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Software Engineer, Prime Services
When Darpan Lalwani was a child, she met a famous Bollywood actress, Vidya Balan. "I received an award from her for a dance performance I gave in school," she recalls. "By the time I realized who she was, she was already gone!"
Lalwani still dances at home—especially now, as COVID-19 has made it harder to go out in public. And, while she didn't follow her dreams to stardom as a dancer in the Bollywood industry, she brings the same focus and sense of timing to her current work developing innovative trading systems, where her team creates tools that help traders gain precious milliseconds in the market.
What does success look like to you?
My goal every day is to become a better version of me. Over the past few years, I try to learn something new. And if I can learn a new skill or something different each day – it could be a new word in a different language, any small thing that's new – I feel like I've been a success and had a successful day.
Sharing my talents with people and organizations outside of the office is important. I have been working for Force for Good, our corporate social responsibility program. For three years, I also did work for nonprofits, and I felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment using my skills to help them. It feels great when you can give back to the community and make a difference!
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My Dad has been my biggest influence all my life. I remember when I was 10 years old, he started encouraging me to think about my career, how I should improve myself, and how I should concentrate on my strengths to best use my skills. He is a businessman and saw the IT boom coming in India, and he felt there was going to be an increased need for computers. He was the one who put the idea in my head about getting involved in computers and software.
What do you consider the most valuable piece of advice you've ever received and where did it come from?
The most valuable advice I have ever received came from my husband. He told me, “It's great to live your dreams, but don't go crazy, because it is important to have some type of balance." My interpretation is, “Live your dreams and be centered."
I've brought that to the office. I think my colleagues would describe me as a person who is balanced, and I believe balance is important in any relationship or conversation.
What is the biggest obstacle you've overcome in life?
After the 12th grade, when I left school, I decided to take up engineering. We had entrance exams for university, and when I took mine, I had a low score. I was crying all night. After that, I just worked harder and did not let it bother me. I used it as a motivator to do better in school.
Work-from-home, go to the office or a mix of both?
I used to always go to the office but since the pandemic, I have been home. I have no problem working from home and it is going great, but I miss the office and the interaction of my peers.
What career would you choose if you had the talent to be successful?
If I could only choose one career, I would still take my current job as a software developer. I love it! But if I had the choice of two professions, then I would include professional dancer.