We, humans, are so similar yet so unique in our own ways. Each person brings in their own set of experiences, learnings, thoughts, and strengths. We are all influenced by emotions, primal instincts and intellectual choices. It is the sum of all these factors that make us into the individuals we eventually become. No two human beings, no matter how similar, live the same life. As Michael Schenker once quoted: “I believe that every person has uniqueness—something that nobody else has.” Harpreet Kaur lives and breathes this very philosophy.
Harpreet Kaur is a tech leader at Microsoft, living in Seattle, USA, with over 20 years of experience in creating products that make a difference in people’s lives. She has built strong and diverse teams at work and inspired many more over the years to achieve their dreams. But she was not satisfied with the impact she had at work and started her company Why Blend In to empower minorities and women to navigate and help them succeed in the corporate world.
She is a mom of two beautiful children, a Sikh and a woman of colour in the tech industry. She is a source of inspiration who is breaking stereotypes and paving the way for others. Harpreet Kaur always quotes, “Why blend in when you are born to stand out!”
Harpreet was born in Punjab, India and did her early schooling there. Since she was the middle child, Harpreet tried hard to be seen or noticed, making her highly competitive. Her dad’s constant job rotations as part of the Indian Army gave Harpreet a great experience to experience different cultures and expand her horizons. She was an excellent student and aspired to become a doctor. However, fate had different plans for her. During her college, her dad enrolled her in a computer course, making her fall in love with computers. It is when her tech journey started, and she earned her gold medal at University while studying Computer Science. She doesn’t feel bad for not being a doctor anymore.
Harpreet Kaur and her husband both work in the tech industry. She started her career at India’s largest technology company Tata and worked with customers all over the world. She moved to the USA in 2006 with her husband and baby boy. With her impeccable skills and undying support of her husband, she has grown into a tech leader at Microsoft. During her initial time in the US, she went through some very tough times financially and professionally, but her resiliency made her stronger and more confident. A few years ago, when she was diagnosed with a health condition, she pondered, “What is my legacy? What am I going to be leaving behind?” This was when she decided to start - Why Blend In. Through Why Blend In, Harpreet aims to help people understand their potential and reach their goals. She is an inspirational leader who has conducted keynotes, podcasts, webinars and workshops at Microsoft, LinkedIn, Teradata and many others. She also spends a considerable time in personal coaching to help people in achieve their career goals and preparing for big job interviews at large tech companies. She has a vast network of professional leaders in all major tech companies and has been successful in getting her mentees placed in tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Smartsheet, Google and many others.
Q & A with Harpreet
Q: What is your source of inspiration?
My primary source of inspiration is my parents and my faith. They provide me with their guidance, direction and support. They drive me to be a better version of myself.
Q: How has your experience been as a woman in the tech industry?
My journey as a woman of colour in the tech industry has been filled with ups and downs. The unconscious bias that people hold toward women in general and more for people of colour is something we constantly face. However, my turban and my identity as a Sikh woman gives me confidence. I am unique and proud of my identity. The philosophy of “Be good, do good” has helped me both in life and the tech industry. I work and interact with some amazing and talented people, and each day is a new journey.
Q: Any piece of advice for young people, especially women, who want to make their mark in the tech industry?
“Why blend in when you are born to stand out!” Be yourself and bring your AURA to everything, Authentic, Uniqueness, Resilience and your Aspirations.