Getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

By: Verizon Careers

How SVP of Business Markets Aparna Khurjekar went from #VerizonWomenInTech to #VerizonWomenInSales.

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Aparna (right) at a Verizon PACE ERG event in 2019.

3 continents. 9 cities. 12 schools. These numbers hold immense significance for Aparna Khurjekar, Verizon’s SVP of Business Markets, as they have helped shape her into the person she is today. 

Growing up, Aparna and her family moved often with her father’s multinational company. Not only did this help her adapt, but it also made her comfortable being uncomfortable — both skills that would come in handy later in life when she embarked on her career journey. 

The importance of culture. 

Moving across countries brought with it a continual sense of newness for Aparna. Her move to the United States was a particularly challenging one since she was also exploring new roles in technology at the time.  

“I had a tough time adjusting, and that was the first time I questioned if I had picked the right career for myself and if I belonged in those places,” she shared.

As a leader, Aparna shares her own experiences and career tips to inspire and motivate others to be unafraid to pursue their ambitions even if they are venturing into new territory. She also supports her team by giving them the tools to learn, grow, and build new skills. “Once you have the skill sets, the confidence will follow,” she said. 

Wisdom goes a long way. 

Throughout her career, Aparna has faced her fair share of challenges, both personally and professionally. When in doubt, she thinks of her “tomato theory” to remind herself how and when to best apply her knowledge. 

“Knowledge always gives you a seat at the table, but just knowledge is not enough. You have to be wise enough to know where to best apply your knowledge,” she shares. “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing that you can’t put it in a fruit salad.”

Moving the world forward as #VerizonWomenInSales. 

Our sales team is committed to empowering customers by providing the tools needed to grow their business. It can be difficult to make the decision to go into sales, so here are some career tips that Aparna shared for any hopeful or soon-to-be sales V Teamers. 

1. Push yourself to reach new heights.  

With a career as one of our #VerizonWomenInTech, Aparna was apprehensive to move into the uncharted waters of sales. But once she dove in, she knew she made the right decision.  

“I was hesitant to make the move and join the sales team, but now that I’m on the other side, I can confidently say that it’s not only possible but also enjoyable to thrive in a sales environment,” Aparna said. “A technologist can be a salesperson and a salesperson can be a technologist. As long as you’re ready to lean into your strengths, you can be a good leader in any place.” 

2. Lean into your strengths and embrace the unknown. 

Although changing careers was exciting, she looked to her strengths in technology to give her a fresh perspective in sales. 

“The key is to lean into what you bring to the table as your uniqueness, and then surround yourself with the other functional instruments to continue learning new skills. Make sure to be a student of the business,” she said. 

3. Don’t limit yourself. 

Although she was always ambitious, Aparna never chased after a specific job or title. This is why she describes her career journey as a jungle gym, moving from role to role, always bringing in new skills and learnings from her previous role. 

With the explosion of 5G and the need to bring an understanding of tech into sales, Aparna knew that it was time for her to contribute her technical expertise in the sales field to truly grow 5G alongside her customers who are looking to build their businesses. 

4. Harness the power of teamwork and celebrate our differences.

“Be the force multiplier to bring out the best in people,” Aparna notes. “Focus on the human connections, identify a goal and go after it as one team.” 

She also believes that as individuals we are all different and we should find strength in our differences and apply them every day — that is the heart of inclusiveness. “Diversity of ideas and thoughts push you and your teams to the next level,” she said.

If you’re interested in really making an impact through your career, Verizon is the right place to be — and now is the right time to be here.

Aparna Khurjekar, SVP of Business Markets

About the author(s):

Verizon Works is a blog that offers career insights and advice. Be part of the network of people who move the world forward.

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