Veena Somareddy, 32

Name: Veena Somareddy

Family: Tommy, Juno and Clifford

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Age: 32

Company: Neuro Rehab VR

How do you choose to give back to the community? 1. Volunteer my time and help young women navigate their career. 2. I also serve as a mentor and advisor to early stage women entrepreneurs

What advice would you give to yourself at age 15? I always planned for the future and worried about the career path I might take and if I was making the right choices. So, I would tell my 15-year-old self not too worry too much and enjoy life as a teenager since things will turn out fine.  

Where did your first paycheck come from? My very first job as a Systems Engineer after completing my Bachelor’s in Computer Science  

What other profession would you like to try? Marine biologist or any job that would require me to work with animals in forests or in the sea.

Tell us about an influential person in your life. How did they influence you and why are they important?  Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsi Co. She held the position for 10 years, the longest running CEO in Pepsi’s history. She moved from India to study at Yale back in 1980 when it was rare to see women from India do such career moves, which is inspiring on its own. Her career path and leadership philosophy has influenced me throughout my career.  Her focus on leading with a bigger purpose in mind and never losing sight of the human element in the office has helped steer my leadership, product decisions and never forget the human side of technology 

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to a be a hacker because I thought it was cool. This was the reason I chose to pursue a degree in Computer Science

What movie, TV show, book, stage play or video game influenced you growing up? I used to play a lot of games growing up which helped me with my love of computers and to learn programming at a young age. I played a lot of PC games such as Doom, GTA, Age of Empire, Sonic, Diablo etc. 

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to find out? I’m a metal head and used to frequent mosh pits during concerts.

What is your ideal vacation? Going backcountry hiking and camping in a National Park or anywhere in Alaska 

Favorite food or restaurant? I love spicy food. Biryani, Pad Thai and a good salad

Favorite drink? Boba tea

Favorite movie: The Lord of the Rings series

Favorite sports team: Dallas Cowboys of course

Favorite song: Break You by Lamb of God

Tell us about your prop? My prop consists of various generations of virtual reality headsets and a plant. I was lucky to have access to the first iterations of the Oculus headsets (by Meta), as well as various iterations of headsets from HTC, Magic Leap, Sony and other brands. I loved building apps for new headsets that hit the market and figuring out their features.  So, now I have amassed a pretty good collection of VR headsets from the last 10 years. The plant symbolizes nature and growth, since I’ve always followed a philosophy of working hard and growing every day to become a better person, along with constant learning and adding skillsets to help achieve my professional and personal goals.  

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