“Accept change, see challenges as opportunities and be part of the ecosystem and community,” says Lilly Vasanthini, AVP – Delivery Head Eastern Europe, NORDIC & Switzerland at Infosys. With her rich professional experience spanning over 35 years, Lilly has played many roles and overcome challenges to be where she is today.
She attributes her formative years to the lessons of her father, which she takes with her every step of the way and passes them on to her team and peers. Lilly shared her early experiences as well as other important milestones, leadership mantras, the joys of travelling, giving back to the community and creating a lasting impact on the younger generation in a candid conversation with Your story. Her story is part of the “I am the future” series, powered by Infosys.
Early experiences and influences
From learning table tennis and honing her conversation skills, to understanding the importance of being a team player and taking charge of the job, Lilly owes her dad everything that she lost in 1997.
Growing up with working parents, Lilly remembers how her nanny – who stayed with her until her death at the age of 90 – raised her and became her daily companion and guide. “She was almost like a grandmother to me and a mother to my parents. She was able to instill a sense of discipline in us,” she adds.
Lilly also holds her teachers in high regard, especially her math and physics teachers, for instilling in her a sense of humanity. And it was her Kannada teacher who was the first to notice Lilly’s memorization skills and language skills. By encouraging him to participate in debates, Lilly developed a lot of confidence and won several laurels.
A leader in the making
Lilly firmly believes that the journey is more important than the destination. “At the same time, I feel like when you lose an opportunity, a window closes, but a door opens. Losing an opportunity feels like the world is falling apart, leaving you feeling terrible and However, it is important to know that the moment will pass and there will be new opportunities to explore,” she explains.
Finding herself in sticky situations, Lilly has never been shy about calling a spade a spade, but sees them as learning experiences and encourages others to speak up when the need arises.
During her 25-year journey with Infosys across multiple continents, Lilly worked in Bengaluru for a few years before leaving India two decades ago to set up operations in geographies such as China, Australia and Germany.
Travel, the best teacher
As a frequent business traveler, Lilly thinks she feels “light.” Although she sometimes feels lonely, she considers these experiences “indispensable” to her growth, both personally and professionally.
What makes her feel whole is her service to local communities. “I enjoy working with and for local communities. It’s the best way to get to know the culture and the language,” adds Lilly. Over the years, she has volunteered to work in hospitals, taught English to underserved children in China, worked at soup kitchens that serve the poor, drug addicts, and homeless, and has also worked with local religious communities.
Lilly recounts countless experiences during her travels that left a deep impression on her personality, instilled a sense of gratitude, and helped her become more inclusive and open.
Diversity and Inclusion
“It’s about how open you are to accepting anything that’s different from your point of view,” says Lilly, explaining that the true essence of D&I is embracing cultural diversity and being inclusive. . As a member of Infosys’ Diversity Council, she hopes to spread the message and raise awareness of gender issues. “When you explore different countries with culturally different people, you will feel like you know so little,” adds Lilly, emphasizing the need to be more inclusive in today’s polarized world.
On the gender inclusion front, she wants more women to speak up and respond in the negative. “It is essential to be courageous and to speak the truth. This is the only way to ensure that we fit into the whole ecosystem. Otherwise, diversity and inclusiveness will become just a few days of celebrations marked on calendars around the world. For me, it’s an everyday moment,” she adds.
Lilly also encourages women to upskill, keep up with changing technology and become resilient. “There are some remarkably wonderful women around the world today who have risen to challenges. I’m not saying there’s a lack of role models, but I’m sure there’s so much we would like go back and say, I wish I had done that,” she says, concluding that she would like to leave a rich legacy to younger generations and aspiring professionals through ethical practice and profound experiences.