The topic of our ZEOs mental health isn’t one we shy away from, especially in a time where workplaces are increasingly intertwined with our sense of self. One of our commitments to our ZEOs is creating an environment where they feel seen, heard, and understood, but we recognize that individually people tend to this aspect of their wellbeing in highly personal ways.
Our goal is to provide benefits, resources, and access to wellness professionals and trusted spaces to all ZEOs so that each person can get the support they need when they need it. One such trusted space is our Z-Meditators group, which took shape organically during the height of the pandemic.
In April 2020, mental health apps saw a combined 2 million more downloads compared with January that year, according to TechCrunch. We’re thinking that one of these downloads came from our ZEO Akanksha Kaul, who brought her new meditation goals to her teammates and ultimately launched a daily meditation practice for all of Zuora. Read more about her story below!
Akanksha, tell us about you and your journey to Zuora.
I’m on the Customer Services team as a Senior Technical Architect. My journey to Zuora has been an intentional one—I always wanted to work in the consulting space representing a solid product. Zuora was on my list of top-growing companies, so I reached out to the recruiter directly on LinkedIn and the rest is history.
So what does a Senior Technical Architect do?
I work closely with our customers helping them make decisions on project implementations or supporting them with their implementation needs. Collaborating with all other teams at Zuora is one of the most fun parts of my role. I get to partner and work on cross-functional projects with teams like product & engineering, sales, customer support, and more. Also, as a team lead, I work very closely with my team and help them out with their projects. Collectively, we’re able to give other teams feedback from the field, and they’re able to give us insight into what’s upcoming so we can be prepared to best support our customers.
That’s probably why my favorite Zuora values is “Better Together.” The idea is so multifaceted. Human history has always shown that a diverse group motivated by common goals will always succeed. I strongly believe that there is enough room for all of us at the top, just like how there was enough room on the wooden door for Jack to survive #Titanic 🙂
In your own words, what does it mean to be a ZEO?
To me being a ZEO means “Owning Your Outcomes” (another one of Zuora values), not just around day-to-day work but also around your own personal growth, schedule, etc. It makes me feel proud to be a ZEO and part of our Zuora community—it creates a sense of belonging that is unmatched.
The culture and work environment around me allows me to be my authentic self and increases that sense of belonging.
What’s one way that you bring your authentic self to Zuora?
One way has been my experience starting Z-Meditators. It started at the beginning of the pandemic when I turned to meditation to enhance my well-being. I wanted someone to keep me accountable for my daily practices so I invited my global services teammates to join me in this journey and very soon with the support of my fellow ZEOs (most importantly my then manager MJ Im) it soon grew into an org-wide event.
The last 3 years have been nothing short of amazing, we have dabbled into different meditation techniques like mindful breathing meditation, visualization meditation, body scan meditation, silent meditation, etc. I have a brag-worthy 1000+ days streak on Headspace! Starting daily meditation sessions has been the most profound experience around my mental health so far, and I have met so many ZEOs across the globe that I would have never crossed paths with if not for these sessions.
How is Zuora’s culture reflected in your Z-Meditators group?
Authentic self and safe space: When we are meditating together, we are not considering anybody’s background, experience, or what they bring to the table. It’s a safe space where people can be themselves and talk freely about their day and focus on one goal they have for that day. We always begin the session with an intention, for some it can be getting some clarity while working on a difficult problem or some peace during end-of-quarter, hectic hours. We make space for everyone and their current experience.
What can others do to create a more mindful work environment for themselves?
I have implemented the concept of focus work and time blocking in my day to day work life, and I highly recommend it. I start each day blocking multiple focus times and breaks on my calendar. This helps me be in the flow and plan my day proactively rather than reactively. This technique has greatly helped with being in the “flow” state of mind while working.
Interested in being a ZEO? Check out our current openings at zuora.com/careers.