Sonia Bhanot is the president and CEO of Verano. Bhanot spearheads Verano's corporate growth and business development activities, propelling Verano to a leadership position in this exploding market. She champions the company's context management software for deployment of fast and effective corporate portals and e-business applications. Bhanot is focused on helping Verano translate its technology innovations into market leadership and real customer value.
Previously, Bhanot served as vice president of sales and marketing at CuraSoft, a leading vendor of event management software for IT professionals. She also held senior business planning, marketing and channel development positions at Hewlett-Packard, where she brought to market several worldwide products and programs and secured key Internet partnerships including Marimba and Pointcast. Prior to joining HP, Bhanot held sales and product marketing positions for personal computer products at HCL, Ltd.
2. Who has been your
most significant mentor? Why?
Although these were not direct mentors per se, there are two people of distinction who were role models for me: Grace Hopper and Walt Disney. Adm. Hopper was a trailblazer who paved the way for women in a male-dominated military while simultaneously creating a programming language that helped one and all communicate. But Walt Disney is a personal favorite because he was able to transcend business by sharing a love of fun and fantasy with a broader audience worldwide. His ability to enjoy his job and help people make him among the most admired of entrepreneurs.
3. What has been your
greatest challenge and what strategies did you use to overcome obstacles?
4. Who has been the
most influential person in your life? Why?
My husband of over 11 years has also had an enormous impact on my life. We met while studying engineering in India and realized an amazing connection. We both strive to excel in whatever we do, but we help each other strive for new heights. He is my biggest fan and likewise, I am his. As a team, we constantly help each other as a two-way sounding board for ideas. I am privileged that my supportive spouse is also my best friend.
5. What lessons have
you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?
6. What strategies
do you use to maintain balance in your life?
My dog, Pebbles, is a wonderful listener after long or frustrating days. Conveniently, Pebbles is also a big fan and exuberant entertainer, my own personal stress relief!
Additionally, my husband and I love the outdoors. We hike, swim and ski at every opportunity. I must confess that my affinity for skiing was tested a few years ago when I fell and pulled a ligament. My leg was in a cast for 4 weeks. There I was rushing to make the last ski run (after all, there is always enough light for one more run). As I came down the hill, 'Big Foot' came across my path and I wiped out. The moral of the story is 'hit the guy and let him cushion the fall'!
I am also an avid investor. Reading to keep pace with daily market and technological developments keeps me busy until late at night. Some may find this activity monotonous and boring, but this is fun and relaxing for me.
7. What new technology
do you believe will have the most positive impact on the world in the next 20 years?
The most negative impact?
Nuclear and biological weapons are the most destructive force that man has created. In the wrong hands, the consequences could be disastrous.
On the lighter side:
1. If you could have
dinner with any 2 people (living or not), who would they be?
As an enjoyable casual dinner, an evening with Mahatma Gandhi would be invigorating. He was responsible for rallying the nation of India and leading a non-violence movement that led to India's independence in 1947. Understanding new ways of motivating and leading people in support of a single idea would be a useful education for anything in life. Beyond that, his keen wit would make for quick repartee on a number of subjects.
2. Define success
in 10 words or less.
3. If you could only
subscribe to 3 magazines, what would they be?
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