Ankita Shetty is a serial entrepreneur, investor, tech start-ups advocate, keynote speaker, humanitarian, and the longest-reigning Miss World United Nations. She was crowned Miss World UN after competing with candidates from over 39 countries. An ardent advocate for tech start-ups, her business provides strategic consulting across data, digital, and marketing for large clients worldwide. Ankita serves as a Global Director with the Microsoft business group, Avanade, where she provides thought leadership and drives sales in the Asia-Pacific region for AMBG’s Data and Digital Portfolio businesses. She also serves on the boards of major universities, authoring papers on DigitalTech4SDGs and mentoring youth on establishing careers in data, digital, and marketing tech. Maria Irene caught up with Ankita. Excerpts:
➤ You’re a unique blend of beauty and brains, seamlessly moving between the worlds of tech and pageantry. How do you balance these seemingly disparate roles?
Ankita: I like to blend the two, feeling they are complementary to each other. I use different tools of technology to understand how to spark and bridge otherwise unknown creative areas of my life. For example, I launched the project DigitalTech4SDG’s with Sri Sri University to emphasize how technology can solve for UN SDGs. I also use meditation, Surya yoga, and theological studies as tools to balance my life.
➤ Being a Global Director at Avanade and involved in multiple advocacy roles is no small feat. What’s your secret to effective time management?
I enable people to do more. I believe that the stronger the team, the more successful you become.
➤ Your work with Accenture Microsoft Business Group has been pivotal in the Asia-Pacific regions. Can you share an example of a project that had a profound impact?
Apart from my regular role to expand our footprint and grow our business in Japan and the APAC regions, I volunteered to support a humanitarian project with Red Cross Australia to enhance their data and digital portfolio using our products and services.
➤ Your foundation focuses on STEM and aligns closely with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. What inspired you to use technology as a conduit for social change?
I believe that technology is not just an enabler of business but should also be used to bridge the divide between the rich and the poor.
➤ You’ve received multiple accolades for your work, from being crowned Miss World UN to being named among the world’s most beautiful women. Which achievement holds the most sentimental value for you and why?
I was invited to watch disabled cricket in Sri Lanka and was nominated as their ambassador to support the disabled cricket world cup.
➤ Your philanthropic activities extend to being a brand ambassador for the Sri Lankan Disabled Cricket Team. Can you talk about the impact of sports in the lives of differently-abled individuals?
Disabled individuals gain confidence and self-respect, and are motivated to represent their country in the World Cup. They also motivate other disabled people and feel a sense of belonging, community, and friendship.
➤ You’ve partnered with international foundations like Queen Hertie Foundation and Queens Can Code. What are some challenges and rewards of working on a global scale?
Language and cultural differences have always been challenges in a global role, but we overcome them by having the right team leaders.
➤ Your advocacy work extends across various sectors—what’s the next frontier for Ankita Shetty? Any upcoming projects or collaborations you can share?
I’ve signed on to act as a lead and co-produce a few upcoming Bollywood movies.
➤ As someone who’s achieved so much across different fields, what advice would you give to young women who aspire to follow in your multifaceted footsteps?
Anyone telling you that you cannot do something should not stop you. You are capable! Find the right support and tools to keep going.
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Ankita Shetty, entrepreneur, tech advocate, & Miss World United Nations, bridges tech & advocacy, believing in strong teams, driving social change through tech, & supporting disabled cricket. 🌟💼🌏🎙️ #TheIndianSunhttps://t.co/4DDK90Ko0W
— The Indian Sun (@The_Indian_Sun) October 11, 2023