Chaitra Vedullapalli: How to create economic access and grant access to influential leadership

October 18, 2021
Up Your Creative Genius
Up Your Creative Genius
Chaitra Vedullapalli: How to create economic access and grant access to influential leadership
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Show Notes

Chaitra Vedullapalli talks about how she was designated to be a housewife, but destined for greatness as one of the very few women in tech who are taking action to generate $1billion in net new global economic access for female entrepreneurs. She does this through her organization, Women In Cloud, and this is just the beginning. 

Using the power of AI, Cloud, and IoT, Chaitra Vedullapalli is fiercely committed to empowering business owners to access the digital economy through cloud technology. She is an author, speaker, change leader who has technology patents and is a TEDx and United Nation speaker. Chaitra also sits on multiple private and non-profit boards, including the Microsoft Alumni Network and PACE. Chaitra is recognized as an Influential Business Leader with a passion to enable digital equity and access to achieve economic prosperity in our communities. She is the co-founder and CMO of Meylah, focused on helping customers to modernize their business with cloud solutions. Chaitra is also the Co-Founder & President of Women in Cloud, who drives global conversations with the United Nations and top corporations like Microsoft, IBM, Accenture throughout the U.S. Chaitra recently led the charge to build a 100M Global Partnership Network for Women in Cloud with UN Women, Sheroes, EQUALS Global, Microsoft Alumni Network, WIT Network, and 18 other global organizations. This partnership allows all the parties involved to access various resources, some unique to a particular organization, and build a strong dynamic global community of women.

Useful links:

Women In Cloud https://www.womenincloud.com

Meylah https://meylah.com

Chaitra Vedullapalli’s personal website https://chaitravedullapalli.com/

Connect with Chaitra Vedullapalli on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaitrav/ 

Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/upyourcreativegenius/

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-dobrowolski-532368/

Up Your Creative Genius

https://upyourcreativegenius.com/

Timestamps:

[1:41] How Chaitra got her start

[4:15] The billion-dollar vision

[5:39] 2018 and the birth of an idea

[6:47] Three years later, and how Women in Cloud is going

[7:29] Chaitra’s grandmother, and the importance of economic access

[10:54] COVID in India

[13:25] The significance of setting up a framework for future success

[14:11] Who inspires Chaitra

[15:53] Chaitra’s daily practice

[17:44] The true value of technology

[18:42] The value of a vision map in technology

[19:54] Tips for working with a team

[20:33] Value of investing in self-growth

[21:10] Women In Cloud’s four signature events

[22:13] UN General Assembly event

[24:12] How to take steps in the right direction

[28:11] The value of having fun

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

women, patti, creative genius, people, cloud, inspired, world, build, support, economic, create, access, grew, goal, vision, community, big, identity, event, helping

SPEAKERS

Patti Dobrowolski, Chaitra Vedullapalli

Patti Dobrowolski 00:03

Hello superstars, welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life. Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski. What’s up your creative genius, o m g, today I have Chaitra Vedullapalli. Now, I just wanted to say that this woman is incredible. She’s the co founder of Women in Cloud, which if you don’t know about you’re going to learn about today, which is going to be amazing. She also is the CEO of Meylah, an online platform that is extraordinary. It helps people expand their economic pathways. And that’s her whole mission. She’s also a TEDx speaker. She’s been at the UN, she has been rocking it in the world, helping women to expand what they’re able to do in the digital space. I’m so happy to have you, Chaitra

Chaitra Vedullapalli 01:26

Patti, thank you for having me. I’m really, really excited to be here.

Patti Dobrowolski 01:29

Oh my gosh, Chaitra. Will you just tell people a little bit about your story? Like, how in the world? Did you start women in cloud? And why?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 01:40

Sure, Patti. First is people need to know where it originated. And I think that would help a lot, right? So yes, I did my engineering and basically, my journey was to be a housewife. And but I’m very lucky to have a great husband who actually inspired me to really take steps and believe in that I should have economic power. And I knew I wanted to do it. But having a supportive person in your life makes a huge difference. So I got into the corporate world, worked there for like I would say 20 years, and then decided to make a leap into the entrepreneurship world. So as building the tech company realized was it was not easy, because I wanted to build a tech company and the solution for the enterprise market, because I knew working at Microsoft and Oracle that is where the money is, that is where Yeah, you can actually easily build a million dollar business without putting too much effort. But I was completely wrong till I realized is there are many barriers to building a tech solution. That means you couldn’t raise the funding because you are a woman, yet there was a challenge around getting into that customer market, because there are a lot of insurance requirements, a lot of certification requirements. So I actually went to a lot of the community groups to really understand if there is a support for women like us, and also to the Chamber of Commerce went to the Department of Commerce couldn’t really get the support that was required. And that was the place where I met my friends Karen and Gretchen and Gavriella sat there and spoke to them. I think there’s a need for it. And yeah, definitely, yeah. And we really have a need for women entrepreneurs to really closely work with Microsoft, or you know, the big companies like them to really build a business. And we really would love to Co-sell with you because all the other companies who grew up really big, they all have the same formula, right? They had worked with Microsoft, and actually Microsoft of the world. And that’s what gave. So they said, as can you come at for commit your life to make this happen. And that was the biggest decision I had to make. Because till that time, it was fun. Because we were able to put the event together, we were able to create a demand. But the day when they said are you ready to commit to make this billion dollar vision come to life? In? Are you ready for it?

Patti Dobrowolski 04:14

Oh my god, billion dollar vision. Alright, so let’s just rewind for a second. All right. So you are going to be a housewife, your husband said you got to have your own economic freedom. He got you interested in going into the corporate sector. You went in for 20 years and worked at companies like Oracle and Microsoft, and grew your tech skills, right? So you became tech savvy in that space, and then you came up with your own idea, right? And then when you went to pitch it, you couldn’t get it? No funding, right? You couldn’t get any funding. And so this I think, and then you went to go find support there isn’t any. And so you like developed it yourself. You decided all right and you’re talking to Karen and Gavrielle Schuster about this and then you create women in cloud, which is fine. What you’re saying. And we I know that I’ve been there. So they’re really fun events, really awesome. But now the goal, 1 billion in economic access 1 billion,

Chaitra Vedullapalli 05:15

1 billion in net new economic access for women tech founders was unheard of.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:22

Oh, my goodness. That is, that is a crazy goal. So all right. So when you’re just amazing that you actually have done that. And then when did you start women in cloud? So how long has it been since the inception of that until today?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 05:39

The idea was born in 2018. And then one of the goals was to really see if there is a big demand for it. And we did the first event party, I think you were there, too. And we were just expecting 50 people, but we had 450 people show up there. And that’s been the, I remember still is like, what are you going to announce? I know, people are excited to announce. I remember Karen and myself putting on a napkin I said, I think we should do is the cloud accelerator for women. Yeah. And we went on the stage and explain it. That was the vision. And we said, is we will create a billion dollars in economic access for women in the enterprise sector, because the market opportunity was $700 billion. So we said we will create a billion dollars carving for women and we can be very successful. Yeah, that’s kind of how it started. And the community has grown significantly larger, expanded in eight countries. And it’s just going good, I think exhibited a lot.

Patti Dobrowolski 06:43

It’s really amazing to me that this Okay, so I just want listeners to pay attention, 2018 this started, that is literally three years ago. And so now women in cloud is huge, right? It’s in these, all these countries, and it’s just done so much to help women in the digital space. And so it’s I love this and you do a lot for the community, too. So what are you doing right now? What’s women in cloud doing? And why do you do the things with the giveback programs.Tell me about that, and how that feeds your own personal mission?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 07:24

Sure, Patti. The place that we started with was we knew a woman always needed economic access. And it stems from, you know, my childhood stories that I heard about my grandma. And she was, I think, around 40 years and my grandfather passed away. And within a week, they were thrown out of the house because she was not educated. And what it really did was those stories existed, and she always said is, you need to have economic power so that nobody can take your power away, he can take your existence and identity away. So those stories always were there. In my you know, I have been listening from my parents, my uncles and auntie’s. So everybody was groomed in that economic access is an important aspect of our growth when we were growing up. So when I think about it, now also women also need economic access to you know, build. Without that they don’t have a voice, they don’t have an identity, they don’t have a place to communicate changes that was required. So that’s kind of how the community has come together, where we want everyone to have a voice. We focus a lot on collective as a voice collective, and everyone’s voice matters. So when we think about it, the inclusion was very important. So women, men, kids, youth, everybody needs to be there, and the voice needs to be heard. And we are talking about economic access in the world where that is becoming difficult for many of the population. The second one is creating access is when you give access, you also get access, it’s really a beautiful, magical key that you have. So why not activate that. So when you do it, you become influential, you become powerful, and people didn’t know how to really go about unlocking that. So yeah, helping them educate on that particular skill is it’s really good for you to go and help others. And by doing that you’re serving, you’re influencing and you’re partnering with them, and you’re also getting a lot of friends. As you go, see your network automatically grows. And as a child, you already know how to do it. But as an adult, you have so much judgment and bias. So our community removes that piece. So we all have a single consensus and a spirit that we want to help each other and unlock access for each other. So that was kind of the bed of how we built and also one of the other philosophies. We were really to become a lab for personal development so that we become leaders as we go through the journey. So we focus a lot on public speaking, we focus a lot on communication, we use focus a lot on advisory. So there’s a lot of things like we’ve focused a lot on those things. And that was missing in a lot of the communities. And that’s why people come to us because they are gaining skills, and they’re becoming a better self of themselves. And woman in cloud, his identity, or a brand that represents their spirit. And that’s how we have built the organization.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:31

I love that and you did stuff, you know, to say a little bit about what you did during COVID in India, because I think this is really essential. People don’t realize what the impacts of COVID for women in business and women in their families, right. So say a little bit about that effort, empower her family, would you?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 10:52

Sure sure Patti. So when COVID hit, that was in March, we saw a significant cry for help for women in India. And if you look at it, the women do not have a representation in the economic power in India. So a lot of the things we’re not getting access, whether it’s vaccination or mask or any support, and a lot of the women were losing jobs, and also many women were stepping back, because they had to take care of their families. So as part of it, basically, we sent out a note to the entire network, saying, we would love to build as a global framework for providing economic relief for women, and really helping them through digital solutions. Anyone interested in it, it was amazing. We had over 150 people say we want to help in this mission. So we came together. And now we have 50 people working together on a mission to help a million women in India to have economic relief, provide digital solutions. So there are three goals we are working on. One is making sure we have strategic awareness campaigns that are driving so that women get real information about their health, whether it’s health, or education, or skilling or opportunity. So we work with the NGOs to make sure we have that information available. The second one, we are also raising a million dollars for helping a woman who had lost the primary bread earners in their families. So we give them direct cash relief. And that’s a big mission that we are going after it’s a million dollars. And we are asking the entire community to come in somehow. Because when you made that change, when you save that woman and her family, they will be able to leapfrog into a completely different they are not moving towards the poverty, they don’t have to face what my grandmother face. Right? Right, just changing their trajectory for their life. And the third one is digital skilling and employability, I would say clouds filling an employability To be more precise, so we can get them educated youth in scholarship, get them in front of the employers, because there is an 8.8 million jobs open right now. And we need to get people ready for that. So we kind of working on that framework and that framework, when it’s implemented, we can provide the same framework for all the countries, and they should be able to take it from there. And that will be the biggest contribution from women in cloud.

Patti Dobrowolski 13:23

Yeah, I would say so to like, That’s amazing. So setting up it’s not just you know, doing it for this one country, but women in this one country, but setting the framework. So any country who wants to empower and expand economic access for women can do it. I love that I think it’s very far. You know, you’re really thinking way out in the future. And in the process you’re doing all the day to day stuff to you know, you got you’re building it, you have a great team behind you. Which is true. I wonder, you know, who inspires you out there in the world? Where do the big ideas come from? And we’re in your own head? Who are you looking at and talking to that are really it has inspired you to do so much

Chaitra Vedullapalli 14:08

Oh, Patti, that’s a fantastic question. So I can name one person who inspires me. I think I look for people who are very positive in their outlook. We’re looking for the better side of the world, even in the chaos and even in the place where we feel depressed, they’re always there to support each other. So when I surround myself, everybody around me is inspiration moment. So when I talk to my team, I get inspired by the things they do, the kind of work they do. I have my family’s so inspired by my kids and my husband because they do a lot for the community. Then I have my board of advisors, there’s absolutely champions of inspiration for me. And then we have role models like this big role models who are there who are really transforming the world. With big ideas and big changes, and then I also look into my past, my aunts, and my grandmother and my family, and I look at it and say, they inspired me to be here on this planet. So I really have a heart full of gratitude for everyone who comes in my life, and really contribute to, you know, contribute in a way I can and be an inspiration for them.

Patti Dobrowolski 15:22

Yeah, fantastic. Now, do you have a daily practice? Or how do you approach working? And then that’s one question I have. And then the second one is, how do you approach the entrepreneurs in your accelerator? You know, what do you do for them? So tell me first, what’s your daily practice that you use to really get yourself going every single day so that people know, you know, everybody has a daily practice of some kind? Who is an inspirator? Like you, so tell me what yours.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 15:52

So first, Patti, as soon as I get up, I use your cell, you know, emotion is the Infinity loop, I go in every day to kind of reset my brain and said, Okay, let’s set a word for the day. So that it’s a positive inspiration word. And that kind of helps me get through the day. So and then I have like habits around working out, you know, I do intermittent fasting. So to keep me healthy, and then basically have is my a stoic meditation values where every day I have one of the things that I do, like mostly I’ll say, I just want to accomplish three things in a day. And what does those three things look like, and I look at my calendar and see, can I accomplish that, or it’s completely busy, because by the time I get to the evening, sometimes, and then I have to go on till 12. So I need to have that space to kind of veg out a little bit and relax. So my, usually My days are anywhere from 10 to 14 hour days, that I have to work, so I have to have a capacity to work through that. I love that.

Patti Dobrowolski 16:59

That’s fantastic. So like you cram into that workout, spiritual practice, daily, you know, inspirational word, and then some kind of schedule, the three things that you want to accomplish. And this, I think, for listeners, this is really key. You want to have every day some goals of what you’re going to do. So that when you look back in your evening, you can say, this is what I did, these are the things that I was able to accomplish. And this is essential, right? So okay, good. Now tell us. So if somebody wanted had an idea, a digital idea, or a digital business, how did they get involved? And then what do you help them with?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 17:43

Sure. So if you have an idea, what you need to think about is how is your user really going to benefit when you implement a solution? Not because your idea is that good, but how will they change their life, how they will change their identity? How will they change their behaviors, it’s very important for software companies to think about, really transforming people’s life through the technology, because you’re automating the processes. If you’re just building for the sake of technology, for sake, after certain moments, they usually the customer, or anyone will say I’m not interested. So that’s something to keep in mind is the software is a transformational technology that will change the human’s behavior, and also help them to excel, to do what they want to or become what they want to become. So that’s what the technology should do.

Patti Dobrowolski 18:36

So because you were in the center, customer at the center.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 18:39

Exactly, exactly, Patti. And the second one is, I would love everyone to really build a vision map for when they’re building a technology and Patti, you have given me those tools. And every time I’m trying to build a new technology or idea, usually I draw or write my vision map, not as beautiful as yours, but at least I can write my feelings on the left and the feelings on the right and my bold statements. And then I know Okay, that is what a vision looks like. And I think about it because it’s important for you to believe in yourself that you can deliver that because taking an idea to market takes a lot of effort, and you’re really dealing with a couple of things is there’s a lot of exhaustion that comes in, because you’re testing a lot of ideas and piloting a lot of stuff. Second is you have a lot of self doubt you have to conquer that self doubt through the process. And third one is traction, we need to see everyday micro wins that you have to see if you don’t see that. That means your idea is not growing. So it’s very important.

Patti Dobrowolski 19:42

And you’re not going to be inspired. I mean, if you can’t hit the success button with it, you know you’re not going to get any serotonin so you’re not on the right stream.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 19:52

Exactly, and Patti, like if you’re working with the team, do not harp on them for not doing something Yeah, encourage them. That I made a win, this celebrate with them because we humans have to celebrate every day. Because that is one thing we share. We don’t have to share negativity, and we have to share positivity together. So make an effort because most of the people get frustrated, and they don’t know why. And they usually unleash it on the people who are close to them, we’re making things happen. So don’t do that. And the last one is, what are the resources, I would say, join the domain club first, as you get to hang out with Patti and us

Patti Dobrowolski 20:27

all the time, that’s fine.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 20:31

And the second one is really invest in your personal growth, whether you’re trying to become an intrapreneur, within the company or an entrepreneur, we have the tools to take you through a company journey. So you’re never lost, you have a community to lift you, support you and help you grow. And we are hoping that you will solve one of the global goals and support the UN.

Patti Dobrowolski 20:54

That’s right. That’s our big mission. And I love this piece of it. And there are events that happen throughout the year that you can get involved with, can you say a little bit about how somebody could get involved in just one of the events that’s coming up?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 21:09

Sure. So well Women In Cloud really focuses on four signature events, we used to only do one event for two years, we did one event and the demand was so high, we had to expand it to do two, then we said three, and then now we have four. So we have four signature events, starts with the start of the year, which is a celebration event, which is the largest event. And we really focus a lot on highlighting the things we have done and also setting the goals for the next year. Then we come to the International Women’s Day. And we really focus a lot on putting your plans and action. And really taking action was the goal, then in July, which we work with Microsoft. And we do Inspire, which is the WIC Inspire, in tandem with Microsoft Inspire. And that one is all about business development, relationship partnerships that we formed,

Patti Dobrowolski 22:03

It’s a fantastic event, if you want to expand your network, like that’s one of my favorites.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 22:09

Yes. And then the last one is we come towards the October which is the UNGA event, which is like the UN General Assembly. So we do directly in parallel with that really supporting all the UN goals. And at that time, we focus a lot on leadership, scaling, and really helping you become a purpose driven leader. So those are the kinds of activities we do. So if you want to get involved, go to our website, women in cloud.com. and sign up for the newsletter because that’s where you get access to some amazing access points. And we really tried very hard to work with our corporate sponsors and partners to underwrite a lot of access for advanced programs and scholarships for women. So if you need that, we also have that support for

Patti Dobrowolski 22:56

you. It’s so amazing. So you’re just so inspirational, everything like is so positive, and always changing what I love about what you’re doing is that you have learned to pivot instantaneously. Like if you feel like somebody gives you a good idea, you right away, put it in place. You don’t wait, you’re not asking anybody’s approval, you’re like no, let’s do that you ask your team of course, but then it’s done. And then you have the backing of some of the biggest companies to help make it better for women in the digital space and create this, you know, equity that really needs to happen. So I thank you for that. Now if you were going to just give one tip about making change to someone who’s listening, you know, what would be the tip about how to pivot or how it is that you’re able to just make the change? What would you say to them if they’re feeling like they need to step up their game or they need to make some kind of transition to something new, how have you been able to do it and are seen in other entrepreneurs? What would you say?

Chaitra Vedullapalli 24:06

So I think having one tip may not be a good one but I’ll try to kind of give a perspective how to take steps in the right direction. First is my philosophy is think about an identity that you want to create for yourself. So have a name for it. If you want to be an inspirational leader then write down I want to be an inspirational leader and then write down the details are what does it take to be an inspirational leader right so write that down because you need to know what your definition is. Because when you arrive at that place when you have accomplished you know you created that change in your life right because of multiple things. Second is take micro action like micro means micro every day. So for example, I had a vision to leave coffee like I didn’t want to have coffee and I said enough is enough. I want to set myself as not coffee drinker, like I don’t want to be addicted to coffee. And I had to really write down is not just okay, I’m horrible with coffee but I had to write down what that identity looks like. What does that mean? Who am I losing? Which tribe Am I missing? And am I okay to be occasional coffee drinker are people going to judge me about it had to make peace with that, I had to take micro steps towards it. And now I feel like I’ve accomplished that because it was a personal development and growth, because you had to really work on addiction piece and remove that addiction piece, right. And the reason why I was learning is because both my kids are going to leave us and you know, fly off the nest. And that separation anxiety is the one that I wanted to conquer as part of this one. So for me was if I leave coffee, which is my favorite thing on the planet. It was like an experimentation because my kids are so special to me. So now I don’t feel that that I feel like I have the power when maybe, I know I will be stable as a human. And but it was an exercise to go through it, I still drink coffee, don’t get me wrong, I love coffee, but I’m not addicted to it, I’m not like I’m not going to break down if something happens. So when my kids leave, I can leave them, they can fly off, and I can be the best mother I can be for them.

Patti Dobrowolski 26:20

That is so amazing. So you took like another goal, so that you could know you could achieve this bigger goal. So this is really a key concept. So part of that is building the confidence, that’s what I’m hearing is that, that giving up coffee, whatever you did with that gave you the confidence to know that if you’re addicted to something or love something so much, you’re going to be able to let it go. Because we know the universe, it’s driven by, you know, what we love, and what we’re passionate about that pulls us to that thing. And sometimes we get too attached even to a vision of what we think should happen. And that is the other piece to remember is that you can have a vision of something that you want. And it’s important to be specific, this is what you were saying write it all down all the specificity of what it is you want to step into and becomes. The second piece of this is you have to let it go. You have to work on it, knowing full well that that thing is coming to you and look for the signs of it. So that you can see Oh, yeah, well, I was able to give up coffee. So I know, when it’s time for my kids to be on their own out in the world, I’ll be able to let go of them in the same way that is brilliant. I’m gonna try that right away with stuff.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 27:43

And the thing is that it applies to the business because you are so attached to something that right now you do not have attachment, what you have is you have logical mind and you’re not attached to the emotional piece of it. So that’s where I would say is working on that particular one is knowing what your identity looks like, Yeah, what do you want to become? Take small steps, and you can totally do it and have really supportive people around you.

Patti Dobrowolski 28:10

That’s right, and have fun doing it too, because that is essential. Exactly. Oh my gosh, this has been such an amazing interview with you. I knew it would be. But I’m so inspired. Now I’m going to go try this new thing that you talked about around some stuff, I’ve got to let go of myself. So I love that and the person I’m going to become that future you? Well, I can’t, I can’t thank you enough for spending time with us and sharing all of your wisdom and insight. You know, if you want to get involved with women in cloud, sign up, you know, sign up for the emails that women in cloud comm go there. And also, you know, follow Chaitra Vedullapalli on LinkedIn all that I’ll put in the show notes so you can see what she’s up to because she’s often posting through mighty networks about all the things that she’s doing. And with the UN goals coming up, this is a time to really pay attention. Well, Chai, you’re amazing. Thank you so much for spending time with me. It’s just so inspiring to be around you. So thanks for everything you’re doing in the world.

Chaitra Vedullapalli 29:18

Thanks, Patti. And uh, one last idea is become a creator. Go create some cool stuff. And if you can talk to Patti she will, you know the vision map that you need to develop to create the best version of you. So thanks for having me.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:33

You’re so welcome and let’s go out and change the world. Come on and tell them your creative genius. Let’s do this. Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on up your creative genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember You are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy, get out and up your creative genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly Patti Dobrowolski and the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast. That’s a wrap!

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