Mina Seetharaman

Cues and Views

Mindful leader, horizontal thinker and Renaissance woman, Mina Seetharaman, in brief.

Mina Seetharaman

Home: Hudson Valley, NY.  But my heart is forever in Paris.  Age: 51, and proud of it. Organization: Gartner.  Title: GVP, Strategy and Operations, Global Product Management. Significant other: Miles.  Partner and father extraordinaire.  Alma mater: McGill University (BA, German/Russian); NYU (MA, Journalism).  Languages spoken: In order of descending proficiency: English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Czech.  The last two fall in the category of "those subtitles are NOT what they said”.

Current project: Teaching myself to be an abstract expressionist painter.  Some people baked bread during the pandemic; I learned to paint.  Because I had to stop eating bread.  Recent recognition: A recent hire told me one of the reasons they joined is that a team member told them I was the best boss they ever had.  It’s not a trophy, but it meant a lot.  Latest contribution to others: I’ve been spending time with former colleagues and friends, helping them craft their stories when job hunting.  Sometimes you need someone else to remind you of your greatness.  Hobbies: See my previous response about painting and bread eating.  Also, reading.  Last book read: Circe, by Madeleine Miller.  Recently viewed and recommended: Ted Lasso. It was an excellent show, but more so, that kind of humanity in leadership is something I try to live everyday.

What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Brilliant.  She said it, not me. Moral compass: People and principles before profit.  How do you define a perfect friendship? It’s not proximity or frequency; it’s constancy.  The people you know you can turn to whenever, whatever.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Respect and value of one another’s roles.  This seems to have all but disappeared, especially between clients and partners.  What is your greatest joy? The spontaneous belly laughter of my kids.  It makes me feel like I did something right.  What is your guilty pleasure? YouTube.  Also, reruns of “Alias”.  I sometimes secretly wish I were a spy.

What book have you repeatedly read? Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.  What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? A vintage poster of Dali’s “Woman with a Butterfly”, and some of my own paintings.  Reminders that I am more than my job.  What is the best advice you received growing up? From my dad, who passed away when I was 15: Don’t use intelligence to alienate  people.  If you are lucky enough to be smart, use that to share and enlighten.  Otherwise, it’s a waste.  What is the best advice you received in your career? You cannot continually go full-tilt.  When things are roughest, you have to figure out how to give the Minimum Viable You.  What is your go-to source of news and information?For news: New York Times and Washington Post.  For analysis: The Economist and Foreign Affairs.  What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? The 2016 election.  It made me painfully aware that my children, not I, would have  to live with the consequences of my own generation's decisions.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

Success should not be predicated on conformity.  Diverse and inclusive work cultures are multipliers of value.  

What change would you like to see in the world? Greater empathy.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Be kind.  To yourself and others.  What widely held belief do you reject? That being professionally ambitious means wanting to be CEO.

What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? A mash-up of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling.  Although, Megan Mullally and Nick Offernan could play my husband and me. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My dad. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? So many things, none of which I am now.  A nun.  The first female PM of Canada.  A fireman.  Mary Tyler Moore.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? With my husband and kids, laughing on a beach, so that their last memories of me are that I loved them more than anything.  Ugh.  This question is like someone reached into my chest and started wringing out my heart.  What advice would you give your younger self? The anticipation of terrible things is always worse than the living of them.

Personal motto: Do your best to leave things better than you found them.  Also, don’t be an asshole.  Favorite quote: "Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing" (Abraham Lincoln).  Desired epitaph: She made a difference.

Create your own Cues and Views profile here!
Learn more
Other platforms for your story
whats happening now
In-Depth Personal Portraiture
Setting the Record straight