From Software to Spirituality: An Engineering Executive Forges Her Own Path
Feb 14, 2023
Kusumakumari Seshavarapu, Software Engineering Architect
An industry veteran with 23 years of experience, Kusumakumari “Kusuma” Seshavarapu, Software Engineering Architect, has seen the product development space evolve in front of her eyes. Even after charting a unique and illustrious path in this competitive space, Kusuma isn’t resting on her laurels. She’s focusing on building innovative new products at Salesforce, which she terms “an enjoyable challenge.”
Read on to learn about Kusumakumari’s unique career journey in product development.
Building the future of products with passion
An engineering architect with Salesforce’s Industries Cloud team, Kusuma’s passion for all things product is evident. When she joined Salesforce in 2018, she was the sole software engineering architect in Salesforce India. As an engineer, she designs and builds multiple industry products like Loyalty, Manufacturing, Automotive, Public Sector and many common components like DataProcessingEngine, BatchManagement and BusinessRulesEngine.
“Designing brand new products and watching them generate revenue for the company keeps me motivated,” says the veteran. Recently a brand new cloud, Automotive cloud went GA under her guidance and has already bagged 4 customers. She is currently focussing on building deeper functionality on public sector and Automotive clouds.
Fostering collaboration and team success
So, what does Kasuma’s daily work schedule look like? “A typical day usually consists of a lot of meetings with multiple stakeholders. It is primarily design reviews with my team and peers. I also work extensively with the product team to detail requirements and discuss roadmaps. Plus, I collaborate with the data modeling team to explain designs and get approvals. I also interact frequently with the U.S. platform teams,” she smiles.
Kusuma is now focused on strengthening the India team from a technical perspective. “Though we are an excellent team and are making rapid progress, I want the community here to get even better and be more self-sufficient,” she says.
Leveraging an ecosystem of support
Even while managing a packed work schedule, Kusuma manages to be a hands-on parent for her two college-aged children. “I make sure to spend quality time with the family, especially my children. We travel together as a family, and my husband and I make it a point to always be there for the kids — whether it is to help them with a lesson or cheer them while they participate in an event.”
When asked how she manages to succeed on all fronts, she attributes her advancement to Salesforce’s culture and her strong belief in delegating to optimise one’s time. “Over time, your responsibilities grow, but your time does not. Delegation of tasks, both at home and in the office, allows you to focus on the right things. Once you invest your time prudently, you can see the bigger picture, be it in terms of products, companies, or career.”
“Over time, your responsibilities grow, but your time does not. Delegation helps you manage the time prudently.”
“Saleforce’s commitment to employee happiness and comfort truly sparks positivity.”
Over time, we have adopted various initiatives and programs to aid productivity and flexibility. We also have an async week once every quarter. The idea is to help people define their own schedules and use collaboration tools such as Slack to get things done. It is rewarding in terms of both flexibility and productivity, especially for people like me who are otherwise perpetually in meetings,” says Kusuma.
Salesforce’s core values of equality and trust align with her own personal values and how she leads at work. “I was amazed by the level of transparency here; it was something I had not seen anywhere during my 23-year-long career. From executive leadership meetings to discussions about promotions, nothing happens behind closed doors in this company.”
Finding the time to grow while on the path to knowledge
Kusuma with her family
When Kusuma is not designing products, she spends her time reading and picking up new skills. “I routinely spend time exploring Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform for gaining new skills. Right now, I am learning the Lightning Scheduler and Omni script,” reveals the avid explorer who also follows blogs on medium, highsclability.com and techcrunch.
Outside of technology, Kusuma loves exploring literature centered around spirituality, culture, and history, “I am currently reading the Bhagavatham. I enjoy reading these epics, which were told to us since childhood, but in much more detail now. In fact, it has got me quite interested in subjects such as metaphysics,” shares the civil engineering postgraduate, who picked up a fascination for engineering from her father.
Her exposure to spirituality has led her to believe that “everything happens for a reason” and reinforced her belief in karma, philosophies she believes can do wonders in the professional sphere as well. As a woman in technology, Kusuma is aware of the need for greater representation, mentorship, and inclusivity in the field.
Along with several colleagues, Kusuma has also been instrumental in Women In Technology, a group she launched at Salesforce with fellow colleagues. “We are an informal group of women who work on pet projects. One of these is a product called Mentor Café, which aims to connect mentors and mentees within Salesforce. It has been well-received and is used for several training initiatives and programs. We also developed a prototype for a pre-paid wallet for employee benefits.”
While Kusuma continues on a path filled with immense possibilities, her journey offers a cue; there is no substitute for sheer passion, hard work, and an environment that encourages you to pursue your highest potential.