Vivek Kalra, Director and Head of Telecom Business, India and SAARC, Juniper Networks

With over two decades of experience as an IT and telecom business leader, Vivek Kalra has maintained a successful track record in managing large accounts and partnerships, and building businesses. Of the 23 years that he has been in the industry, Kalra has spent over a decade at Juniper Networks, where he has been responsible for managing the Ericsson account, growing the business across the APAC region, managing the partner ecosystem in India and expanding the business across the telecom, government and large enterprise sectors.

Currently, as director and head of telecom business, India and SAARC, Kalra leads a team that brings Juniper’s solutions to telecom and cloud customers to support them in their digital transformation journey. “I took over this challenging and exciting role last year amidst these unprecedented times. My initial challenges were to ensure our customers are served well, business stays intact, and teams continue to stay motivated while working and engaging in ‘new ways’. The other big challenge for me was to build trusted relationships with our customers. After having achieved that over the past few quarters, the focus now is on delivering on our promise of experiencefirst networking, growing our business by getting into new domains with existing customers and expanding our customer
base by winning new ones.”

Going forward, he expects telecom networks to go through a major transformation. “While operators in India have been slow on 5G uptake because of AGR issues, inadequate spectrum and high spectrum pricing, 5G is certainly on the minds of all operators. 5G trials have already begun and we should see commercial roll-outs begin in top cities by 2022,” he says.

So, what has helped Kalra sail through these unprecedented times? He believes it is his ability to see situations through and to build long-term relationships with people around him. His management style pivots on credibility and authenticity. “I believe in authentic leadership; it aligns well with my personality and core beliefs.”

Kalra is an engineer by training, with an MBA in finance. In his personal time, he likes to hike, learn art and cook. During the pandemic, he indulged in some self-care and participated in various wellness workshops. The pandemic also allowed Kalra to bond more with his family. “We took a few short vacations around Kerala and enjoyed the ocean, the mountains and the backwaters.”