The Smart Cube Appoints Sushma Rana As Its First Chief Human Resources Officer


The Smart Cube, an award-winning global analytics company, has announced the appointment of Sushma Rana as its first Chief Human Resources Officer, with a remit to lead the global HR strategy to support the company’s existing client business and its ambitious growth plans.

Sushma brings two decades of leadership experience in human resources and talent management to this role. Prior to joining The Smart Cube, she spent 11 years with MSLGROUP – part of Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications company – most recently as HR and Talent Director, and a member of the Executive Team. Under her stewardship, MSLGROUP climbed the ranks of India’s Best Companies to Work For, reaching fifth place in the Professional Services category in 2014 and 2015.

Commenting on this appointment, Co-Founder and CEO Gautam Singh said: “The Smart Cube’s greatest asset is our workforce, whose talents and dedication have contributed to the business doubling in size over recent years. Strong HR leadership is fundamental to delivering both continued growth and excellent customer service, and the addition of human resources to the C-suite is evidence of our commitment to meeting these goals.”

Co-Founder and Managing Director Sameer Walia stated: “Sushma joins us in very interesting times. The rapidly changing nature of work in today’s world, combined with the higher aspirations of an increasingly younger workforce, presents an opportunity that we are determined to leverage successfully. Sushma will play a pivotal role in aligning our people strategy to the future direction of the firm, and I am excited to have her join the team.”

Sushma Rana, CHRO, added: “Increasing recognition of the value of effective data management, coupled with rapid innovation in data-related products and services, make a career in research and analytics an extremely attractive choice for millennials and experienced professionals alike. The Smart Cube is already recognised as one of the top 10 most desirable companies to work for in this space, and I will focus on increasing this brand awareness, as well as nurturing existing staff and attracting the best new talent.”

Sushma holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics & Communications from the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, and a postgraduate degree in Human Resource Development from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune.

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7 Career Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid By Just Reading This

  1. I Never Officially Asked Someone to Be My Mentor

I’ve worked with a lot of incredible writers and editors in my career who know I look up to them and who I’ve gone to for advice numerous times over the years. But I never sat down any of them and said, “I really admire the career path you’re on, and it’s very similar to the plan I envision for myself will you take me under your wing?” You know that old adage, “Ask and you shall receive?” There really is a switch that flips when you tell someone what you want from them and explain how they can help you.

Case in point, when I was a young entertainment editor at CosmoGIRL!, I was all set to interview John Mayer for a feature. At the time, he was my favorite singer and I felt like the lyrics from his first album were ripped out of my own diary. But a high school student who had asked our editor-in-chief to be her mentor was a fan, too and wanted to develop her interview skills so, my John Mayer interview was given to her.

Now, this is an extreme case, and not every mentee is going to get such a major opportunity handed to them from a mentor. But there is a huge lesson to be learned here: If you don’t ask someone to be your mentor, you’ll never know what doors it could have opened for you.


  1. I Didn’t Keep in Touch With My Interns

It never ceases to amaze me how many of my former interns have gone on to basically rule the world. Often on their last day, I’d simply thank them for all of their hard work and send them out into the world, only to maybe hear from them for a job reference when they graduated.

Now that I’m a freelance writer who pitches a wide variety of publications and editors, I very often end up pitching former interns. It makes my heart happy to see them succeeding, but it would have been even better if I’d made an effort to keep in touch with them. It would make those “Hi, please assign me a story” conversations a lot less awkward.

And on that note be nice to your interns. I always did try to treat mine with respect, but things get busy and it can be easy to take out your stress on them. Don’t do that because if they’re going to be in a position of power one day and you were mean to them, they might just take pleasure in rejecting you.


  1. I Spoke Back to My Superiors Sometimes

As a junior editor, there was one senior editor who edited a majority of the features I wrote. Our interaction went something like this:

Senior editor: “Do you think our readers care, like really care, about Britney Spears anymore? Should we change that reference?

Me: [Eye roll]

Senior editor: “So  what do you think?”

Me: [Long, drawn out sigh] “You really don’t know anything about entertainment or what I do as an entertainment editor if you’re asking me a question like that. Everyone loves Britney Spears.”

Senior editor: [Draws in breath and throws copy back to me, effectively ending conversation]

So here’s what happens when you’re blatantly disrespectful you’re essentially hanging a sign around your neck that screams “Difficult.” The person you disrespected will always remember that when asked by another colleague about you or and this is a biggie when your professional paths cross again. And trust me, they always do. It’s very tough to redeem yourself (even if your excuse really was being an insolent 20-something who didn’t know better).


  1. I Didn’t Negotiate

I was at my first job for five years before I finally decided it was time to move on. I was apprehensive about breaking out of my comfort zone and going somewhere new, but I was recruited for a job that seemed like the perfect next step in my career. The executive editor who interviewed me was very persuasive. That was great but the job paid less money than I wanted, came with a title that was technically a step down, required that I sit in a cubicle instead of an office (I was coming from an oversized private space) and didn’t include any of the new responsibilities I wanted, such as managing a team or top-editing junior writers.

It had been so long since I’d interviewed for a job and gotten an offer that I was afraid to accept anything other than what was offered to me. So I got the offer and took it, no questions asked. I didn’t even try to get more money or find out if an office would be possible down the line. I left everything on the table and showed up for my first day of work with a massive pit in my stomach. I only stayed at that job for nine months, and every single day I wondered what would have been if I even tried to negotiate a little bit.

Here’s the thing the very worst that can happen during negotiations is you’re told “No.” And if you’re told “No” to the things that you consider deal breakers, then you have the power to decline and wait for a better opportunity to present itself.

  1. I Should Have Asked for Feedback Before My Reviews

After a few years at my first job, some changes took place and I had a brand-new boss. I thought I was doing great before she came on board and that I was on track for a promotion. And then, it was time for our annual reviews, and she told me how very presumptuous I was for thinking I was ready for more responsibility—that I had very specific things to work on before she would even consider it. Yes, my boss should have sat down with me before the review if she was that concerned about my performance—but I should have been checking in with her, too.

Let me empower you: It’s OK to check in with your boss every six weeks or so. It doesn’t even have to be a formal meeting. Just find a free minute to ask if you can review your latest projects or get feedback on how you’ve interacted with recent clients. Find out what your boss was impressed by and where you need to improve. Be bold enough to ask where she sees you in the next year and how she suggests you get there.

  1. I Was Terrible About Managing My Contacts

Get in the habit of creating a Google spreadsheet with the contact info of everyone you meet. Update it with every business card you receive or contact information in the signature of every email. Store it in your Google drive, email it to yourself as a backup, and be diligent about updating it when someone’s information changes.

Please just trust me on this one there’s nothing worse than having to dig for the contact information of someone you met five years ago. It may take five years until you need to reach out to people on that list again. That’s OK it will save you a lot of time and energy if you can quickly pull it up on your computer rather than racking your brain trying to remember where you met that contact or how you think their last name might be spelled as you desperately search your email.

  1. I Didn’t Always Speak Up After I Made a Mistake

Many times in the early part of my career, I made mistakes and I did not speak up. Luckily, I was never fired and none of my mistakes were so detrimental that they couldn’t be fixed. But there were a lot of close calls that created more work and unnecessary late nights for my colleagues and myself.

We are human. We all make mistakes. And if you have a boss who makes you feel like mistakes aren’t tolerated, then perhaps you need to find someone else to work for. However, what is unacceptable is not taking responsibility for your mistakes. Hiding from mistakes, lying about mistakes or throwing others under the bus because of your mistakes will catch up with you—and it won’t be pretty. Admitting something went wrong as soon as it goes wrong will suck, but the mess will be a lot easier to clean up and your reputation should come out unscathed.

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5 Career-Boosting Moves You Still Have Time to Make in 2016

We’re more than halfway done with 2016. (Can this even be possible?) How’s your career humming along? Did you vow to make this the year you make a change, snag a promotion, or gain new skills or credentials?

Are you there yet? If no, fear not. You’ve still got plenty of time before the holiday season, when companies typically start winding down on interviewing and hiring for the year. Now the hard question: Are you ready to set aside a bit of your summer sun time and get going?

I’ll assume you said yes: That’s excellent. Here are five things you can still accomplish career-wise in 2016, instead of putting things off until next year:


  1. Better Your Position at Your Current Employer

So many people, when feeling unhappy in their current jobs, assume that they need to go find another job, at another company. But, what if there’s a way to make your career situation happier, more lucrative, or more fulfilling—without leaving? Is there another department you’ve got your eye on? Or, a position you’d die to have? Or, maybe a special project you want to work on?

Or, are you feeling like it’s well past time for a raise?

If so, don’t just sit there. Put together a proposal or a plan. Approach people of influence—whether that’s your boss or leaders within other groups, or even peers—and sleuth out internal possibilities. Ask questions. Take thoughtful risks. Make a case.

There’s truly something to the adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” The trick is to squeak in productive, compelling ways, not in ways that make you look like a whiner. Always keep in mind that businesses exist to make money (or, in the case of nonprofits, raise money). So, in everything you do, figure out how whatever it is you’re asking for will help the organization make money, improve productivity, add value, solve problems, or innovate. Present what you want in the form of “What’s in it for you guys,” rather than, “What I want out of the deal,” and see where it takes you.

  1. Map Out a Career Pivot Plan

Or, maybe you don’t want to stay at your current employer. Maybe you want to shake things up in a big way. Can you make progress toward this before 2016 comes to a close? Of course you can. And, depending on the nature of the pivot, you can probably make considerable progress.

Where should you start? Your very first move should be to define the “ideal” scenario. You’re not likely to leave a job that doesn’t suit you, and move into a great career that does, if you don’t define—with specificity—what “better” looks like. What skills do you want to put to use? What tasks energize you? What do you do really well? Write this stuff down, as well as the stuff you truly don’t want to do or be around in your next role.

And then play around with some of these terms and variables when you’re searching—see what jobs come up. What are they called? Who are they with? What skills and experience do they require?

Once you have a handle on what that position you want to pivot into looks like, you can then start building a transition plan.

Who do you need to know? What organizations should you research? Are you lacking any credentials or skills that will be either required or super advantageous in this next role? How can you go about obtaining them? What’s a realistic timeframe for this transition?

Build some big picture framework around this bad boy, and then develop action items for yourself—specific tasks that you can knock off one by one every week. Endlessly pondering a pivot isn’t going to get you anywhere in 2016; devising and tackling action items will.

  1. Gain (or Shore Up) a New, Valuable Skill

Speaking of credentials, are you someone who maybe isn’t feeling a strong pull toward a completely different field, but realizing that you’re at a disadvantage because you lack a certain skill that’s in demand in your field?

How can you obtain that skill or credential, or at least start the process yet this year? Consider online learning. There’s an endless array of online classes available to professionals today, many of which are either free or quite reasonable in cost. It’s easier than ever to learn new skills—whether that’s a popular tech tool, or a business practice, or a language, or even leadership training.

Bemoaning what you don’t have is a waste of time. Investigating how to make yourself more valuable (and then mobilizing) may provide you with a critical advantage—and you’ve still got plenty of time to knock this off in 2016.


  1. Build (or Establish) Thought Leadership

I cannot overstate the value of building thought leadership within your field of expertise. Can’t. And you know exactly what I’m talking about because I will bet that, right this minute, you could name at least one or two people in your field who are absolutely killing it, in no small part because they’ve done a bang-up job of establishing themselves as the thought leaders in your industry.

Do you think that they’re just lucky? Probably not. These people (that you probably admire, or maybe secretly envy a little bit) have very likely deployed deliberate strategies to market their knowledge, their talents, and their personalities in the right places, at the right times.

Social media makes building thought leadership accessible to the masses. If you’re not using LinkedIn, Twitter, or other appropriate-to-your-field platforms to showcase your passion for and expertise within your chosen field (along with your winning personality), start now.

Dip a toe in: Begin posting relevant articles on LinkedIn once a week or launch a professional Twitter page. Follow other industry leaders. Study what they’re doing on social media. What works? What doesn’t? And then build your own strategy from there.

You don’t have to be prolific, certainly not at first. But you’re wasting an incredible opportunity if you’re not leveraging the power of the internet to build or establish yourself as an influencer.


  1. Stay Top-of-Mind With Your Professional Network

In addition to its power as a tool for building thought leadership, social media provides every professional means to stay top-of-mind with your network. And that, my friends, is half the battle. If you can stay on the radar of your professional contacts at all times (OK, most times)—and this means, even when you’re not actively looking for a new job—you’re going to be the one they think of when some cool opportunity opens up at their company that aligns with your background.

They’re also going to be more willing to help you if and when you do need their support, because you’ve not blipped off the grid for multiple years and then popped back up only when you need something.

LinkedIn is, perhaps, your lowest hanging fruit for keeping your network “warm.” Did someone you know just land a new job? Spend two minutes sending a congratulatory note. Did a former colleague just finish her master’s degree? Bam. Another two-minute congratulatory note. Are you heading to an industry event that you’re excited about? Post it as your LinkedIn status update, and see if anyone (who maybe is also attending) sendsyou a note. You catch my drift.

This isn’t rocket science, and it’s also not cumbersome or insanely time consuming. You truly need less than an hour a week to be effective with this. And you’ve got lots of hours left in 2016.

The year is cruising by, without a doubt. But you’ve got four solid months left in 2016 to make a considerable dent before everyone gets “holiday brain” and checks out for the season.

I vote for making these four months count like crazy. (Ready to get started?)


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