- By Dwaipayan, 19 November 2020 | 9 MIN READ
One day or day one, you decide – there is something similar to the life story of Sandhya Padala, the founder and CEO of Rex Programming. An inspirational journey from a humble traditional Indian background to an extraordinarily successful American Woman Entrepreneur empowering disruptive technology in education for all.
A Master’s Degree in computer science from the University of Toledo, with work portfolios in major corporate IT management roles, to a start-up founder – Sandy is an inspiration for many, especially for the minorities, immigrants, and women.
She grew up in a congested 300 sq ft home with five people, an average student who excelled in Math and computer science which would later prove to be the key in her successful entrepreneurial journey.
Binspired brings to you the motivating story of Sandhya Padala told in her own words. The personal challenges – Her entrepreneurial journey so far. An Indian businesswoman settled in the US playing a prominent role in society, generating better employment opportunities, and strengthening the women entrepreneurship ecosystem globally.
A dream close to the hearts
My success is all about the “value of hard work” that my mother taught me, and my father who instilled the confidence in me to “believe myself”. By 11th grade, I decided to pursue computer science and make a difference. I grew up in a conservative society where girls are taught to defer men, well, I kept my cool, for the first eight years I lived in the US, I played it safe. Never questioned anyone and always agreed to what my bosses had to say because I had a lot to learn before I got along with my finances and the language proficiency in “English”.
I improved my English skills by watching movies and attending classes. My confidence grew and financials were stabilized, I worked my way up to senior IT management positions at Harley-Davidson Motor Company and served at YMCA. In my last full-time corporate position, I ran a multi-million-dollar, 200+ person project. Surprisingly of 200 people in my team, less than 3% were women.
I’ve got an exciting story to share. I have had always believed that to make dreams happen it is important to include the family as a part of your journey. I remember, when my son was six, he wanted to learn to create video games. I looked high and low for a suitable environment for him, when I couldn’t find one, I decided to create one. It truly helped me to understand that when you want something and you’re working it out, the universe conspires to make it happen.
My entrepreneurial Journey
Those were some very decisive moments. I registered the company – And not much support as we were in the middle of clearing debt. They were tough times, as couples, we disapproved of each other many times, resentments, tantrums played a part as our financial status was not good. My husband had valid points but again I had my thoughts, passion that kept me moving. My mother also opposed the idea of me becoming an entrepreneur, due to the financial risk involved in it. She insisted me to join corporate jobs and make out a decent living.
Well, my son thought I should pursue my dreams. I also had great support from my father who always believed in aspiring to what I wanted to become and should be persistent and resilient in my journey with every failure I encounter.
My daughter reassured me that an entrepreneur can have a bad day if entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk gave up when it gets tough, then there wouldn’t be any innovation – The message was very clear to me, I had to be the role model for my daughter, son and every single well-wisher who believed in me.
Choices over big decisions – The Dino move
In the year 2016, I got an offer from a company, hardly five minutes’ drive from my home. I took up the job and simultaneously kept my business running with two part-time employees. Sadly, the business didn’t do well. I gathered courage and took the bold step and resigned from my job to put my entire focus on building the base product. I was still very nervous about talking to new people, going to networking events.
However, 2018 turned out to be a welcoming year - Met some amazing folks. Started learning how to build a business. I realized that I have the qualities - inner strength, persistence, resilience, vision, and being flexible on my journey, and taking advice from people who already have done it. 2019 was significant – I scaled and learnt the intricacies in marketing/business, focus on market fit, sales, customer satisfaction, long-term strategy, sales process, and above all learning from failures all pivoted my business model from B2C to B2B in 2019 a major win indeed.
Today, I am a confident entrepreneur and have realized that I am the finest salesperson of my product and services. I have transformed as a person. I have become a more humble, confident, patient entrepreneur. I still have a long entrepreneurship journey ahead.
Today, Rex Academy offers a whole new classroom experience, and every class is taught by both a computer scientist and a trained educator. The program was originally launched in Irving but has expanded to locations in Addison/Coppell as well as Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Dallas-headquartered company helps kids learn coding, robotics, and emerging technology. Currently, Rex is trying to raise funds to improve its learning management system and add more gaming programs.
Rex Academy offers a self-paced curriculum-with over 20 programming units and eight engineering units. The more advanced learners can design complex robots and circuits, as well as create video games, mobile apps. Students can also design websites using different technologies like HTML, Java, and Mobile App. AP Computer Science students also have programs available to them.
Younger students and beginners can create computer animations, play games, and program robots to complete various tasks, aiming to increase their digital literacy. The program also ensures that every student receives training in internet safety.
Padala believes that it’s very critical that every kid needs to have a fundamental understanding of how computers think regardless of what career they’re going to choose. They could be doctors, they could be NFL players or do a marketing job, it’s very important they have an idea of how computers think.
In general, coding is becoming a more important skill, as well as a larger part of the general public’s lives. Understanding technology, as well as how it thinks and works, will grow in importance in the future. Rex Academy courses give students “a sense of accomplishment and make them think "What’s Next".
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