Ketaki Vaidya came to understand the value of community through her childhood. Growing up as the daughter of a military officer and a social worker, she perceived the world through the lens of gratitude for her blessings and a strong commitment to extending a helping hand to those who lacked the same opportunities. This has been the guiding light of her path to building inclusive tech products that address critical pain points to impact billions of lives.
Vaidya's tech journey began with a commitment to quality education leading her to one of India's top-ranked institutions, the National Institute of Technology, Silchar. Her outstanding academic record earned her a prestigious summer research internship on operations research at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Residing in an area with limited educational resources for residents, she was also inspired to join her institution's social service wing, initiating free computer classes for underprivileged high-school students. These classes evolved into career counseling and interpersonal skills training sessions, thereby forming one of the most impactful student initiatives in her institution with 116 dedicated volunteers.
When Vaidya started working for Oracle Hospitality, she got a front-row seat to understanding customer pain points and strategically solving the most pressing issues. In a time when the industry they served was drastically changing due to the worldwide pandemic, one of her highlight projects was to empower customers to accomplish redundant hotel operational tasks through text and voice commands. She closely worked with the stakeholders to build the product’s first conversational AI interface based on Natural Language Processing. Recently, the chatbot was featured at HITEC, the world’s largest Hospitality trade show. Her contributions highlighted the possibilities of pioneering hospitality solutions, eventually granting her the chance to spearhead AI product strategy for Oracle Hospitality in the United States.
Driven by her leadership acumen, Vaidya aspires to motivate the tech community to enhance diversity and foster equal opportunities for women and other marginalized groups within the field. She dedicates her time to mentoring women seeking to break into the product field through the Criya platform. She has also emerged as a product thought leader, delivering talks at over 15 conferences, including the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration. She is actively involved as an advisor to the Product Board at DevNetwork. Additionally, her role as a co-organizer for the Product Tank San Francisco community enables her to organize meetups that connect over 6,000 product managers in the Bay Area. Her remarkable contributions have garnered attention in prominent media outlets such as Entrepreneur Magazine and Mind the Product (the world’s largest community of product managers). She was recently conferred with an award by the Indian Achievers’ Forum for her exemplary contributions to tech.
Vaidya’s story sheds light on how individuals in tech can help build a culture of true belonging and inclusion. She envisions a world where every person, regardless of their background or location, has the chance to explore tech and become an integral part of the empowering journey that unfolds.