SMARTe’s Parul Gala, A Top 50 Woman Leader in SaaS

Parul Gala has spent the last decade building herself from the ground up, turning her leadership skills into a tour de force. “To always push boundaries and evolve continuously has been my mantra for success,” she tells The Software Report. And if Gala’s long list of accomplishments is anything to go by, this attitude has served her well.

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After leaving a position at PayPal, Gala joined SMARTe as the VP of Products and HR in 2009, a leading provider of global business to business contact data - though she admits at the time the company was in a “dire” state. “When I joined SMARTe, we were running out of funds,” she remembers. “With minimal resources at hand, I worked out a holistic plan, focusing on creating a module to train junior talent and focus on improved operational efficiency.” Gala also took the initiative to create a growth path to empower employees while motivating those who excelled with rewards. It wasn’t long before the company was back on its feet.

With a keen understanding of how she could galvanize the company’s workforce, Gala saw more opportunities to streamline the organization. Eventually, this led to an entire shakeup of the HR department. “Being a people person and getting an opportunity to oversee multiple departments, I was able to make an impact and took SMARTe to a whole new level,” she said. Taking her personal mantra into work proved to be a smart decision, as encouraging everyone in her orbit to upskill and excel boosted the company. Wherever Gala went, she inspired a level of hard work simply through the way she lived. “My [ability] to stay laser-focused and [my] visionary approach has helped me get accelerated and sustainable results,” she insists.

Humbly aware of her widespread impact, Gala knows she can back her words up with tangible results. The launch of four of SMARTe’s enterprise-level products, Bespoke Contacts, Relevant Contacts, InfoGenie, and DataGenie happened under Gala’s leadership. While she isn’t reticent about these achievements, she never forgets the large strides SMARTe has had to make since almost falling apart in 2009. The company went from “having a 6-month runway to now having quarter-on-quarter profits for 7 consecutive years.” Today, SMARTe is considered to be one of the key players in providing global data, characterized by the quality of data provided— “which is the result of a unique blend of technology and human intelligence,” she quips.

As an inspirational leader, it should come as no surprise that Gala draws on flashes of brilliance from three incredible men: Mahatma Gandhi, her father, and her husband, Sanjay. Drawing on the principles of Gandhi’s leadership as well as her dad’s ability to smile in the face of adversity, she credits most of her professional successes to Sanjay, who she says taught her to “dream big.”

There is no doubt that Gala is fiercely resolute, tenacious, and sharp, inspiring a globally recognized company on its path to success, but every leader needs to take a breather every so often. When she’s not working, Gala loves to “unplug, unwind, and reconnect” with her loved ones. “Family vacations are the best,” she shares, although “the place has rarely mattered. Whether it’s a bike ride down to a beach or a hike through the forest, my favorite memories are of times spent exploring a new place with my family.”