. That’s what I love most about it. It’s evolving, it’s exciting, it’s ever-changing and it’s disruptive. By being in this space, I get to have front row seats to this amazing phenomenon. How many industries can claim that? Every day, there is a new problem to solve and every day there is a new solution to understand.

What is the secret to your success?

Well, I would question what ‘success’ really means. Have I won a few accolades along the way? Sure – Rising Star at Grey, Rising Star NA at Ogilvy, Top Global Digital Thought Leader and Influencer 2020 and 2021, Women in Tech at Orion Innovation, amongst others. 

But, hopefully, my sweet sauce is to make everyone feel comfortable and inclusive, with an inherent belief that no matter how small, everyone has the ability to contribute. After all, no one will remember what you did, but everyone will remember how you made them feel. 

Hopefully, my secret is the way that I make people feel smart, comfortable, included and heard. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

This question is fascinating as every day, like most of us, I am probably working on overcoming a different challenge than the day before. Having said that, one of the biggest challenges that I continue to work on is the need to do and get things done, and then do some more and get more things done. 

I have realized over time that there is an art to the ‘pause.’ This is even more important when faced with a challenge that needs a disruptive solution. Sometimes, you need to take one step back instead of leaning in. And that is a learned art I didn’t always recognize.

My instinct is to ‘do’ as I am inherently a ‘doer.’ This is why it is challenging to fight that instinct and pause, but the ‘pause’ gives you the headspace that you need to solve for the problem, by looking at it in new ways. Let’s just say that I continue my lifelong work on overcoming this challenge. 

Who are some of your female role models or women you look up to?

[1:30 PM] Anika Sharma

I can think of so many role models starting with our First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden and our Vice President, Kamala Harris. One of my role models is Rena Nigam, Founder and CEO of Meytier, a company that is working to offset unintended, unconscious bias in hiring decisions and help improve gender diversity at scale using artificial intelligence. She never stops, and every time I feel tired or have a bad day, I remember that Rena never stops so neither should I!

Having said that, for me, there is a role model in almost every woman I come across – women who are balancing home and work, who are balancing taking care of young ones, while being care givers to older ones; women who need to figure out how to put food on the table, while balancing an Excel for a presentation; women who are taking night classes and teaching themselves new things to continue being relevant in the marketplace. Recently, while swimming, I met a much, much older woman who used to be a nurse and is now a wellness coach. No matter what the weather, she comes in and swims for at least an hour! Her sheer determination makes her a role model to me.   

Role models come in many shapes and sizes. I am surrounded by women who inspire me on a regular basis – some of whom I have met for the first time and some of whom I have known for a lifetime, which makes me one of the luckiest people in the world!

Learn more about our Women in Tech here.

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