Shailendra Kalra has two decades of experience in the telecom domain. He worked with brands such as Airtel, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent and Electro Rent before taking up his current role as chief strategy officer and head of business development at Vedang Cellular Services Private Limited (a QuessCorp company). At Vedang, he is responsible for leading teams and helping them navigate complex market and technological changes, while ensuring they deliver on financial goals in a hyper-competitive market.

Kalra remembers his stint with Nokia in the Netherlands and later with Nokia India as a key point in his career. It helped him hone his skills and take up versatile roles. During his decade-long stint with Nokia, he donned various hats – that of a network planning manager, system marketing manager, account manager, sales director, and global director, managed services solutions. “During my time at Nokia, I learnt a lot and grew into different roles but, most importantly, what I learnt and have carried with me till today is how a strong value system can take businesses to new heights,” he says. As Electro Rent’s country manager, he successfully turned around the company’s business into a high-turnover, profit-making one, despite stagnant market conditions, within a short span of time. “The industry has taught me that the most complex problems usually have the simplest solutions.” According to Kalra, an inclusive leadership style and ability to challenge the status quo are the two most critical factors that have helped him lead teams and win clients.

Kalra has an engineering degree in electronics and communication from the University of Pune as well as an executive master’s in international business from IIFT, New Delhi. He has a certification in business analytics and data analytics from The Wharton School and a PG diploma in innovation and design thinking from the Emeritus Institute of Management in collaboration with MIT Sloan, Columbia Business School and the Tuck School of Business Dartmouth.

Kalra, who was born and raised in New Delhi, loves to read and play badminton. The latter, he feels, helps him to refocus when things are not going right. He is also very fond of music. “Someday I would like to lead a life where I get to be a trainer during the day and do gigs with my guitar at night,” he says. His family consists of his wife, who is a doctor specialising in research on liver and liver-related diseases, and their two young daughters.