A Day in the Life of Engineering Director Kalyani Mallela

As an engineering director, Kalyani Mallela believes she makes a difference each day and that she gets to make a positive impact on the world while working with intelligent and highly dedicated team members who motivate her to do better.
headshot of Kalyani Mallela on purple gradient background
Kalyani Mallela headshot
Kalyani Mallela

I grew up surrounded by engineers; learning about different engineering disciplines through them and their jobs. I quickly learned the versatility of the field and what a great foundation it was for both technical and business careers. Understanding all the ways an engineer can make a difference made engineering an obvious choice. My parents inspired me to pursue engineering and continuously supported my aspirations. Thanks to them, math and science have always been a part of my life and I excelled at those subjects. After school, I would work with my mother on math problems and my father on science projects.

I have an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and immediately pursued my Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. A few years into my career, I started mapping out key areas of learning to be a more effective engineering business leader. I had the technical depth with my education and experience. I needed to learn more about technology forecasting, innovation management, new technology product development, accounting, finance and marketing. After evaluating a few different programs, I decided to pursue a Master of Science (MS) degree in Management of Technology from the University of Minnesota, while continuing to work full-time.

I recently joined Johnson & Johnson as Director of Research and Development with their Digital Robotic Surgery franchise, working on an innovative robotic surgery platform in collaboration with Google. Being able to make a difference and impacting others’ lives as an engineer is my passion. I have worked all my career in medical devices including in a start-up environment and with public and private companies. Some of the products I worked on are implantable defibrillators, pacemakers, hearing aids, automated external defibrillators, patient monitoring devices and many software applications to support these products.

I am stoked about my current role with Johnson & Johnson. Technology has changed the way we live and work, and we are building digital surgery solutions to improve care inside and outside the operating room. We are innovating, advancing, and consistently raising the bar in digital surgery by leveraging new technologies such as robotics, enhanced visualization and instrumentation, virtual reality, sensors and artificial intelligence. We aim to deliver enhanced experiences and outcomes for patients, surgeons and healthcare systems across the continuum of care.

I make a difference each day. Our products and solutions touch nearly every patient who undergoes a surgical procedure. I get to have an impact while working with intelligent and highly dedicated team members who motivate me to do better.

Having an undergrad and advanced degree in engineering allowed me to have a strong technical foundation. The advanced degree in Engineering Management provided a competitive advantage as I was seeking leadership opportunities in a technology-intensive business environment. My mentors and SWE resources have helped me overcome challenges throughout my career as a new engineer, technical leader and a strategic partner. As a woman of color, they provided me with tools to work through these scenarios. I advise you find a way to build your technical foundation, either through education or experience, to be an effective engineering leader.


Read more ‘Day in the Life’ articles:

A Day in the Life of Software Engineer Emily Redmond

A Day in the Life of Mining Engineer Meghan McDonald

A Day in the Life of Manufacturing Engineer Elizabeth Walker

  • Sheila Sharda Harani says:

    While we all talk about successful women engineers who have an excellent career graph , I also feel we need to encourage women who have had a long career break due to mother hood and hence couldn’t juggle both career and personal life ..we should talk about creating opportunities for them to make them have a come back by imparting some training to them and help them build confidence to make a come back in a strong way

  • Carol Weber says:

    Kalyani, an exciting post to learn about your career and aspirations. You are an amazing talent and excited for your future and the future of your industry!