Nandini Maheshwari’s career has been driven by three aspirations: playing a role in the technology-led transformation that is creating a more sustainable future; having impact at scale; and being able to see the product of her work in the world. When she was weighing her options back in 2015, Uber seemed like a perfect match.
“Uber’s mission is so powerful. We’re disrupting industries, creating new kinds of livelihoods for millions of people around the world, and delighting consumers. To do that, we have to solve large, complex, impactful problems, and that’s why I joined.”
Over the last decade, her career has spanned roles as an advisor and builder in cities around the world: from India to Europe, across the United States, and now back to India as the Director of Business Development for the Asia Pacific region. Along the way, her work has spanned Mobility and Delivery.
Tell us about your career journey. Were there any pivotal turning points?
“I have worked in multiple industries in the US, EU, and APAC, helping me build strong foundational skills, self-awareness, and most importantly, the ability to work across cultures and adapt to a variety of situations.
I made a significant shift from investment banking at J.P. Morgan on Wall Street to Uber in India. I changed industries, roles and responsibilities, stages of business, and locations. It was hard, but the key was staying true to my core values, first-principles thinking, and bias for action.
Day by day I continued to build on my strengths to fuse strategy, business, product, operations, finance, and legal concepts to lead complex deals with top private and public companies. For Uber to succeed in local markets, we have to think globally but partner and innovate locally.
I took on my current role just when COVID-19 was beginning to impact the regions, with all the pressures and strains that came with that. It was a stretch to manage 10 countries at a mega-regional level across Mobility and Delivery. I had to manage a virtual, diverse team across APAC as a cohesive unit. I am immensely proud of all we are accomplishing as the fastest-growing region for Uber.”
You’ve been at Uber for over 5 years. How has your role evolved?
“Uber and I have grown together. When I joined, Uber was a newcomer in India and I helped build the business to a category leader across a complex, competitive, and strategic market. Along the way, we innovated on low-cost product lines, launched Uber Cash, and built deep partnerships with local champions who enabled our expansion.
Today, APAC Mobility and Delivery markets are at different levels of growth. I love big challenges and the large untapped opportunities, especially in North Asia, are exciting. I have a strong team in each market and evolved my leadership style to be an enabler, advocate, and coach. I count on building strong and trusted relationships locally, regionally, and externally.
The need to prioritize is a constant challenge. Our platform and our growth trajectory provide a broad canvas to play. To top it all, many companies are keen to partner with customers and earners – be they riders, drivers, couriers or eaters using our platform. This makes my role exciting but also calls for constant hard decisions. There is a lot to be done every day, all the time. Staying focused on outcomes is what has helped me move forward. It is all about results. In general, life is too short to be wasting time, so I’m big on productivity hacks.”
What excites you about the work you do?
“Personal growth matters to me and the pursuit of constant learning is important for my body, mind, and soul. My Northstar is to be a better version of myself every day. Uber allows me to continue on this journey both in terms of business problems, implementing our strategies across countries and leading, managing, and influencing a variety of people and functions globally.
I thrive in teams. I am at my best when I can bring the best out of people around me and align everyone to accomplish big ideas and move together in one direction. I am amazed by our ability to collaborate across the world, every day, leveraging our scale and learnings across countries.
Similarly, I invest in building external relationships when I am closing complex, high-stakes partnerships for Uber to deliver collective gains.”
What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve?
“How we localize our global business: our services, value proposition, operations within local regulatory frameworks, and building winning partnerships with local champions to truly become part of the daily fabric. To date, my team enabled a range of local payment methods and platform partnerships, worked with leading OEMs, partnered with airports and airlines, and enabled a joint venture in South Korea to scale our business. In addition, we continue to drive towards a better future by partnering with cities on urban mobility (e.g. metro, transit, airports, scooters, electrification) and incubate new businesses (e.g. grocery).”
Tell us about your work as a Global Board Member for Uber’s Women@ ERG. What are some of your proudest moments?
“Women at Uber is our community of 4,500 with 50+ chapters and coalitions around the world. We make a tangible impact in increasing the representation of women across the company and have been a strong voice across our cultural transformation journey over years. One example is by driving adoption of the Mansfield Rule, a company priority to broaden the aperture of talent we recruit.
ERGs have been important for my passion, but also to build connections. I’ve consistently participated and learned as a Board member of the Chicago Booth Women Alumni Program, J.P. Morgan Women in Banking, and now as a Global Board member of Women at Uber. I consider it part of my development plan and continue growing through it every day.”