NEWTON, MA–Gayatri Aryan, a seasoned executive with over two decades of leadership in technology and innovation, is Director of Product Development at Dell Technologies where she heads multiple products from inception to intervention.
Ms. Aryan values vision and execution while working through startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. Having graduated from MIT Sloan with an Executive MBA, she has guided multiple startups through digital transformation.
A firm believer in giving back, Ms. Aryan is an active member of various communities: as President-elect for MIT Club of Boston, on her town Newton’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) board, as Chair of Hindi Manch’s Baal-Yuva Vibhaag to name a few. Currently on sabbatical, you can often find her hiking, walking and listening to audio books.
On March 6, Ms. Aryan will be honored as one of the 20 Outstanding Women of 2021 during the 18th Annual Woman of the Year Awards ceremony— to be held virtually this year. To buy a ticket, please click here.
A Q/A with Mr. Aryan:
INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?
Gayatri Aryan: Growing up, it was never just about an individual/me. The daily prayers reminded us to work towards the good of all living beings, staying a mere consumer of this society was never an option. I was continually awed by my parents always helping extended family and neighbors, even when things were not financially great for us. Even today, I am proud and humbled by their actions.
Social and business leaders inspired my parents and I grew up aspiring to be one that inspired many. I have come to realize that these leaders had strong ethics and a will to make a difference. Not always resourceful in traditional sense but rich with a go-getter attitude and ability to work hard. I have tried to emulate these qualities and attribute many of my achievements to sheer perseverance and hard work – the qualities I saw in my parents and my role models.
Principles give reasons for belief and conviction to pursue work objectively. Being ethical and loyal to business goals has helped me stay objective at work. It has helped me make tough choices and pursue them to end. For instance, in one of my work assignments, we acquired competing company and I picked progressive technology of the newly acquired company’s progressive technology instead of sticking with rigid and difficult to maintain EMC technology. It was tough to sell this internally but being convinced this was the right thing gave me the conviction and energy to pursue my choice. The decision is now well celebrated by peers and senior management.
This instance also speaks to the pace at which technology and society is changing. It is important that leaders in this era are agile and nimble. As I look forward to managing a portfolio of technology products in the coming years, I constantly remind myself to not get
comfortable, period, regardless of the technologies and team structures. I have experienced how unexpected change in status-quo can be painful and tough to come out of. When I was 10 years old, my father was let go from work. The financial hardships that followed in the next few years were insurmountable. My mother, a home-maker all her life, started tutoring local kids while my father came up with a business idea, encouraging me to rise to the occasion and self-fund my undergrad.
I therefore, believe that I am a successful leader at work and in the community because I lead by example, demonstrate commitment and work hard. To me innovation is a byproduct of strong will to succeed. The values I grew up with act as guiding principles for my everyday choices. As I take on increasing responsibilities, my strong roots give me confidence to take on new challenges. I understand, what got me here is not necessarily enough to take me where I want to be.
INE: If you’re engaged with any charity or non-profit, please tell us why this group and what do you do for them?
GA: MIT Club of Boston: The MIT Club of Boston seeks to reach, serve and engage all MIT alumni and students in the Greater Boston area; to foster a lifelong intellectual and emotional connection between the Institute and its graduates; and to provide MIT with goodwill and support.
As a President-Elect for MIT Club of Boston, I got to contribute to one of the world’s premier institute invested in advancing science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. I also served on MIT Education Council. It is composed of a network of alumni members called Educational Counselors (ECs) and an on-campus staff, working with the Office of Admissions to recruit the best and brightest students for MIT’s freshman class.
Hindi Manch Hindi Manch, a Non-Profit Organization, since its inception, has been successfully working to pass on the heritage of Hindi and related languages to the next generation through Literary sittings, theatre, cultural and musical events in the United States. Hindi Manch is bringing people together who know or wants to know about Hindi. Hindi Manch brought Hindi and if I may dare say India closer to me and my family here in US. While in India we are Punjabi’s, Sindhi’s or Gujrati’s but here with Hindi Manch associations, we truly identify as Indians! What a pleasure it has been to lead Baal-Yuva Vibhaag these last few years, a group within Hindi Manch that focuses on passing our great language “Hindi” to the next generation but in a fun filled way.
INE: What are your hobbies and interests?
GA: Reading. I believe I live in two worlds. One of them being the world of books. I find this world to be my anchor through the ups and downs of our tumultuous material world. In 2020, I’d committed to reading a-book-a-week; however, I ended up with a-book-a-fortnight. Let’s see how I wrap up the year of 2021!
Hiking. In general, I appreciate the instant gratification a good hike or for that matter walk offers. The benefit that I appreciate most about hikes/walks though are the perspectives they tend to trigger on whatever is brewing in my mind.
INE: In what way you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?
GA: Someday I want to be a role model to someone as Angela Merkel is to me today. In my humble opinion, what she did for the refugees is so fundamental to humanity that it puts all the political fluff surrounding it to rest. She inspires tremendous courage in me, courage to do what one’s believe in while handling its side effects. As boastful as it may sound, that’s my long-term aspiration.
In my somewhat smaller scope today, as a woman leader in technology, I hope I make a similar role feasible and achievable to younger aspiring women.
INE: Your rare talent?
GA: Although not rare, I’ve been identified as a “turnaround leader” at work. With a natural knack for crisis management, I’ve led a few dire situations back on track to have gained this brand.
INE: Your favorite books?
GA: How will you measure your life – Clayton Christensen
Industries of the Future – Alec Ross
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between – Hisham Matar
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
INE: Your favorite quotes?
GA: “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
“If you are more fortunate than others, it’s better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”– Mike Roeder
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”– Theodore Roosevelt
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” ― Lao Tzu
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln.
INE: Who inspires you the most?
GA: I’ve been fortunate enough to have many inspirational figures through different phases of my life. However, I’m proud to say that my parents have been a constant source of inspiration in my life!
INE: Your core value you try to live by?
GA: Integrity, resilience, staying true to one’s roots, and there is no substitute to hard work.