WashingtonExec: Tell me about a time in your life when you had to really stretch yourself in order to learn and grow.
Kapoor: When your business career involves increasingly responsible positions, as mine has, you inevitably arrive at a transitional stage where you move from doing the work to supervising the work. And one of the things you learn immediately when you make that transition is that you must continually learn and grow your leadership skills.
I started out as a software developer, then made the transition to management. I quickly learned that managing a multidisciplinary team is not easy, particularly when you know little about disciplines that were not part of your experience or training. Since I came from the technical world, I had to acquire skills and in-depth understanding of disciplines such as finance, human resources, legal, contracts and so on to evolve as a leader.
At one point, I was asked to lead external affairs for all technology matters for a major corporation. I was expected to build relationships across U.S. federal executive and legislative branches and represent our company to leaders in government. Initially, this seemed like a daunting task since I had never operated at that level before. Thankfully, I worked for a boss who was wonderful with coaching and empowerment. He allowed me to truly grow and gain a whole different level of expertise and confidence.