Jahnavi Thekkada

A Leader Shaping Tomorrow with Today's Data

Jahnavi Thekkada

Vice President- Data & Data Science,

Lucida Technologies

I n the next decade, data will become the backbone of business innovation and societal advancement, marking a transformative era where the integration of Business Intelligence (BI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) redefines decision-making processes. Companies are increasingly dependent on complex data analytics to fine-tune operations and secure a competitive edge, making data-driven decisionmaking not just a strategic advantage but a necessity. Taking the front seat to steer the wheel of this revolution is Jahnavi Thekkada, Vice President of Data & Data Science at Lucida Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Jahnavi’s leadership in developing AI and ML solutions across various sectors signifies a pivotal move towards leveraging data science and BI to gain strategic insights. Earlier, she also contributed to updating data warehousing technologies and launching new solutions at IBM-Netezza. As part of our initiative to highlight Women Leaders in India for 2024, we had the privilege of engaging with Jahnavi to delve into her professional journey, the obstacles she overcame, and her notable accomplishments. Continue reading to discover more about her profound impact and why she is an inspiring figure for aspiring female data scientists.

Please walk us through your professional journey from developer to Vice President of Data and Data Science.

My IT career began 23 years ago at Bharat Electronics post where I shifted to Igate as a software engineer, focusing on data. I developed data warehousing and reporting skills, worked as an onsite coordinator in the UK and USA, and was among the first employees at Verisign. I also worked at ITC and Herbalife. After 17 years in the industry, I pursued further education in data science from IIT and LJMU, London. Now, I’m the Vice President of Data and Data Science at Lucida Technologies, a role I’ve held for nearly five years.

Can you share your biggest barriers and how you have addressed them?

As Vice President of Data and Data Science, I faced complex challenges such as keeping pace with AI, machine learning, and big data analytics due to technical hurdles, resource constraints, and slow organisational change. I fostered a culture of innovation, encouraged risk-taking and continuous learning, and invested in training to stay current with technology trends. Attracting and leading strong teams required creating a collaborative environment aligned with our goals. I emphasised continuous learning, provided clear guidance, and supported my team to overcome these challenges. I implemented robust project management practices for complex data projects, established clear oversight rules, and promoted intergroup teamwork, underscoring the importance of connecting teams for successful outcomes.

How do you balance innovation with ethical considerations in data privacy and security?

At Lucida Technologies, we prioritise balancing innovation with ethical data management in the digital era. Our commitment to data privacy and security is foundational, guiding our efforts to advance technology responsibly. A key element of our approach is a comprehensive data governance framework that establishes clear policies and procedures for data handling. This ensures compliance with legal and ethical standards, covering data collection, storage, processing, and sharing. Our framework emphasises transparency and empowers users with consent mechanisms designed for clear, informed decision-making. Moreover, our Privacy by Design principle integrates privacy into developing new products and services from the start, affirming our dedication to ethical innovation.

Can you share an example of overcoming interdisciplinary challenges in a data-driven project?

In a key project that required cooperation between IT, data science, and business units like marketing, sales, and operations, the challenge was aligning each group’s unique data needs. I started by understanding each department’s perspective, building trust, and aligning goals to address this. I organised crossfunctional workshops for open discussion, enabling everyone to express concerns and understand how their needs were being met. We worked with IT to merge data from various sources into cohesive models for analysis. By using an iterative prototyping approach, we allowed for early feedback and adjustments, making the project responsive to all stakeholders’ input. I also created training programmes and SOPs for smooth transitions with the operations and supply chain teams. This comprehensive approach was key to the success of our datadriven project across diverse departments.

What are your key strengths as a data science and technology leader?

As a data science and technology leader, my strengths include deep technical knowledge, strategic insight, and clear communication. I guide my team through challenges with expertise in data science and programming, align projects with business goals for innovation, and simplify complex ideas for collaboration. Continuous learning keeps me updated with tech trends, ethical judgement ensures responsible data use, and my visionary approach encourages new explorations. My business acumen translates insights into impactful outcomes, enabling effective leadership and innovation.

What principles or values drive your success professionally and personally?

My success strategy is rooted in integrity, honesty, and authenticity, promoting ethical actions and transparency. I prioritise continuous learning and see challenges as opportunities for growth. By emphasising collaboration and valuing diverse viewpoints, I also ensure empathy and compassion in my dealings. My commitment and resilience drive me to make a positive difference in both my professional and personal lives, aiming for excellence and aiding others in reaching their ambitions.
















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