Meet Savita Pillai, Convex VP of People

We are excited to announce that Savita Pillai has joined Convex as our new VP of People. She comes to us most recently from 23andMe, where she was Director of People Technology and Operations. Savita specializes in bringing data-driven efficiency and scalability to the People function. From her start as a software developer at a Mumbai ERP company, Savita has worked extensively with various software applications for the Finance and HR functions of Bay Area companies before focusing on the People Operations space. We recently chatted with her to learn more about her background and her thoughts on the role of the People function.

Savita, you have a unique tech element to your background as a People professional. Can you expand on that? 

When people think of HR, they usually think about process and policies, which seems like more of a “policing” function. I’m more interested in informing policies using data to measure how they’re working for a company’s culture and growth. For example, looking at data, I can see that maybe one function doesn’t have a healthy diversity mix, or another function has seen an increase in attrition in the past six months. This is information my function can bring to the table and be more proactive about rather than just putting policies in place without that conversation. 

Why did you decide to come to Convex from 23andMe?

Some of the companies I’ve worked for in the past have traditional people functions, which tend to focus more on operational efficiency. At 23andMe, though, where culture and values play a big part of their employee experience goals, I truly enjoyed the impact of bringing not only operational efficiency but also a focus on culture to all policy and process-related decisions. It was such a growth moment for me! I always knew it would be hard to leave that environment until I found people in that same vein who would challenge me, and Convex did all of that. From the very first conversation I had with Charlie Warren, it was quite apparent that Convex valued the people function tremendously and the potential it had in shaping its culture through a values and data-driven approach. This really resonated with me. I love the company values and it was this alignment that made me want to join Convex.

In the past, the HR function hasn’t always been viewed positively. How do you envision trust building around your People role at Convex?

I feel it’s essential for me to not only be in alignment with leadership but also for all employees to know I am their liaison and their partner in all things people — from career development to compensation to culture. And that can come only from solid relationship-building. At this stage of the company, it should be relatively easier to build that foundation and grow from there. Being open to feedback and using that feedback to make People processes and policies better will hopefully help build that trust over time.

What do you like to do when you’re not being amazing at your job? 

I have a six-year-old son, so a lot of my life revolves around him and trying to balance my work with that. I’m also trying to get back into dancing, which has always been a big part of my life. I grew up doing South Indian classical dancing, and have performed at various venues in the Bay Area with the group I was with. I paused it all when I had my son and with work getting super crazy. But even with a lot happening in 2022, I told myself, this is my year. So, I’ve rejoined the dance group just to continue practicing again. It’s the one thing I do for me.

Originally published on February 8, 2022 Updated on February 25, 2022

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