Position: The new chief financial officer and senior vice president of MicroTech, an information technology company based in McLean.
Born and raised in India, Vineet Puri entered the family business, eventually running one of its manufacturing units. After the business consolidated, he left for the United States, where he earned an MBA and eventually began doing financial work for a string of government contractors and commercial businesses.
What is the biggest difference between India and the U.S. in terms of business?
There are more family-owned businesses [in India] versus management-run, shareholder-focused business in the U.S. Also in the U.S. it’s much faster to go from idea to decision.
What is your leadership style?
I’m firm but fair.
What does that mean?
Human brains and abilities are like a rubber band, you just have to stretch them a little. Many people have good ideas. You just have to empower them and make them believe in the things they can achieve.
What are ways you empower your team?
There are leaders who set the goal and get the things done and then take pride in presenting it to the executive team as if it was their idea. I believe if others had the original idea and I fine tuned it, then it is okay for them to present so they can get to the next level and feel appreciated. They get to be owners of their idea.
How have you grown most as a leader?
Every person has to pay their dues, and that is part of gaining the experience. You start out doing a lot at the ground level. Then as you grow, you start thinking about what matters to the junior staff. You start recognizing the talent and see that they are going somewhere. Whether its encouraging someone to go get a degree or presenting to the executive team. Those are the things that are different than when I was down in the trenches. Now I help others achieve.
What does it take to be successful in Washington?
You have to focus on the core competencies, government regulations and how to make opportunities occur.
— Interview with Vanessa Small