2019 FierceTelecom Rising Star — Google’s Prajakta Joshi

The FierceTelecom editorial team is proud to announce our Rising Stars series in which we’re profiling up-and-coming executives in the telecom industry. We’ve selected a slate of executives from services providers, public cloud companies and telco vendors whom we think are on the rise in 2019. We’ll be doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. And next week, we’ll post a Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in the FierceTelecom ecosystem. We hope you enjoy the series!

As a young girl in India Prajakta Joshi excelled at math and always dreamed of working as an engineer or computer scientist.  

She studied math and engineering in school and came to the U.S. to get a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Southern California. After graduating she was hired by Cisco where she wrote software code for Cisco’s telco routers.  

But her big break came in 2014. At the time software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) were getting a lot of attention. She was intrigued when she heard about an opportunity at Open Networking Lab (On.Lab), which was a non-profit networking consortium created by some of the early developers of SDN and NFV. On.Lab is now part of the Open Networking Foundation.  

Joshi joined On.Lab as its product manager for ONOS and CORD, two open source projects for telcos. She spent the next 11 months working on an SDN router for telcos. “I think that was the first time in my career I realized the power of SDN and NFV,” she said.

The work at On.Lab helped pave the way for her next position at Google. The public cloud area was gaining traction, and yet there were lots of unknowns about how companies could leverage the public cloud. Today Joshi is a senior product manager at Google Cloud Networking, which she helped grow from its early days to today where Google Cloud Networking hosts hundreds of thousands of workloads.

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Besides her passion for networking and the cloud, Joshi also spends time helping other women in tech.  She is the co-founder of Aurora, a leadership program within Google that is geared toward senior-level woman —those that are director level or above. The group helps these women deal with challenges around managing teams or growing their careers, and it also provides them with ways to share their expertise with those lower on the ladder. “We want to make sure that more women starting out in their careers land in the senior ranks,” Joshi said.