Phenomenal Women of AltoPartners – Anuradha Menon

July 31, 2023 Share this article:

Anuradha Menon

A stray email 15 years ago changed Anuradha Menon’s life forever, causing her to pivot from telecoms to Executive Search. It was a good day for Accord India too because she turned out to be a gifted researcher with a passion for delivery and a mania for getting it right. Meet Anuradha, our rock star co-head of delivery who ensures that good searches become great searches.

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I grew up in my birthplace of Kerala, God’s own country, in the southernmost part of India.

What did you do when you left school?

I preferred working with people over machines, so I chose Hotel Management over Engineering.

What was your first job?

Shift manager at a fast-food restaurant in Chennai. I eventually wound up in the telecom industry, where I worked for Bharti Airtel in a customer support and corporate relations role.

How did you get into executive recruitment?

As with so many people in this wonderful profession, it was completely serendipitous – in a very literal sense. It’s a long story involving an email landing in the inbox of an unintended recipient in the recruitment industry and the recipient opening it and being willing to take a punt on a completely green resource, namely me. That recipient was none other than Sonal Agrawal, the managing partner of one of the most prestigious executive search outfits on the Indian subcontinent. To this day it is a mystery how the email ended up in her inbox. As it happened, Accord India was considering bringing on board a new resource in Mumbai, and I was looking to relocate. Sonal redirected it to the person leading that search. We connected, and I met the Accord team, including Sonal for the first time a few weeks later. I had no idea what executive search entailed and was full of trepidation: “What if I don’t fit it? What if I don’t like it?”. I will always remember Sonal’s response: “You will know in three months whether you like this type of work or not. If you don’t, we will look for another role for you. But if you do, you will stay”. That was 15 years ago. What motivates you to do what you do?

The knowledge and awareness that when we do our job well, it impacts an entire organisation and not just the individuals we place. And the knowledge that my extra effort, that one last push, can make the difference between a good and a great search!

How do you relax and unwind?

I listen to music, read (a lot!) and work with community (homeless) animals. I volunteer with a team that cares for stray dogs and cats (and the occasional bird) in Bengaluru, ensuring they have food, shelter, and medical care. I focus on ensuring the animals are spayed/ neutered, and I do the planned (and emergency) vet runs and aftercare for our locality. All of this is funded by the group internally.

Could you tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know?

That I absolutely hate surprises. Planning is everything!

Name one thing you love about the work you do.

Growing up, my dad used to call me a jack of all trades and a master of none because every topic interested me, and I would constantly be excited about something new. It has been wonderful to find a role where there is an opportunity to learn something new every single day, whether it’s new industries, business models, leadership challenges or roles. Besides, I love to be “in the know”.

What are you currently reading?

Invisible Empire: The Natural History of Viruses by Pranay Lal, and The Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat, a coming-of-age tale of a young gay man in Afghanistan.