Leila Rao has followed an eclectic path from newspaper reporting to business analysis to Lean process improvement in healthcare and accidentally became a product owner in the early days of Agile which lead her to becoming an enterprise Lean-Agile coach.
She is now president of AgileXtended where she enables sustainable business agility in a wide range of organizations. Leila is also an avid facilitator, open space enthusiast, game design and gamification practitioner, conference speaker, community organizer and creator of the Compass for Agility framework, which will soon be released in a book of the same title.
Padmini Nidumolu is an Agile community leader enabling the voices of women agilists be heard through women led events and campaigns. Her expertise and focus is to build learning organizations and delivering value by leveraging diversities as enablers leading to an enterprise culture of continuous improvement.
She plays an active role in the local Agile communities through speaking, volunteering, engaging with special interest groups with Agile practitioners, Agile Thought Leaders and Agile Coaches.
Padmini is an accomplished Indian classical dancer and serves as a STEM coach to the school teams. She lives in the Washington DC Metro area with her husband and two kids.
We are a paradoxical combination of similarities and differences but just clicked during our initial meeting, and become friends instinctively than through getting to know each other.
Even though we both are based in the Washington DC metro area, we can count on one hand how often we ve actually managed to get together. Leila lives just east of DC in Maryland while Padmini lives southwest of DC in Virginia -- altogether about 35 miles apart. So while we manage to talk quite often, usually while at least one if not both of us are navigating DC's hellish traffic, our actual meetings end up in New York City or Minneapolis or another Agile conference site!
It was during one of those trips -- a snowy day in Minneapolis where we were stuck in a random hotel, where the initial conversation began towards what would become Lean In Agile.
We were discussing our journeys, both personally and professionally as Agile coaches, and soon began exchanging unfulfilled goals and dreams and recognized that our visions were intriguingly complementary; not quite the same but that fit together to create something more inspiring than either of us had envisioned individually.
Despite that sense of wonder, we set aside the possibilities because we were too busy and didn't have bandwidth. It took more than a year for us to realize that our shared vision was still there and a number of different events and experiences converged to enable us to pull the trigger and launch Lean In Agile.
We realized that we had formed our own loose spiral and had become part of each other' s "Team YOU" and that both these connections had been vital to our individual success in the past year. So we're extending what we know worked for us and for our friends to the global audience.