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Deepika Bajaj

VP, Publisher Relations, RedLink, Inc.

Deepika BajajPlease tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I was born in New Delhi, India. And for most part, grew up in a small town in the outskirts of Delhi. And that is why I think I like being part of small, tight-knit communities.  Currently, I live in the Bay Area. It’s again a lot of fun to be in Silicon Valley. The startup world is another tight-knit community. I believe in small groups of like-minded people having fun and doing cool things. So this pretty much explains my general approach to my career.

I graduated with an Engineering degree from Bangalore University, where I studied Electronics and Communications. Then, I was fascinated by motherboards, circuits and electromagnetic theory. It worked well for me since I was one of the few engineers who got to work on early stages of wireless technologies. I still remember we were those cool kids who had the first wireless phones which used to look like big blocks of steel and dials.

After six years of network engineering, I wanted to move to the business side of the things. And I found market and business development very interesting career paths. So, I got an MBA in Marketing from Fordham Gabelli School of Business, New York. And again, I realized that the business world is a small, tight-knit community where strong relationships and common interests are important to get things done.

Describe some of your current responsibilities, and what type of organization you belong to.

I’m responsible for growth, revenue and marketing for RedLink, a Silicon Valley startup, which aims to bring cutting-edge solutions that provide customer insights, streamline scholarly communication and enable high-quality academic conversations in the scholarly ecosystem.

In my current role, I am accountable for serving and building trust with our customer base, fostering relationships, identifying new markets and building and executing go-to market plans for RedLink initiatives serving the scholarly world.

Most importantly, I feel my role is to build a team and a culture of teamwork while keeping my eyes on the future to steer the team in directions that ensure the success of RedLink. Like all startups, we have many ambitious plans and they are only possible because we have a team that believes in what they are doing and are willing to give it their 100%. Again, a tight-knit community of people who are raising the bar on innovation.

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

This is my first role in scholarly publishing. It is always interesting turn of events and a great leap of faith that lead you to roles you had never thought of. In my case, I feel I was in training for this role during my past experiences, even though, they were not in the scholarly publishing.

I have worked in different countries, across cultures and in small and big tech companies. I also got to build a few tech ventures of my own from ground up across different industries. And this allowed me to surround myself with folks smarter than myself, take decisions and be accountable for them and take every obstacle as a learning experience.

My career path does not have a linear trajectory. What it has is a breadth of experiences and a deep understanding of fundamentals of business and relationships, which are timeless practices, and always have room for learning.
In the phase before RedLink, I was responsible for publisher relations and growth of mobile advertising platforms in gaming and mobile advertising. The gaming space was getting saturated. I knew the time for a move had come.

And it’s then, I learnt about RedLink. Though I wasn’t experienced in the space, the team at RedLink was willing to take a chance on me. And here we are…

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

I think I have had many pivotal people and moments in my career development. It’s hard to pin down one specific moment or person.

What tools, web sites and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?

I am an avid reader. So I love reading business, spiritual and philosophy books. I am genuinely interested in biographies and autobiographies of folks who I find inspirational. Also, I am truly blessed to find mentors who guide me and channelize my skills and energies to play to my strengths. Also, they are quick to point out areas for improvement and keep me accountable.

I am so curious by nature so I participate in many organizations and refer to tons of websites. I take courses, take one on one sessions, and speak and meet many folks in conferences.

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

I think challenges and surprises are the times when every professional’s metal is put to test. In my case, I have encountered many challenges and obstacles, from turning so many “no’s” from customers, investors to “yes’s”, from having no budget for marketing and finding creative ways to get the word out, building trust with my partners and customers by constantly creating a positive experience for them, from changing industries, revamping business models and reinventing myself – the list go on and on.

I do believe that each of those situations gave me the perspective that now allows me to have a vision and a very holistic view of things that helps me lead my teams, business partners and customers to success.

What do you wish you knew more about?

I love what I do and sometimes, missing lunches and sleep and stressing for work related matters consume me. So, as I grow up, I am going to be more responsible for myself too!!!

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

Just DO It.

I am new to the space and I can say truly it has been super refreshing to be part of this community. It is truly an industry where there is passion and thirst for knowledge. Everything is centered around one basic fundamental “research” for the advancement of human capacity. And there is no end to this quest, add to it the technological advancements, and ever changing customer needs to create, access, distribute content while keeping high-standards on quality, the fun goes on and on.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” Albert Einstein.


Watch a video interview with Deepika Bajaj, and other SSP members, as they answer questions about scholarly publishing.