Mani Padisetti’s journey as the COO, vCIO, and Co-Founder of Digital Armour Corporation is a testament to his extensive experience and unwavering dedication to helping medium-sized businesses leverage technology for their growth and success. With over two decades of founding and running his own company, Padisetti has established himself as a trusted expert in empowering SMBs to enhance productivity, scale effectively, and gain a competitive advantage in their respective industries.
Padisetti, who can be referred to as the “Growth Catalyst for Mid-Sized Businesses,” comprehends the unique challenges faced by these enterprises, such as limited budgets, and delivers tailored solutions to address their specific goals and constraints.
His secret ingredient to effective leadership lies in finding joy in being the catalyst for others’ success. He firmly believes in doing everything in the best interest of his clients, genuinely caring for their businesses as if they were his own. This client-centric approach forms the foundation of his leadership philosophy, driving him to go above and beyond to ensure his client’s satisfaction and prosperity. Let’s explore his extraordinary career journey.
Describe your career progression from the start to where you are and what were pivotal decisions, moves you made, circumstances, and other facts that facilitated your growth.
My career journey unfolded across various domains. Beginning in accounting, I ventured into different fields, including sales, product management, business analysis, project management, marketing, and more. I pursued further education to enhance my expertise.
I had the opportunity of serving as an academic, fostering an environment of learning and sharing knowledge.
I got the opportunity to co-found an IT services company alongside my wife, Maria Padisetti.
I found myself confronted with the exhilarating challenges of running our own business. We dedicated ourselves to assisting mid-sized businesses in their transformative journeys, leveraging the power of technology to drive success.
This hands-on involvement provided invaluable insights into mid-sized enterprises’ unique challenges and aspirations. The experience not only shaped my professional growth but also enriched my understanding of people and the intricacies of life itself.
For more than two decades, I have witnessed the growth and development of numerous tech executives. This vantage point has allowed me to glean profound insights into the pivotal factors contributing to their advancement.
What are the key skills and qualifications that aspiring tech executives in the tech industry should focus on developing to enhance their career prospects?
There are a few.
- Deepen your knowledge of cutting-edge technologies like AI, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. By staying at the forefront, you can use these innovations to drive business success.
- Tech executives must develop a strategic mindset, aligning technological advancements with business objectives. Avoid adopting technology for technology’s sake; instead, foster a habit of assessing how technology can create tangible business benefits. This strategic approach ensures that technology investments are purposeful and contribute directly to organizational goals.
- Developing expertise in change management is very useful for tech executives. Driving and navigating organizational change is essential. By effectively leading digital transformations and implementing new technologies, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to your organization and propel your career forward.
Continuously seek opportunities to expand your skills and knowledge, and always be adaptable to emerging trends and industry demands. Doing so will position you as a tech executive ready to make a lasting impact in the dynamic world of technology.
What are some key milestones or achievements that tech executives should aim for at various stages of their careers to demonstrate their growth and readiness for higher-level roles?
That is a fascinating question. We need to focus on different things at different stages of our careers.
Focusing on gaining technical expertise is crucial in the early stages of our careers. As we become more skilled and proficient in our work, we start to find joy and satisfaction in what we do, motivating us to learn and enhance our skills continuously. This passion for our craft opens up growth opportunities.
As we progress into the mid-level stage of our careers, we have established a solid foundation of technical expertise. We can cultivate our reputation as thought leaders and innovators by actively contributing to industry publications and engaging with larger audiences through speaking engagements. This enables us to shape conversations, inspire others, and establish ourselves as influential voices in the tech community.
When we reach senior roles within the tech industry, such as CTO, CIO, or CISO, our focus shifts to driving significant value for our organizations, we must demonstrate our ability to shape the technology vision and strategy while implementing robust governance frameworks. We will have the opportunity to inspire our teams and stakeholders by leveraging innovation and agility to meet our organization’s and customers’ evolving needs.
As we become seasoned veterans in the industry, it becomes important to share our knowledge and expertise with others. Mentoring and developing future tech leaders contribute to their growth and leave a lasting impact on the industry as a whole. By fostering a culture of mentorship, we create a ripple effect that extends far beyond our individual careers, ensuring the continuous progress and advancement of the tech industry.
How important is it for tech executives to actively seek out mentorship or coaching opportunities to advance their careers? What benefits can they derive from such relationships?
Actively seeking mentorship or coaching is essential for tech executives as it enables them to learn constantly. Mentors and coaches provide valuable insights, guidance, and industry knowledge that can help executives stay updated with emerging trends and best practices.
Mentors can guide tech executives in their skill development and help develop connections through professional networks for potential career opportunities.
The mentors and coaches will keep the tech executives accountable and provide a support system for them to grow professionally and personally.
In your experience, what role does professional networking play in the career progression of tech executives? How can tech executives effectively build and leverage their networks?
Everyone in tech focuses on technology, but few focus on soft skills. Learning to speak, communicate, and educate in layperson’s terms is a considerable advantage if you want to differentiate yourself and further your career.
Much of my success has been because I can communicate technology without geek-speak; with all the executives I have mentored, this has been an area that they have developed, and it’s a case of practice makes perfect, etc.
Networking is imperative to furthering your career, yet many people attracted to technology tend to be introverts; I suggest engaging in networking activities that you can sustain, joining hackathons, offering your services voluntarily, and attending IT conferences and webinars.
Are there any specific certifications, advanced degrees, or executive education programs that can significantly enhance the career prospects of tech executives in the tech industry? Which ones would you recommend?
While industry-relevant certifications such as Microsoft, Google, and AWS will be helpful, it may be useful for the tech executives to gain project management certifications will help as they invariably are working on projects during their careers.
In addition to technical expertise, having some business qualifications can greatly support their career progression. They can opt for selected programs instead of pursuing a full degree.
As we enter the AI era, data science, and analytics qualifications become increasingly valuable. These skills can enhance their capabilities and enable them to navigate the evolving landscape of technology and AI
How important is it for tech executives to cultivate a personal brand and establish thought leadership within the industry? What are some effective ways for tech executives to showcase their expertise and gain visibility?
For a tech executive to grow in their career, having a personal brand and establishing thought leadership is important because this will bring career opportunities to their door front.
They can start by writing blog posts and white papers and contribute to industry reports. Sharing their knowledge in front of groups, e.g., at conferences or industry events, will give them the necessary visibility. If they have time, they must consider contributing to open-source initiatives. These will help build their public profile.
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring tech executives who are looking to accelerate their career progression and make a lasting impact in the tech industry?
If I can give only one piece of advice, it will be this: Take on challenging projects and initiatives that push you out of your comfort zone. Embrace opportunities to lead cross-functional teams, drive innovation, and solve complex problems. This will demonstrate your ability to take on higher-level responsibilities and make a lasting impact.