50 Leading Women: Kalpana Murthy

In honor and celebration of our Women’s Division‘s 50th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting 50 Leading Women making an impact, raising their voice, and leading the next generation of women in the workforce and Plano community.

Introducing, Kalpana Murthy, Chief Executive Officer of WSI Digital Marketing Agency. In 2009, Kalpana founded the local WSI Digital Marketing Agency, Kriti Web Solutions, LLC. For the last 12+ years she has dedicated her time helping small businesses do online marketing. Several members of the Plano Chamber have been or are currently her clients and featured prominently on her website. Kalpana has been a champion for the Plano Chamber and the local community since starting her business and joining in 2009. She volunteered as an Ambassador for close to 13 years and now serves as a current member of our Board of Directors. Kalpana is a graduate of Leadership Plano Class 35 and volunteers her time for several incredible organizations such as Relay for Life benefitting the American Cancer Society, Akshaya Patra Foundation USA, and Chinmaya Mission DFW. She previously worked as a Senior Software Engineer and a team lead at Tektronix for over 15 years. She earned her Graduate degree in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!). There is nothing Kalpana can’t do…including making it to Mount Everest Base Camp, we have the pictures to prove it! We are so thankful for the ways she serves our organization, our members, and the community at large.

1. Do you remember your first time attending one of our Women’s Division events? Tell us about that experience and what made you want to come back.

I have been a member of the Plano Chamber since 2009. I attended Women’s Division luncheons the following year. I remember seeing a handful of familiar faces and women that I did not know. I had to come out of my comfort zone to approach them. This was not easy, but I did go back after that first meeting and continued making new connections.

2. Describe your leadership style and how you lead others.

I approach any situation with a positive attitude. I listen. I do not have to always have the last word in a conversation or discussion. Open communication is very important for an organization at all levels. I do not micro-manage. I encourage my team to bring any challenges that they might be facing with their work. I believe that collaborating with my team members and being there for them when they need help is the key to our success. We both benefit from this. I am also a big proponent of work-life balance. I practice this and encourage the same for my team.

Outside of work, I am in volunteer leadership positions in non-profit organizations. I know my team members are looking for my guidance in many tasks and there are tasks that I can totally rely on them just by supporting them as their leader. Mutual respect is very important. One of my favorite books is Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last.” I truly believe a good leader is looking out for their team and do not have own agenda. I try to follow these simple rules in my personal and professional life

3. How can women develop their leadership skills in the workforce?

Being a team player in the professional setup is key. This gives women opportunities to take up challenging work and show their skills in their field. By gaining recognition in doing so, other opportunities open. They get to lead initiatives to build on their skills. This will help boost confidence and help perform when they move to next level. Leaning-in to learn from other women leaders at work and follow other successful professional women in other networks to develop leadership skills. Build meaningful relationships with professional women that you can learn from and don’t hesitate to share your skills with other women who can learn from you. Be kind to yourself and do not be afraid to try new challenges. Always ask for help when you need it.

4. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader?

Setting realistic vision for the organization. Adapting a strategy to follow through the vision. Building a dependable team to execute the strategy. Letting go of opportunities that are causing burn-out among the entire team

5. What has been one of your biggest joys as a leader?

Empowering my team members and help them grow personally and professionally. I love mentoring and empowering women business owners in developing their leadership skills as well as grow their business.

6. What strategies could be used to promote inclusion in the workplace?

I am an immigrant from India living in the US for over 30 years. I was in corporate for more than 16 years. Fortunately, I never felt excluded during my corporate career. This has contributed to my positive outlook in life. But, I do know this is not the experience that many have had and we have a long way to go. I don’t think there is just one thing that helps people feel included.

For inclusion to sustain, there should be representation at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization. This helps with inclusion to become a norm organically and everyone fits in. Educating employees about geography (world map), culture, language and food from various parts of the world by hosting themed events for an immersive experience leads to environments that encourage employees to openly talk about their culture and practice their traditions without feeling intimidated.

7. What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

You have your whole life in front of you to experience this world. Don’t settle for the first opportunity that you come across. Never stops learning and exploring things that you love to do. If you keep your goals and dreams alive to grow personally and professionally it will happen! Never hesitate to ask for help when you need it. You will never know if you don’t ask. Stay positive. This helps you get through bad days and look forward to better days ahead. Do not hesitate to try new challenges. It is OK if you fail. It is a learning experience Keep company with people that you can learn from.

8. What advice can you give to the next generation of female leaders?

To the next generation of female leaders, I would say, “Always have a growth mindset, honor your personal values, embrace your innate strengths, and make sure you keep yourself on your list of priorities.”

9. Who inspired you and why?

My Dad is my greatest inspiration. He is now 91 years old and still living his life fully. While growing up, I have watched how he cared for the family, worked hard, and had discipline in all parts of his life, helped others and enjoyed life. I try my best to practice these simple things in my personal and professional life.

10. What do you want to be remembered for?

My love for my family. My life-long friends. My dedication to help those in need no matter where they come from. My passion for the outdoors.