Employee Spotlight: Teju Shyamsundar, Head of Product Marketing

Here at Veza, we have some fantastic people with a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences. So we decided to sit down with them and learn more. From their work history, advice to their younger selves, to their morning routine, our Spotlight Series seeks to uncover all there is to know about our fellow teammates.

Before we dive into this Spotlight, let me first say that I believe that we, especially in the tech industry, must do more to recognize, champion, and promote women. Unfortunately, despite the mass amounts of research that shows how companies excel when women lead, the playing field is still heavily tilted in favor of men. How can we change the ratio? We can start by amplifying the voices and experiences of women. ♀️

And to walk that talk, our next Spotlight is Teju Shyamsundar, our Head of Product Marketing.

Teju joined Veza in August of 2021, while we were still in stealth mode. You can imagine that as the company’s first marketer, being in stealth, knowing we would soon come out of it, is not for the faint of heart. But Teju has embraced the challenge head-on and has been instrumental in our success thus far. 💪

How did that come to pass? Please read on to find out!

3 words that describe you:

  • Versatile
  • Disciplined
  • Driven

What is a fun or interesting fact about yourself?

  • I’ve met a past president (yes, there is photo evidence). This was at a customer conference from my previous company, Okta, where I presented a demo on the main stage and had the opportunity to meet President Obama afterward.
Meeting Obama

Last book you read, or podcast you listened to?

I’m constantly listening to podcasts or audiobooks. For podcasts, a few on my rotation are No Stupid Questions, The Best One Yet, and Slow Burn. I just checked while writing this, and in the past year have listened to 400+ hours of audiobooks (that doesn’t include podcast time!). Also, as an (almost) first-time parent, I’ve been reading parenting books most recently.

Outside of work? Passions, hobbies, interests?

  • Running and other outdoor activities.

  • Travel - so far, I’ve made it to 24 countries (if my memory is correct) and hope to at least double that number! A few of my favorite spots are
    • Tokyo - if you plan to go anytime soon, don’t miss out on the Robot Restaurant. Hard to describe the experience in words, so you’ll just have to check it out yourself!
    • London - I have been there many times and still manage to find something new to see
    • Napa - maybe not particularly exotic, but I always enjoy wine tasting there.
Europe summer 2022
  • During the height of the pandemic, when there wasn’t much to do, I decided to pick up a new skill, sewing, with the ultimate goal of learning how to make clothes. It is a slow process, but I still enjoy it!

  • More recently, I have taken up gardening and had decent success growing vegetables this past summer.

Summer garden

Morning and-or evening routine?

  • Morning - coffee + exercise
  • Evening - weekdays - pretty low key and spend time with our German Shepherd puppy, Kona; weekends, try to spend time with family and friends

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

  • Let’s be real. First, I would buy a lot of stuff that I probably don’t really need but still want. Then I would invest and donate the rest of it. I typically donate to human/civil rights organizations and try to find local charities like Northwest Community Bail.
  • And, while I didn’t grow up in India and haven’t lived there, I feel strongly connected to my Indian heritage and also donate to a few charities dedicated to the development of underprivileged communities there, such as People for Progress India (thanks to my mom for identifying that one for me!)

Briefly describe your career prior to Veza

  • My first job out of college was at Microsoft, where I was in a technical field-facing role traveling 75% of the time for about five years. I randomly landed into marketing with no prior marketing experience when joining Okta and ended up loving it. I spent just over four years there alongside very smart and talented people, many of whom I now call close friends.

What does a typical day look like for you?

  • The funny thing about working at a startup is that there really is no such thing as a “typical” day. My daily projects could range from creating a slide deck to working on our website to writing social posts, to working on press releases, and many other surprises.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

  • The impact and scope of responsibility of being at a small company.

What is the key to achieving success in your role?

  • Staying motivated through the ups and downs by not forgetting about the long term (aka keep your eye on the prize) and patience (a lot of it).

What advice would you give your younger self, from a personal and-or professional perspective?

  • Personal
    • It’s never too early to make money, and there are non-traditional ways to do it - who would have thought you could actually make a career out of being an IG influencer or investing in something “crazy” like crypto?
  • Professional
    • Being a reserved/shy person doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader
    • Your career is entirely in your hands to build - if something’s not working for you, you have to put in the work to change it, and if you want something, you have to ask for it because no one is going to do it on your behalf!

What’s different about Veza’s culture versus other companies you’ve worked at?

A real focus on making customers successful - being very hands-on and involved with ensuring that they are getting the most value out of Veza by incorporating their feedback into product and strategy decisions daily.

with our co-founders on company launch day, 4/27/22

Enjoyed getting to know Teju and would love to work w/ her? You’re in luck. We are growing fast. Check out our careers page below!👇


Josh Ashton