Rebelling against tradition and breaking women stereotypes — meet Aastha Yadav

March 07, 2022

Share
Life at Bolt Aastha

Aastha Yadav has led Bolt’s product strategy for over 2 years.

Today, we’ll hear from Aastha about her decision to relocate to Estonia, swapping space for fashion, and empowering women in tech!

This is Aastha’s story…

Rebelling against tradition

Aastha’s first taste of work came during her studies in India where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Technology followed by a master’s in Business Administration.

Wanting to go beyond theoretical knowledge — and make a difference in the real world — Aastha racked up an impressive 6 internships during her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The internships ranged from fashion production to social media marketing and content freelancing to coaching — quite the mix!

And as a school maths and science whizz, she even attended the Young Aspiring Astronaut Programme at NASA in Cape Canaveral, FL, aged 15!

She admits that in a country where children are advised to pick ‘safer’ career paths at school, choosing to study fashion for her bachelor’s degree was an act of rebellion against tradition. 

Following her studies, Aastha started her first full-time job in management consulting at Bain & Company, where she was responsible for solving real-world business challenges in collaboration with the leadership team. 

The start of the Bolt journey — “Where’s Estonia?”

Aastha first heard about Bolt after being contacted by a recruiter. To begin, she didn’t necessarily know where Bolt was located, or even Estonia for that matter!

But that didn’t stop her — Aastha pursued the opportunity at Bolt and was offered a role.

“Everyone I spoke to during the interview process had the right balance of smart and fun! Plus, my new position offered me great leverage to create impact at a cross-organisational level with plenty of autonomy. 

And, who wouldn’t want to suddenly move to a country they’d never heard about?!”, says Aastha.

Relocating across the world

Aastha admits that her greatest relocation concern was moving somewhere where you know little about the people, culture, and language. And her biggest fear? The cold and the dark, of course!

But now that Aastha’s been at Bolt for almost 2 and a half years, here are her reflections on what surprised her the most about relocating:

  • “You’ll start talking about the weather way more than you realise and want to. Having sun 350/365 days a year in India and other parts of Asia meant I didn’t really appreciate the sun. Sunny days are now so much more special!
  • I discovered that my name also has an Estonian version, ‘Asta’, and that my name sounds like the Estonian word for ‘year’ — Aasta.
  • White nights are not a myth — as kids, we heard about places that had days all night long and nights all day long. It sounded unreal until I watched the beautiful summer sunset and sunrise with my own eyes”, says Aastha.

Life as a Strategy Manager

For Aastha, there’s no typical day at Bolt as responsibilities vary depending on the challenges at hand. This is especially the case as she’s looking at different business verticals — ride-hailing, delivery, rentals, and new expansion areas.

But, overall, you can boil down the tasks into the following themes: researching, problem-solving, strategic planning, and communicating. 

Aastha’s day begins with a look at her daily to-do list, put together the evening before. Tasks are priority annotated, and she identifies dependencies to prevent bottlenecks. Planning is key here!

The day then moves to planned and ad-hoc stakeholder meetings where teams discuss product performance, questions, and new industry information, e.g., market regulations.

Many meetings focus on launching & evaluating new initiatives and assessing product-market attractiveness.

When not talking with stakeholders, Aastha carves out time for studying, analysing, documenting insights, helping her team, and other strategic tasks that require higher mental bandwidth.

Aastha blocks 3–4 hours each day for this type of solitary work. 

“Although some days might be challenging, it’s when you step back and realise what you’ve accomplished — the knowledge you’ve shared, the relationships you’ve formed, what you’ve learned, and the value you’ve added — that everything clicks”, says Aastha. 

Bolt’s family spirit

When it comes to everyday life at Bolt, Aastha enjoys the fresh entrepreneurial energy and getting to make strategic changes that can be pivotal for business performance.

“At Bolt, I see such self-motivation and willingness to support each other — it’s almost a cult! But jokes aside, it makes us feel like a family almost. 

Some of my closest friends in Tallinn are also from Bolt. It’s great to see that even during a pandemic and war, we’ve managed to stick together and take care of each other in whatever way possible,” says Aastha.

Empowering women in tech

At Bolt, we’re committed to promoting the careers of women in tech through events such as our Bolt Engineering Meetup — Women in Tech.

On this topic, Aastha notes that while participation in engineering roles may be proportionally lower, teams such as marketing, legal, and finance often see a female majority. So the problem is more systemic. 

“We shouldn’t bind young girls to particular areas of study based on what’s traditionally fit their gender. Today, though, this problem is being resolved, and there are more and more women in tech roles”, says Aastha.

Here are Aasthas’s top tips for women considering a tech role:

  1. Combine the data with your intuition;
  2. Ask for what you think you deserve — don’t avoid conflict;
  3. Don’t underestimate good hair days!

Breaking women stereotypes

When it comes to stereotypes of women in the workplace, Aastha says that women are often more empathetic and willing to avoid conflict — so if they do speak out, they’re seen as aggressive.

And often, someone’s knowledge can be overlooked because of their looks. Aastha stresses, though, that these are situations seen in the industry as a whole, and not something she’s experienced at Bolt.

“If we look at the general path of life, for a proportion of women, there comes a time when they want to raise a family. And that’s when many women have career plateaus — they’re juggling a million responsibilities which they need to balance with work.

After this long break, it’s hard for women to get back on the horse and it can be demotivating. But, of course, there are many exceptions! 

There are women with families who have fought this narrative and built successful careers. But does that translate into the ‘equality’ we’re looking for with women in leadership roles? Again, the problem here must be solved at a foundational level”, says Aastha.

Want to join us on our mission to make urban mobility more affordable, safe, and sustainable?

Visit our Careers Page today to see our 1000+ open roles!

And if you’re worried about moving, remember that Bolt’s Relocation Team is on hand to help you every step of the way.

Share

Recent posts