Profession and parenthood, complementary vocations
Discovering work that takes your identity to heart
Anchored under tropical heat at the end of the Malaysian peninsula, Singapore’s perfectly imagined beaches roll into a backdrop of skyscrapers. With a coastline seaport hosting one of the most bustling exchanges in all of Indonesia, this country is home to Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and Western influences with as many languages, foods, and traditions represented. And this cosmopolitan fusion is also home to the ever-adaptable Lakshmi Sasidharan.
Originally from India, Lakshmi relocated to join Microsoft Singapore four years ago. Now, as a Search Account Manager, she radiates energetic commitment to her small, culturally diverse team. Amid the ever-changing cultural climate of the city and its goal to become the first Smart Nation, to Lakshmi’s surprise, it was the work-life meld that drew her to Microsoft. “Even if it’s something I have to attend at my son’s school, I just have to drop a note to my manager. He’s even open to me working from home for long periods if my personal life requires it.”
At Microsoft, she talks about a “no-barriers career” alongside an ideal professional landscape that allows her to celebrate her role as a mother.
Lakshmi has a polite warmth and polished demeanor that delightfully breaks into laughs from time to time. Incredibly knowledgeable in her field, she manages a portfolio of 50 advertisers in Bing, allowing Internal Optimization for clients in Southeast Asia. She must constantly check the pulse of industry best practices. For that, she turns to her mentor—a woman who has been with Microsoft for over 10 years. Lakshmi describes their relationship as open-ended, ranging from conversations on leadership to motherhood.
“I can continue to be the mom I want to be, Microsoft doesn’t limit me.”
As a woman who has risen to success in a global tech market, she continues to seek out organic relationships that augment her as an individual. A strong ex-pat community in Microsoft Singapore offers opportunities for her to connect with people who share her background and interest. Her Microsoft book club is currently reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown—the New York Times’ bestseller on vulnerable leadership. Through Microsoft Singapore’s international community, she meets with a group of Indian women once a month—sharing food, cultural performances, and preserving traditions that she hopes to pass on to her son.
“Team culture and the flexibility as to what Microsoft offers for a working mom—those two things really keep me going every day.”
This industry professional finds inclusivity as a working mom, on a team where inclusivity is not limited to one identifier. “The culture [of inclusiveness] has always been there. It’s not just gender, it’s trickled down to different scenarios. It’s more about, culturally, are you feeling inclusive?”