The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM Blog Series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st Century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on Social Media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Surya Kant, President, North America, UK and Europe at Tata Consultancy Services.
President, North America, UK and Europe
Tata Consultancy Services
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Surya (“Sury") Kant has made a significant contribution to the growth of the global software industry and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the largest IT services, consulting and business solutions organizations in the world. In his current role as President for North America, UK and Europe (regions that account for more than 75% of the company’s global revenues), Sury is responsible for overseeing and strengthening customer relationships and revenues across TCS’ largest markets, and plays a key role in expanding the company’s range of technology and service offerings. Highlights of his longstanding and distinguished tenure at TCS include establishing the presence of the Indian software industry in Japan in 1987, leading UK operations in the ‘90s while recording substantial growth and visibility for the organization, and serving as the Head of Operations in North India until 2005.
Sury is actively connected with various social causes, most notably playing a leading role in the US supporting STEM education and careers – particularly for women and minorities – through prominent partnerships with the likes of STEMConnector, US2020 and NPower. Sury received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Electronics from Delhi College of Engineering in 1976, and his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Computer Technology from IIT Delhi in 1978. On both occasions, he finished at top of his class. Sury also speaks several languages, including Japanese.
About Tata Consultancy Services
Tata Consultancy Services is a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of services, delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™. TCS is deeply vested in socially responsible practices and STEM initiatives that enable students, underserved minorities and girls access to computer science programs and technology careers. In North America, our STEM initiatives include TCS’ goIT program and partnerships with STEM 2.0, US2020, Million Women Mentors, NCWIT, and Teach For America (TFA).
TCS has over 305,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 46 countries representing 119 nationalities, of which 32.7% are women. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $13.4 billion for year ended March 31, 2014 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.
Surya on Diversity and STEM
How do you believe STEM education can improve a nation's competitiveness?
For any nation to become and remain a major player on the world stage, its students today must have a solid foundation in STEM and be fluent in the technologies that will power the global economy of the 21st Century. Businesses must also have employees who are experts in digital disruptive forces and able to innovate and compete with their global counterparts. The demand for skilled technology talent in the U.S. will continue to increase for the foreseeable future, and these jobs will include all sectors, from banking, financial services and manufacturing, to retail, insurance, and agriculture. We must inculcate new critical capability platforms such as digital fluency, innovation excellence, employability skills, and hard skills in order to prepare our future thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and workers. TCS is proud to support STEM 2.0, a cross sector initiative to prepare students for future STEM jobs, and is leading efforts towards digital fluency of tomorrow’s workforce.
What is your advice on using private-public partnerships to tackle our most pressing STEM education challenges?
Policy makers, educators and businesses all have a stake in nurturing next generation students, but in a rapidly evolving discipline like computer science (CS), often companies have the clearest view into the most disruptive, emerging technologies. For example, TCS recently hosted a Computer Science Education Roundtable, which brought together business executives, government officials, educators, national agencies, non-profits, and thought leaders to examine how communities are advancing CS education by providing new ways to create a digitally fluent workforce.
We work closely with the White House OSTP to improve access to computer science education for students, especially girls, minorities and underprivileged youth. We are also supporting the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management initiative that looks at innovative ways for public-private partnerships to close the skills gap. At a grassroots level, we recently collaborated with Teach for America (TFA) on a pilot program where our employees worked alongside TFA faculty to teach a programming language to local NYC public school students. We are also working with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) on their goal to introduce computing to 10,000 girls in the next three years. These partnerships ensure that our educational curriculum can iterate as quickly as the industry evolves, adequately preparing students.
What STEM initiative supported by TCS make you most proud?
STEM education is very important to me personally. It is our responsibility as a company and as individuals to give back to the communities where we work and Iive. To address the growing skills gap in STEM fields for middle and high school students, we created our goIT student technology awareness program in Ohio six years ago. Students involved in the program participate in computer science career awareness workshops and a hands-on technical summer camp aimed at developing students’ interest and proficiency in technology. goIT has so far engaged more than 7,000 students across 35 school districts, with promising results: 70 percent of participants reported an increase of interest in STEM, and goIT schools reported a 27 percent increase in high school students choosing STEM majors in college. And this year, the program has expanded to 11 cities across United States, and launching in Toronto Canada this fall. This year alone we have reached over 475 new students from 11 cities and trained over 200 new employee volunteers, resulting in over 6,500 hours of high-impact skill building, and CS programming for underserved groups, minorities and girls.
How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?
At TCS, we believe that a diverse work environment generates the most innovative solutions and that mentorship is a necessary tool to support minorities as they pursue their career aspirations. For example, through our partnership with STEMconnector, TCS is working closely with Million Women Mentors to mobilize one million women and men to serve as STEM mentors by 2018. Likewise, through our partnership with US2020, TCS is working to mobilize one million industry professionals to serve as mentors for underprivileged students from ethnic minorities.. By developing the digital platforms for MWM and US2020, we are committed to building a national infrastructure for mentoring and industry engagement for STEM education and careers.