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Chitra Anand

Intrapreneurship Expert, Former Head of PR & Communications at Microsoft Canada

Chitra Anand is at the forefront of an important new movement in the workplace: intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs are the people within your organization who possess an entrepreneurial spirit — driving innovation, creative thinking, and new ideas. The former head of PR for Microsoft Canada, Anand has been an intrapreneur for her entire career. Her engaging talks reveal how to foster that spirit, and how to stay on the cutting edge of market trends, technology, and consumer behaviour.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentations

Greenhouse Approach: Cultivating Deliberate Innovation
If marketplaces are being disrupted, then companies need to re-think how they operate. To succeed, modern businesses need to learn how to grow from within, without getting lost in the weeds. Creative thinking and innovation is the foundation of any organization. It is what drives new product development; creating brands, creating compelling storytelling, creating new lines of business. While we know and understand that innovation is the currency to value creation, many organizations get stuck, they become complacent, and at times they become irrelevant. Greenhouse thinking is a mindset shift; a shift to how we approach our thinking within challenging environments.

In this indispensable talk, Chitra Anand uncovers the power of intrapreneurship, explaining why and how it’s important that today’s corporate cultures shift toward intrapreneurship to maintain their relevance in the modern, highly competitive marketplace.

Chitra shows leaders and participants how they can:

  • practice intrapreneurship within their organizations
  • identify the true agents of change within their companies
  • mobilize these agents to act
    (This presentation can also be paired with a workshop extension. See ‘Platform Plus’ description below)

Deliberate: How to Foster The Power of Experimentation & Innovation within your Organization
In this indispensable talk, Chitra uncovers the power of intrapreneurship, explaining why and how it’s important that today’s corporate cultures shift toward intrapreneurship to maintain their relevance in the modern, highly competitive marketplace. Chitra shows leaders how they can practice intrapreneurship within their organizations, how they can identify the true agents of change within their companies, and how they can mobilize these agents to act.

The talk begins with three big, bold ideas that organizations need to re-imagine:

  1. Why and how consensus thinking will limit innovation
  2. The role of curiosity within an organization and how to harness it within yours
  3. First-principles theory: how organizations need to shift their mindset toward this to drive real breakthrough thinking

Chitra provides applied principles on how to take your innovation efforts from “accidental” to intentional within your organization. She also draws upon her learnings from interviews from the world’s top leaders who include: the Global CMO of Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar; the Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, Nicholas Thompson; the CEO of Forbes, Steve Forbes; the CEO of Omers, John Ruffolo; and tech entrepreneur, Michelle Romanow.

Women in Tech: Trends, Realities, Misconceptions and How to Lead
Chitra has worked in the tech space for over 20 years with some of the world’s most notable organizations. Women who want to study, work in, and lead businesses in science and technology have much to add and should be proactively empowered to do so. Only 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computing jobs are held by women. It’s worse at the top of the corporate world — just 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.

A better question might be, how can we collectively work to improve women’s participation in the tech industry at each key stage of their careers?  The problem is far deeper than stats.  They are embedded in our culture, language and unconscious biases that we all hold; both as men and women.  How do we uncover what these are and how do we take those insights to drive real sustained change?  How do we continue to trailblaze knowing these challenges in a hyper-competitive market?

The Future of Marketing: Trends, Technology, and Consumer Behaviour
How has technology changed the way we buy? What are the prospects for retail stores? How can we reach increasingly challenging markets? In this comprehensive talk, Chitra Anand looks at the future of marketing. The old school methods of print advertising and general campaigns are no longer sustainable. The surge of information and the digital space has given rise to new mediums of communication. We are interacting differently; we are referral-based buyers; we have greater access to information and influencers; and the power has shifted from businesses to consumers.

What is the impact of this, how do we make sense of it in a meaningful way? What trends can we predict and how will this impact the role of marketers? Anand lays it all out and provides hands-on, feasible solutions for this next gen of sales and marketing.

Platform Plus

Workshop | The Greenhouse Approach
This workshop can be an extension of the talk or on its own; this is applied learning. During this workshop, we will explore the core ideas and mindset shift that need to take place to start to build your greenhouse. This is the practical application covering how to: Identify the core ideas that need to be in place and actively start to shift our mindset Become an organization supportive of curiosity Understand the benefits of First Principles Thinking and learn how to we apply it Look at the dangers of consensus thinking and re-direct team members to feel confident about expressing their ideas…even if it is against the masses. ------------------------ Are you an Intrapreneur? Do you have intrapreneurs within your organization? Do you know how to identify this incredible talent and how to best support them? We will explore the behaviours and attributes of this incredibly powerful and talented group of people. You will either self-identify and/or better understand how you and the organization can best support them. All of this will be guided through a set of activities and exercises that will help you become more intrapreneurial in spirit.

  • Her innovative ideas about intrapreneurship are motivational and inspiring. Chitra is a visionary with a focus on transforming not only businesses but one’s self to excel in a world where technology is forever changing. Her passion to see businesses rise to the top, shines through in her presentation, with her knowledge and wisdom leaving you with an impacting message that will encourage you to look for ways to embrace change and strive for success.

    - Association of Alberta Registry Agents
  • Chitra is a dynamic and passionate speaker who helped us think about our industry in a different kind of way. After her talk, she conducted a workshop where we had an opportunity to apply some of the key insights from the morning; it was very engaging and very useful.

    - Random House of Canada
  • Intrapreneurship was a topic that had only been briefly introduced to us before the conference. Chitra is very passionate about her work on this topic. She has a unique but realistic insight into the term of Intrapreneurship that is really refreshing….If you have an opportunity to learn from Chitra I highly recommend it. I would take the opportunity again. She is inspiring, motivational and sincere in all she does.

    - GPRC Business Admin Management Student
  • Chitra Anand was a dynamic and impactful keynote speaker. The combination of her expertise in intrapreneurship, her enthusiasm, and her engaging presentation was a perfect finale for our audience.

    - Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Summary Profile

Chitra Anand is an award-winning communications & marketing executive. With over 20 years in the technology industry she has spent time as the head of Communications for Microsoft Canada, Director of Marketing at TELUS Corporation and Director of Operations at Open Text. 

Projects she guided at Microsoft and TELUS have been awarded IABC Gold Quill Awards, Canadian Public Relations Society Awards of Excellence, the Corporate IT Hero award by the Information Technology Association of Canada and the Business for the Arts Awards.
Anand is at the forefront of an important new movement in the workplace: intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs are the people within your organization who possess an entrepreneurial spirit, driving innovation, creative thinking, and new ideas.

She is a doctoral researcher, innovation & culture change key note speaker, professor, author and advisor to high growth companies.

She has keynoted several events, AGM’s and conferences where her talks reveal how to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship within organizations, how to stay on the cutting edge of market trends, technology, and consumer behaviour. Her writing has been featured in the Globe and Mail and the Huffington Post and teaches several courses at Humber and Sheridan College.  In 2018, Chitra published her book; The Greenhouse Approach, How to Cultivate Deliberate Innovation in Organizations.

Chitra Anand has been named as a “bridge builder” for women in tech by the A-list; a yearly publication that features 50 prominent Indo-Canadians who through various career and community efforts have helped foster relations between Canada and India.

Anand has an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management and is currently pursuing her PhD at Bradford University in the UK.

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