We are celebrating Women’s History Month! We asked women across our organization to reflect on their careers, accomplishments, and what Women’s History Month means to them. Throughout March, we’ll be highlighting their answers on our blog and social media channels.
Shaku Selvakumar serves on Amplify’s Board of Directors. She is a digital marketing leader who has worked for Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Shell, and for fast-growth companies like CognitiveScale and Webify Solutions. Her innovative programs have won various marketing awards.
The founder and CEO for Activateen, which provides educational programs and content for teenagers and college students, Shaku also provides virtual CMO services for companies. A prolific writer her articles have appeared in various global publications. Shaku is also a poet and her first book of poetry, Be Still My Heart was published in December 2021. In addition to Amplify, she has served on various boards and committees including Communities IN Schools Central Texas, Envision Eanes, Asian Family Support Services and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Why did you choose your profession?
After I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in literature and sociology, I went for a post-graduate qualification in mass communications. This took me first into the world of advertising and after that, I joined the marketing team of Shell in Dubai. It was in Dubai that I really learned how to work with people from all around the world.
Understanding that at the heart of diversity we are motivated by the same basic human principles. Once you understand that you can work with anyone, anywhere. If I hadn’t taken the marketing and communications route, I would have most likely pursued either journalism or human resources.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the creative aspect of my work and I love working with dynamic teams. I have always found a way to integrate innovation in every job that I have done. No day is the same and you learn how to manage chaos.
“No day is the same and you learn how to manage chaos. “
Unlike other professions, marketing, as well as sales, requires an ability to adapt to a changing environment. To understand the audience, you must constantly keep in mind that just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will work again. And the paradox here is that if you have your fundamentals in place and truly try to know your audience, you can see how it is both: science and art.
What made you choose Amplify Credit Union?
Amplify Credit Union’s stellar leadership team is at once open-minded while remaining very strategic in terms of focus and execution. The organization is also strongly committed to values and creating a nurturing culture. I witnessed the way the company stood behind its employees during a very stressful pandemic that stretched to two years. The Amplify team continues to be growth-oriented, with a strong business acumen that has resulted in one of the most profitable years yet.
Companies must be able to combine vision, values, and execution without forgetting either people, profit, or purpose.
Tell us about a professional success here at Amplify that you’re proud of.
What I am most proud of is the way Amplify Credit Union managed to show tremendous growth without sacrificing their people during a very stressful pandemic. It was a privilege to witness this kind of commitment.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
As an advisory board member, the key to success is to show up, listen first, ask pertinent questions, and support the leadership team.
Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.
There are many women I respect. Some are well known, some are not. They all share these qualities: grit, responsibility, integrity, love for community, and a sense of humor.
“Successful women are people who understand that it is not about personal glory because that comes and goes.”
Successful women are people who understand that it is not about personal glory because that comes and goes. They carry on regardless of whether they are recognized for their work or not. They are tuned to their own internal compass.
Do you have a mentor?
I have informal mentors whom I turn to when I need advice. I have strong friendships with both men and women.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
I would tell her to value her talent and not be afraid to ask for what she is worth. I would tell her not to be intimidated by the world, to always keep learning and keep following the path of her heart.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in your field, industry, or just in general?
Here are just some of the pieces of advice I’ve found to be useful in my own life:
- I have three daughters and I tell them all the time to make plans—but also remember to leave space for mystery.
- Opportunities show up when we least expect.
- Keep learning because then you truly become formidable, and you start to own your time.
- Be someone that others can count on.
- Don’t use and discard people. Network in an authentic way.
- Pay it forward. Find ways to mentor. If you are an intern, mentor high school kids.
- If you can’t find a mentor, reach out to your peers.
- Don’t let your ego rule your career. Always remember that in every job you will find people who will help you and people who will challenge you.
- Watch out for toxic people and toxic environments. It is important to know when to say yes and when to say no.
- I have always told my team to ask for help before the water rises above their head.
- Trust your instincts and develop a strong core.
- Mental health and physical health are equally important. Invest in both.
- Life will always throw curveballs and ambition can sometimes be corrosive. Stepping on others on the way up always means that someone will step on you on your way down.
- Build bridges, show respect, and choose to be kind.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
To not take anything personally. Everyone is acting in their own drama.
How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
I am not sure if I would call it breaking barriers but every time a woman pursues what has deep meaning for her, she is one step closer to understanding the meaning of choice and freedom.
“Every time a woman pursues what has deep meaning for her, she is one step closer to understanding the meaning of choice and freedom.”
I have worked for startups and Fortune 100 companies. I am a single mother and raised three daughters who are all doing what they love. I recently published my first book of poetry which is very close to my heart. At this stage of my life, knowing that I have autonomy over my life is my definition of success.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
It means that we get to take stock of how far we have journeyed. That so many before us have fought for the rights we enjoy today. It also means that while we are individuals, we are also part of a greater collective. Our stories are important and whether we tell them aloud or say them softly, they matter. Our history has always been one of resilience and immense courage. That will never change.
Supporting Our Team
Whether you’re starting your career or an established professional, we all have something valuable to learn from every woman at Amplify. Join us over the next few weeks as we continue to highlight more of our team members. We invite you to listen, share, and support these amazing women.
Curious about a career with Amplify? Head over to our Careers page and apply today!