ZS in India

Pune ZSers Zalak and Ahuja embrace equal opportunity at ZS

By ZS Author

Nov. 25, 2019 | Article | 4-minute read

Pune ZSers Zalak and Ahuja embrace equal opportunity at ZS

ZS’s unique culture is often referred to as a caring meritocracy that is built on respect, support, flexibility and connections. Though Pune ZSers Zalak and Anuja have had different experiences at ZS, they have both found this to be true. Read more about their ZS journeys below.



Zalak came to ZS in 2015 with five years of prior experience and MBA in her kitty. Over the last four-plus years at ZS, she has worked on projects ranging from pricing and contracting, payer access, biosimilars defense strategy, targeting and alignment, customer segmentation valuation and multi-channel marketing. Today, she's a decision analytics manager in our Pune office, where she helps clients ensure their patients have access to the products they need.


Have you ever taken a leave from ZS?

I took a maternity leave during my time with ZS, which is the longest duration I was out of workforce beyond one-week vacations. Before I went on leave, I sat down with my PD coach to discuss the length of my leave and how I would transition back. I never felt pressured to return at a certain time – rather, he told me to focus on motherhood and get in touch with him when I was ready to return.


When I returned, I picked up a project that made sense for the time commitment I could give, which made my transition back to ZS seamless. Today, I’m happy to return the respect and support I was given to anyone on my team expecting a child.


What makes ZS a great place to work for women?

ZS has empowered me to craft my own journey. I take a break from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every night to spend time with my daughter, and my team members are understanding of that. ZS gives you the flexibility you need as long as you are able to deliver the work.


ZS also empowers women in their choices – whether that’s taking leave or personal vacation. This type of environment makes me feel strong and confident knowing that I can make decisions without any backlash.


How has the Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) supported and inspired you?

Women are strong and we don't need special treatment, but what we do need is an acknowledgement of the challenges we face. The WLI is a great outlet to make our voices heard. When I came back from maternity leave, I was pumping breastmilk during the day, but we didn’t have a separate refrigerator to store the breast milk. Through conversations initiated by the WLI, we now have a designated pumping room with a small refrigerator to make this process easier for mothers.


I’ve found support and community through the WLI. Having a forum to openly discuss our concerns, challenges and ideas is inspiring and lets me know others are having similar experiences.



Anuja is a business operations manager who joined ZS’s Pune office in 2011 because of the variety. At ZS, she’s had the opportunity to work on various sales compensation projects, new implementations and business development.


"I joined ZS for the opportunity to explore and learn, but the culture and interesting work has kept me here for eight years," Anuja said. "Trying out different projects and working with smart people ensures I'm always learning."


What makes ZS a great place for a woman to work?

ZS is a great place to work, no matter your gender. Most of my managers have been men, and they have been strong advocates of my career growth and supportive mentors. As a manager today, I love providing the same support to my team members.


The flexibility that ZS offers is wonderful for both men and women who want to make time for things outside work too. Being able to work remotely and complete our work while taking care of personal things and spend time with family and friends – it assures me that the impact of my work is valued more than the time you put in.


How has the WLI supported and inspired you?

I’m inspired by hearing from other women leaders at the firm and hearing their stories. I like hearing how women manage their work and personal lives, as well as how they aspire to grow in their careers.


How has ZS supported your work-life balance?

I'm passionate about running, dancing and yoga. While I can't do them all every day, I manage to make time for them regularly. I also love spending time with my family, which requires travel outside of Pune. ZS makes this possible by allowing flexibly to work remotely so I can work while visiting my family out of town. I'm also getting married soon and hence have been taking some time off to plan for it with our families. The great thing about ZS is that we always pitch in to support each other.


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