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Pooja Sund Engineering Finance Leader (Principal PM-Director) Microsoft

Pooja Sund: The Tech Finance Expert creating Global Impact

Hall of Fame – Global Women in Tech 2023 | Keynote Speaker | Linkedin Women in Tech Contributor| Finance and Engineering expert | Board Member | USA

In the world of technology, where innovation reigns supreme, Pooja Sund is emerging as a dynamic finance and engineering leader who stands as a paragon of leadership and expertise. She operates at the intersection of engineering and finance, orchestrating a symphony of cutting-edge technologies and financial acumen to drive unparalleled growth and value for a global tech giant.

Within the sprawling corridors of Microsoft, Pooja’s name resonates with authority and innovation—an individual who personifies the very essence of strategic leadership and visionary thinking.

Pooja holds the reins at Microsoft where data is positioned supreme, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and data science converge to shape the future of financial experiences. She is providing organizational leadership for a team in Microsoft’s Financial Experiences engineering organization.

Being the Engineering Finance Leader (Principal PM-Director), she’s responsible for the growth and success of multiple internal and external-facing products and portals, all powered by a formidable array of technologies.

But Pooja’s influence extends far beyond technology. She is a Keynote speaker, Board member, and a LinkedIn content creator. Recently, she has been named as a Hall of Fame -Women in Tech Global Leader 2023. Her insights and guidance have become indispensable to people and organizations across the planet.

Let’s discover Pooja’s approach—the leader and visionary who champions and evangelizes the data vision for the entire organization!

Could you share your journey and experiences that have led you to your current role as an Engineering Finance Leader at Microsoft? How have your career choices and growth opportunities shaped your perspective on driving technological progress?

My journey involves navigating the intersection of Finance and Engineering disciplines and it has been a journey of growth and innovation. In 2006, my journey at Microsoft began as a financial analyst vendor and by 2007, I had secured my first full-time role as the Sr. Financial Analyst.

Throughout the years, I’ve harnessed my strengths in creating clarity, generating energy and forging strong partnerships, propelling me up the ranks. My extensive network across teams at Microsoft has been instrumental in fostering a culture of learning and mutual growth.

Transitioning from Finance to Engineering, I’ve embraced the ethos of continuous learning and sharing, inspiring both my team and peers to contribute their best towards driving technological progress.

As a woman in a leadership position in the tech industry, what unique insights and perspectives do you bring to the table that contribute to Microsoft’s growth and innovation?

I am a connector. As a woman in tech leadership, I offer diverse perspectives and insights that foster creativity and inclusivity in problem-solving.

My experience brings a valuable dimension to our team, enabling us to tap into a broader range of ideas and approaches from other teams at the company and even from outside leveraging LinkedIn connections, ultimately driving innovation and propelling our company’s growth.

Microsoft emphasizes a culture of continuous learning and growth. How do you personally embrace the learn-it-all mentality and encourage your team to do the same?

I stay committed to a learn-it-all mentality by consistently seeking out new knowledge, being open to feedback and embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. To encourage my team, I create a supportive environment that values curiosity, provides learning resources and celebrates innovation, emphasizing that continuous learning is key to staying agile and competitive in our ever-evolving industry.

I organize speaker sessions for my team, organizations and the company where we bring in outside experts from different teams within the company and outside so we can continue learning. Plus, I learn from LinkedIn’s top voices to stay on top of what’s new in our domain.

With a global presence and a vast team, effective communication is key. How do you ensure open and effective communication among team members across different regions and time zones?

To ensure open and effective communication across global teams and time zones, we use a combination of digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, project management platforms and Teams Chat (instant messaging for real-time interactions).

Additionally, I have set up clear communication protocols, held regular weekly virtual team meetings and promoted a culture of transparency and inclusivity to bridge geographical and time zone gaps by making myself available to my team and business partners.

Financial leadership plays a critical role in guiding technological projects. How do you balance financial considerations with the need for innovation and forward-thinking solutions?

Balancing financial considerations with innovation requires a strategic approach that involves careful resource allocation, prioritizing high-impact projects and exploring cost-effective ways.

I encourage teams to focus on identifying projects with maximum impact and encourage them to leverage innovative solutions that align with our North Star.

Women in tech leadership often face unique challenges. What advice would you offer to young women aspiring to leadership roles in the technology sector?

I would advise young women aspiring to leadership roles in the technology sector to seek out mentorship and networking opportunities, connect with supportive communities, believe in their capabilities and leverage their unique perspectives to drive innovation and positive change in the industry.

Additionally, continuous learning and self-advocacy are crucial—be confident in your skills and don’t be afraid to assert yourself in professional settings. Speak for yourself and others.

In your opinion, what are the key trends and technologies that will shape the future of the tech industry and how is Microsoft positioning itself to lead in these areas?

The tech industry is evolving and with recent advancements in AI, it will continue to evolve. Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning will continue to be the heart of each organization driving digital transformation.

I expect trends like a shift towards cloud, investments in cloud infrastructure and services, investment in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, emphasis on Cybersecurity and Privacy, momentum in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, continued focus on Sustainability considering climate change, and recent remote work themes to continue. Microsoft is well-positioned to lead in many of these areas.

Collaboration and teamwork are crucial to Microsoft’s success. How do you foster a collaborative spirit among your team members to ensure that everyone’s skills and perspectives are harnessed effectively?

Fostering a collaborative spirit among team members involves creating an inclusive environment where open communication is encouraged and diverse viewpoints are valued. I make sure to set clear goals and roles for my team members, promote active listening and provide opportunities for team members to collaborate on projects, ensuring that everyone’s skills and perspectives contribute to shared success.

As a leader, what are the qualities or traits that you believe are essential to driving technological progress while maintaining a positive and inclusive work environment?

I believe the quintessential qualities are growth mindset, empathy, trust, strong work ethic, communication, and the ability to build strong partnerships.

Can you share a personal motto or philosophy that guides your leadership style and approach to driving technological innovation at Microsoft?

I believe in the “Be Bold, Be Brave and Be You” motto and believe that the sky is the limit for us, limitations exist in our minds and they are not outside. With a learner mindset, you can keep growing and learning about how to drive technology forward and be boundaryless in seeking solutions.

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