Team Spotlight - Swetha Polamreddy

By: Katana Graph

May 30, 2022

Team Spotlight - Swetha Polamreddy

Swetha Polamreddy joined Katana Graph as Senior Product Marketing Manager in March of this year. She brings fifteen years of experience in information technology, semiconductors, advertising, education, and fintech. Having successfully collaborated with cross-functional teams in formulating strategies for interconnected projects, she specializes in turning complex technical offerings into outcome-based customer value propositions. Swetha holds an MBA, majoring in Marketing and Leadership Strategies from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. We recently spoke with Swetha as part of our employee spotlight series.

Can you describe your role at Katana Graph?

Swetha Polamreddy: I joined Katana Graph, as a Senior Product Marketing Manager. My work here includes positioning, branding, product launches, understanding the competitive landscape, content creation, community campaigns, and more.

One of the things that I have always loved about product marketing in startups is just the sheer variety of responsibilities. My first priority is to set up an intentional alignment of our marketing strategy with our business strategy. This will include setting up common messaging constructs, aligning and educating the teams on these constructs, defining leads, setting up processes, building content strategy, and more.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

SP: Good product marketers crave being involved with the product right from the inception of a product idea to the day of the product launch and beyond. Product and product features evolve from day one. They evolve depending on different external variables like market trends, customer requirements, and competition. They also evolve based on internal capabilities, resources, and timelines. Being aware of this evolution and being involved from day one enables us to evangelize our product in the most compelling way to the right target audience using the right distribution channels at the right time.

What do you like most about Katana Graph?

SP: The people! The first week I was here I feel like I did one of the most important parts of my job — connecting with people. I strongly believe that people create elements of a high-performing organization and accomplish a combined mission to deliver by application of their individual capabilities as a team. Everyone here is a champion and is determined to make Katana Graph a success. They are all very eager to learn new stuff and help others learn. This makes my job as a product marketer easier.

One other great aspect here is the open lines of communication. I have seen in the past that some companies create a framework that gives an appearance of open lines of communication to the top; however, at Katana Graph, we actually have had that in effect from day one.

What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

SP: That’s a great question. The first thing that comes to mind is that change is constant and adapting quickly is everything. Before Katana Graph, I worked in different industries spanning across semiconductors, education, finance, and technology and across different continents. Initially, I had a hard time adjusting when I changed jobs or countries. Today I realize that this vast experience has given me a breadth of knowledge that would have not been possible otherwise. Change, as the old adage goes, is the only constant, and I say adapting to that change quickly helps you succeed. One way to do that is being open to and for change. This is now more relevant than ever before because Covid has changed the world we know drastically.

Another lesson I’ve learned is to take a break and enjoy it. Over the years I had to take a long break to care for my family, and when I did I always worried about getting back to work and how the break would affect my career growth. But I was able to bounce back with energy. Enterprises today are realizing that being empathetic and inclusive is good for business. So when I reached out to people in my network after my break, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many opportunities are out there, provided you are willing to reach out and lean in. So take a break when needed and enjoy it while you can.

I think another important realization is to never be done with learning. Jobs today are not static and technology is evolving every day and so should we. Having a growth mindset and being open to learning new things and implementing those will help you succeed.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

SP: Believe in yourself and never give up. My now 12-year-old daughter, Aditi, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of four. She underwent an intensive nine-hour craniotomy followed by a 16-month chemo protocol. At that point, she lost her ability to walk and use her right hand. A cancer diagnosis is a point of inflection in anyone's life. Doctors treating my daughter assured me that the tumor was not caused by anything that I did. They also said there was nothing in my hands to help her other than being there for her as they put their regular protocol into effect.

A chemo protocol that hasn't changed in the last 30 years was obviously not customized for my daughter. Being me, I couldn't come to terms with not having control of the situation, and I started researching and reaching out to experts in the field. Every day science with the help of technology is evolving and today there is more data out there than ever before. Today there are trials for patients undergoing chemo to see if alternate complementary treatments work. Seven years ago a Ketogenic diet for brain tumor treatment was unheard of and not recommended by doctors. I reached out to researchers across the globe who at that time had just started doing trials on mice. I also watched a Meryl Streep movie “First Do No Harm” directed by Jim Abraham. I reached out to Jim for guidance. This movie is about using diet to help treat epileptic seizures. It’s based on a true-life story of a little boy named Charlie (Jim’s son) and his parents. I wondered if we could do the same to control the growth of tumors, as it's known that cancer thrives on sugar.

So a day before chemo started I put my daughter on the Ketogenic diet. The tumor that the doctors promised will most likely be stable with chemo is now completely gone. Chemo and Keto together worked for her. Through the MaxLove Project, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for families facing childhood cancers and rare diseases, I help other kids who have similar conditions to replicate these amazing results. You can read more about Aditi’s cancer journey at MaxLove.

Watercolor portraits of Aditi by Swetha Polamreddy
Watercolor portraits of Aditi by Swetha Polamreddy

My daughter on her part believed in herself. She worked every day on those dying nerve connections, building new connections and today she runs, swims, jumps, rolls, and gallops like any other 12 year old. Believing in self, in science, and never giving up has saved my family. Today I am happy to be working with the team that is going to make a difference in the world. I most certainly believe that Katana Graph’s platform will enable researchers, scientists, and doctors alike to unearth accurate insights from real-world data and to innovate like never before. We will empower organizations worldwide focused on drug discovery, precision medicine, and custom treatments to achieve their goals faster. And this is just one of the many things we are going to deliver in the near future.

That is an amazing story. Can you describe what you were like at age ten?

SP: I love this question, as it brings back so many memories. I remember an incident when I was ten. We lived in Hyderabad, India, in an apartment that was three floors high and was adjacent to a similar building, maybe three or four feet apart. Kids in the neighborhood and I regularly played on our terrace. One day my dad caught me jumping from one building to another, across this three-story gap, and I got into trouble. It was the only time I ever remember my dad being angry at me. Imagine looking up and watching your kid doing a Spiderman but without superpowers. If I ever saw my kids doing this I would want to ground them for life. I was a free spirit who was reckless, but I strived for perfection in everything. Today I take nothing for granted and take calculated risks but I still strive for the same perfection in everything I do.


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