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Soundarya Chandar: Unlocking Potential and Elevating Performance in Tech

By: Soundarya Chandar

When we delve into the intricacies of leadership, there’s a subtle yet profound difference between those who lead projects and those who lead people. Soundarya Chandar, esteemed senior product manager, exemplifies the latter. Now, while making significant strides at Meta Inc, her greatest prowess isn’t just in anticipating the tech terrain—it’s in recognizing and nurturing the latent potential in every individual she works with.

Cultivating a People-Centric Approach

Soundarya’s foundation at PESIT, Bangalore, was more than just a dive into Computer Science. It marked the genesis of her journey in understanding human-system interactions. Her stint at Carnegie Mellon University further refined her ability to decipher not just systems, but the people operating them. Soundarya says “One of favorite courses at Carnegie Mellon was Human Computer Interactions, in which we learnt how to design the mobile apps we take for granted in our everyday lives. Understanding the intricacies of interface design and the impact it can have on us to leverage technology and solve problems was highly instrumental in my journey to become a Product Manager.”  Her mission became clear: to tap into the power of technology and unleash human potential.

Empowering Teams at Yelp Inc.

Her tenure at leading technology companies in the Bay Area, California like eBay Inc., Yelp Inc., and Meta Inc. showcases this beautifully. In particular, Soundarya’s leadership behind the innovative Yelp Waitlist Kiosk and of projects that impact over 10,000 US restaurants front-of-house service stands out.  She collaborated with large a team of engineers, designers, sales, account managers, data scientists to work together seamlessly to deliver on key business outcomes. Her philosophy for helping teams work together is to  always nudge them towards their best selves, hold space for frequent and transparent communication, and anchor on meeting the needs of the customers. When team members feel empowered, project success naturally follows and leads to a high functioning team. Her favorite quote is “A rising tide lifts all boats”, encapsulates her belief that when individuals work together toward a common goal, everyone benefits. The trendsetting projects and innovative milestones are a testament not just to her vision, but to a team she has mentored to believe in their own capabilities.

Beyond Tech: Nurturing Human Potential

Soundarya’s understanding of human potential isn’t limited to corporate confines. She has passionately taken up the mantle of mentoring, especially women in tech. She has conducted workshops in product management on topics such as storytelling, executive presence, working with cross functional team members. She actively participates in recruiting and works with internal Diversity & Equity resource groups to organize learning and social events and build camaraderie within the community. Through her initiatives, she challenges, supports, and emboldens them to break barriers and redefine boundaries. “I’ve been very lucky to have mentors and sponsors who are in my corner and have helped me think 3 steps ahead as I charted my career map. Having sounding boards who believe in you and keep you honest are key” 

Moreover, her collaborations with budding STEM enthusiasts are legendary. She doesn’t merely provide them a roadmap; she equips them with tools to draft their own. In her sessions, Soundarya’s emphasis is not just on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of tech, but the ‘who’ behind it. In a recent talk at technology conference about acing product management interviews, Soundarya shares the criticality of long term thinking and investing in one’s skillset. She shares resources and tips on how women can build confidence by leveraging mock interviews and demonstrating  their skills creatively. The talk can be viewed on Youtube

The Goldsmith Tenet: People First

Soundarya, much in line with the Marshall Goldsmith philosophy, believes that the success of any venture hinges on the people behind it. True leaders, as she exemplifies, go beyond mere strategy and execution; they foster environments where individuals believe in their own potential. It’s not just about achieving targets, but about elevating each member to their pinnacle of excellence.

Envisioning a People-Driven Tech Landscape

When asked about her aspirations, Soundarya paints a picture of a tech world where innovation stems from individual brilliance. Her goal? To continue to create spaces where each person feels valued, heard, and empowered to be their best.

Reiterating her belief, Soundarya shares, “In the tech world, systems and codes are driven by people. When we invest in people, nurture their growth, and value their uniqueness, we don’t just achieve our goals—we exceed them.”

A Paradigm Shift in Leadership

Soundarya Chandar’s journey is not just an inspiration—it’s a masterclass in people-centric leadership. From Yelp’s innovative spaces to Meta’s growth arenas, the consistent thread is her dedication to individual growth and potential. As she continues to inspire, mentor, and elevate, Soundarya is crafting a leadership model that places people at its heart.

For those keen on understanding leadership that truly transforms, Soundarya’s journey is a beacon. Engage with her insights at or delve into meaningful dialogues on LinkedIn: In connecting with Soundarya, you’re not just touching base with a tech luminary—you’re encountering a true champion of human potential.


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