It’s been an incredible journey so far: Priyadarshini Nigam on working in Newgen Software
In a conversation with BusinessUpturn, Priyadarshini Nigam, Director and Head – CSR, Newgen Software talks about the changes she has witnessed in the company and the software industry, ‘Sadbhavna’ initiative by Newgen, ‘Newgen volunteer program’, and much more.
You have been associated with the company since 1997. What all changes have you witnessed in the company and the software industry as a whole?
Priyadarshini Nigam: Newgen software was incepted in 1992 with a dream of making world-class software products, in India and selling it world over. In the Indian IT industry, during the period, there was emphasis only on selling services to the US and the western world. Thus, leading to a great deal of manpower export from Indian IT-based organizations. However, Newgen resisted and continued undeterred to accomplish its vision. The going was tough, with all international brands, with deep pockets competing big time with Newgen.
In time, Newgen got a breakthrough across various national and international banks, insurance and government organizations. The state-of-the-art software that was developed started garnering recognition and appreciation at different levels. Since 1997, there has been no looking back! Over time, products have entered the international markets. And, today Newgen stands solid as a brand to reckon with.
Interim, most big IT service companies have realised that to stay relevant they have to get into software development. India has a large number of existing companies and start-ups that are not only developing software products, but they are following the Newgen model.
Tell us something about the ‘Sadbhavna’ initiative and how has it helped the company to grow even more?
Priyadarshini Nigam: Sadbhavna is a philanthropic educational program that was commenced in 2006. This program is directed towards extending a helping hand to children with lesser means and their holistic development. It would be apt for me to say that the initiative was the first stepping stone for Newgen towards becoming a ‘socially responsible corporate citizen’.
I’ve always believed that ‘every child is unique’. Thus, each one of them deserves to get the right platform to realise the true color of their potential and fulfill their dreams with rainbow colors. The key motive of this initiative was to bridge the gap between the underprivileged children and their priceless dreams.
Since the inception of ‘Sadbhavna’ we’ve seen that every child associated, has shown strong determination and put their best foot forward to not just study but excel in academics and their extra-circulars as well. At present, some of them are even pursuing their higher education. We have often witnessed success stories, wherein our kids have settled down while securing a great job and a fulfilling life for themselves.
‘Sadbhavna’ has certainly helped Newgen to be a part of the community that we are working in. It has imbibed a sense of responsibility towards the society in our business processes. I am proud of how this initiative turned out to be a place for the employees and these children to interact and share the value that the organization believes in.
In fact, while looking at the achievements of Sadbhavna children, Newgen has started a scholarship program that provides financial support to meritorious children to pursue higher education.
Being a journalist for 10 years and then switching your career and join Newgen. How difficult was it to switch being a woman?
Priyadarshini Nigam: I joined the company, in 2006, as a full-time director, to set up the corporate communications department. In the last five years, I’ve also handled corporate social responsibility.
Honestly, it’s been an incredible journey so far. I think any form of writing requires creativity and storytelling. Nobody is interested in reading dry stuff. So, it’s been a plus point for me. For not being a technical person from the very start, my creative bent has always helped me view content differently.
As an individual, I love working with people. And, my team at Newgen has given me immense support and comfort. Newgen as a company hires both men and women, at all levels, for their skill sets and there is no discrimination whatsoever at the workplace. Women employees are at par with their counterparts and are doing exceedingly well to contribute to the overall growth of the company. We have a good number of women in leadership positions. We endeavor to constantly promote women and encourage them to strike an equilibrium between their work-personal lives.
Since your association with the company, Newgen has been actively working in a lot of CSR activities. What do you have to say about that?
Priyadarshini Nigam: We have been working with the community actively since 2006 with ‘Sadbhavna’. This commitment led to the inception of Newgen’s flagship CSR initiative “Newgen Digital Discovery Pathshaala” (NDDP). The vision of this program was inspired by the learning of Sadbhavna-that every child deserves an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.
NDDP is a digital learning program and currently, we are catering to approximately 3,000+ students from government schools of Delhi. The objective of this program is to make the students digitally sound and provide them the level-playing field and make them better prepared for the future. In addition, currently, we are feeding 8,000+ children through mid-day meal program in the remote areas across the country and are offering remedial education to another 5,000+ government school students. I always wanted to reach out to as many children as I could and work towards their holistic development.
How did the idea of ‘Newgen volunteer program’ come in your mind? How do you think it is helpful?
Priyadarshini Nigam: During the inception of Sadbhavna, many employee volunteers and their spouses came forward to help us execute the program. Fortunately, this initiative turned out to be a great success for us. The employees of Newgen have also been forthcoming and expressive about their desire to volunteer for social causes.
We also observed during internal employee engagements and orientation session that many employees wanted to be associated with the social development projects that the organization is supporting under its CSR mandate.
To support the determination of our employees, we organized the first ‘Newgen CSR week’ in 2018. The CSR week gave them a platform to understand about Newgen’s CSR initiative and to participate in the CSR initiatives.
After the great reception of the CSR Week, a concrete ‘ Newgen volunteer program’ was put in place wherein the volunteers can come forward and volunteer any time they want to.