Coming to America was an adjustment for Anitha. With hard work, determination, and a healthy support system, she started her own business that continues to grow and serve clients every day. Anitha is grateful for her technology background and attributes her success to her education and industry experience. Her company, ePATHUSA, a global software consulting and outsourcing company, values its employees and their ideas for innovation and client satisfaction.
Tell us about your educational background and how you came to put roots down in Iowa?
I earned my bachelor’s in computer science and worked as a software developer in India before I came to the United States to join my husband. He was working as a software engineer here in Iowa at that time. It didn’t take much time to settle here in West Des Moines. It’s such a beautiful place. I didn’t get a chance to complete my master’s in mathematics because I relocated to the US. Because I came here as a dependent, I couldn’t work, so I focused on our family and kids for a couple of years. I grew up in a middle-class family, knowing that money is a limited resource that comes from hard work and skill. I continued to look for opportunities to grow. That’s when I thought of establishing business with the support of my husband and friends.
How would you describe your background in the Iowa tech industry?
With some experience and passion in tech, I started a company to help small businesses by providing services like website design, IT support, and technical staffing. It was not that easy to establish a business in such a competitive market. I invested time and energy in building an innovative stream of new, profitable projects for clients. I tried to keep myself up to date with new technologies and provided training to employees with advanced technical skills.
Describe your journey in starting ePATHUSA.
ePATH grew from a self-funded start-up company found by me, Hari Nallure, and Larry Clayton (founder emeritus) in 2005. It took a while to sprout, but once we did, we continued to grow. Technology helped me to progress, organize, and serve our clients better. Project management & task management tools improved our company, allowing us to stay on top of our daily business responsibilities. Regularly reviewing the risks faced in the past and developing contingency plans, and setting the right infrastructure in place was essential in helping our business grow.
I started promoting our business and services with a website while taking advantage of social media and social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc., which have significantly benefitted our company’s constant growth. Utilizing social media built stronger relationships with our customers and also made a positive impact on our prospects. I feel we are blessed with the technological tools we use to conduct our business, especially during uncertain times.
What is the most significant change you’ve seen regarding diversity and inclusion being a priority in the IT industry?
Diversity and inclusion are always crucial because new and diverse talent helps you grow. We always look for talent and programs that can include everyone. So that way, you see more ideas and innovation. When I came here, I used to see fewer people in the industry. Those who were interested either had no opportunity or lacked resources to find a job or career. So when we come across those kinds of talents, we encourage them. We want people to participate. We want their ideas to be heard.
At ePATHUSA, how do you encourage innovation and idea-sharing?
We are a small company with small and collaborative teams that are always open for quick meetings for anyone who wants to pitch their ideas for new or current projects. I trust that maintaining work/life balance keeps our staff happy and motivated, which tends to produce better, more creative thoughts when they come to work the next day.
Tell us about any mentors you may have had and how they’ve influenced your career.
My husband is my mentor and role model. Coming from a farming family, he is diligent, ambitious, and determined. He taught me how to work hard, handle pressure, and manage finance. He supported my interest in owning a business and encouraged me to get out and explore.
How do you share your time and talents outside of ePATHUSA?
I like to spend time with family and friends, attend cultural activities, take my son to soccer, and whenever I get the opportunity, I love to volunteer in the community.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a tech career path or aspiring to work in a tech or business leadership role?
Technology is everything: a creative tool that makes things simpler and can find solutions for a variety of problems. Please take advantage of every resource as much as you can, get advice, and listen to it. Follow your instincts. Be patient and continue to put in the effort. And never give up. I would also encourage younger kids, that if they can, to attend any school or local tech clubs or competitions. It’s a great way to start learning.
Why do you believe it’s essential to have people of different backgrounds in technology?
I believe diverse teams perform better. Having a team from different backgrounds with different skills, experiences, and original ideas are beneficial for individual and organizational growth. Every person has their own perspective and imagination. We are a small team that implemented diversity and inclusion when we first broke into the industry. We continue to respect each other’s ideas and look for opportunities to celebrate diversity. Recently we received the “Best DEI Champion” award in the US Cellular Best of the West Awards.
As you look into the future, how would you like to see talent development and workforce grow in Iowa?
Multimillion-dollar companies are showing a greater interest in Iowa because it is a safe and promising place to invest. I believe there is a steady demand for reliable and innovative technology products here. Even though the majority of industries are already implementing fairly advanced technology across the state, I see a lot of potential for creating new tech opportunities in cloud computing, robotics, and IoT for advanced thinking. The more we see these fields grow, the more we will see some pretty impressive teams of skilled IT professionals in Iowa in order to help design, develop, test, and maintain innovation in the area.