Meet Priyanka Malkan: From the traditional roots of Mumbai, Priyanka's trailblazing path has led her to one of the most coveted roles in tech. She's not just a Product Manager at Google; she's a testament to the impact of perseverance and extending outside of one's comfort zone.

What brought you to Tech?

Priyanka’s voyage into the tech world is not just a career; it's a narrative of breaking stereotypes and pursuing the true essence of self-worth beyond societal norms. Priyanka saw it differently. "I wanted to forge my own path," she recalls. Her first act in forging her own path? Enrolling in computer engineering and becoming the first in her family to move away for education.

This move was not without its challenges. Priyanka recounts, "I studied in a city where I did not understand the language or culture." She embraced these challenges:

"the clothes you wear and the language you speak does not define the person you become."

After a stint with coding, Priyanka didn’t settle, and pursued something more aligned with her passions. She went for a Master's at Carnegie Mellon, despite financial hurdles. "After the kind help of friends and teachers, I made my way to the US," she shares. It was this blend of community support and personal grit that defined her journey.

Her dream of becoming a Product Manager seemed distant as she navigated the complexities of interviews and personal milestones, including motherhood. "I worked 150% of the time...came home burnt out," Priyanka reflects. But her persistence paid off, landing her roles on the Google Search, Gmail, and Assistant teams after 17 interviews.

Lightning Tips for Aspiring Tech Whizzes

  • Start Coding: "Learn coding. Start small. Build on it," advises Priyanka. It's about the incremental progress that leads to mastery and innovation over time, and you always have to start somewhere.
  • Build, Listen, Improve: Launch your idea, then refine it based on real user feedback. "You will have built something amazing for someone to use," she mentions.
  • Persistence Pays: Priyanka's journey exemplifies that resilience is key. "Keep doing this, and you will have created something beautiful," she asserts.

Beyond the Screen: Priyanka’s Lasting Impact

While pursuing her undergrad in India, she co founded Sahaya Hasta, a non-profit where she dedicated free time to enhancing the lives of rural orphaned girl children. Despite Priyanka moving abroad to the United States, the organization is still working on the mission with new leadership.

Her story is not just one of personal triumph but an inspiration to students with tech aspirations who can see in her a mirror of their potential. Her advice is simple, yet proven: pick something you care about deeply, build something in that realm, lean on people to make it better and don't give it up!