Our Houzzer Profile series celebrating female leaders at Houzz during Women’s History Month wraps up with Houzz senior engineering manager, Deepa Ramacharadran (who you may recall we profiled in 2015). We caught up with Deepa to learn how her role has evolved over the years and how she supports the Houzz Pro Marketing Solutions and SaaS Collaboration teams. Deepa spends her spare time in the outdoors, whenever possible. She and her family enjoy going to the beach and taking long hikes. She looks forward to teaching her son, Kabir, how to ski.
How has your role changed since you started at Houzz? I am and have always been a product engineer, but I’m now also a team lead. When I started at Houzz, we were a small but mighty team. As the company scaled, I raised my hand, offered my perspective and helped to grow new parts of the business. Throughout it all, I found that being flexible allowed me to identify areas where I could add the most value.
What is a typical day-in-the-life like? Every day is different. What keeps it consistent is the focus on problem-solving. We’re always thinking about how we can make the home improvement process easier for homeowners and home professionals.
What do you enjoy most about your role? I pivoted my focus in the past few months to be more entrenched in how Houzz can help homeowners to find professionals for their projects. It’s been by far the most interesting work I’ve done at Houzz because it’s very much mapped to helping home pros take their business to the next level.
What do you think someone outside the organization would find surprising about working at Houzz? What has been great for me is the people. There aren’t many internal silos or politics, which creates a very nice work environment. This makes a huge difference for me in how easy it is to get work done and it’s a large part of what’s kept me here at Houzz for nearly six years (come September!).
Who or what inspires you professionally? I’ve always thought of my mom as my strongest role model. She’s not in tech but I’ve always turned to her for advice. I would call her my best friend.
Professionally, I’m surrounded by really great role models, from our co-founders — Adi and Alon — to my manager and teammates. I can learn something from everyone around me.
What characteristics make for a great leader? Listening is the most important characteristic. When you’re surrounded by great talent and ideas, you just have to listen and take it all in to become a better leader.
Do you have any advice for the next generation of female leaders? Find a group of people who will support your personal choices both inside and outside of the office. Also, raise your hand. I’ve found it’s more useful to say “Yes,” than to get stuck in the cycle of self-doubt. Challenge yourself to figure it out!
How do you manage work/life balance? You have to think about what’s most important to you and make your personal prioritization clear. Once that is well defined, talk about it. Make it clear to your team members so that you can identify any instances where it might not work out.
With a toddler at home, I’ve been able to find a balance that works for me by communicating my needs. If I have to leave early to pick up my child, my team understands that I can wrap something up with them later that night or the next day. Having this support makes balancing possible.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself? I lived in four different countries growing up, so I speak a few Indian languages and a little Arabic because I spent some time in the Middle East.
Have you used Houzz at home recently? I think I’m one of the most avid users of Houzz. I’ve done four home remodels and I used Houzz throughout all of them. My husband and I found home professionals through Houzz and used ideabooks to communicate with each other. The more I build products for Houzz, the more I want to test them in the real world. I’m my own beta tester!