Meet Castlight: Q&A with Vijay Anand, EVP of Engineering

In our blog series, Meet Castlight, we’re featuring some of the best hearts and minds that drive our business.

In this Q&A, we learn more about our Executive Vice President of Engineering, Vijay Anand.

What is your role? How does it support Castlight’s mission?

Castlight is on a mission to make it as easy as humanly possible for individuals to navigate the healthcare system and live happier, healthier, more productive lives. 

In my role at Castlight I serve together with a talented and committed team of developers, data scientists, and data analysts that have created a comprehensive health navigation and wellbeing platform.

Our health navigation platform connects hundreds of health vendors, benefits resources, and plan designs into one comprehensive health and wellbeing experience. We apply complex algorithms to extract relevant insights and deliver timely action recommendations to users. We deliver all this power in an easy to use mobile or web application that simplifies their challenge of finding the right care of high-quality that is affordable anytime and anywhere they need.

I am looking forward to seeing us scale the power of this platform and benefit millions more.

What led to your decision to join the Castlight team?

The people of Castlight.

During my first conversation with Castlight I realized here is a team on an audacious mission — helping people take care of what is most important in their lives, their health and wellbeing, and of their loved ones.

I was inspired by the commitment they have displayed in taking on some of the hardest challenges that people face with the US healthcare system and working relentlessly over the past decade to solve them. I felt it was my calling to serve this team as they fulfill their mission.

What’s your mantra in 5 words?

Vulnerability is not a weakness. 

It is the greatest sign of courage. A good leader is humble enough to know they don’t have all the answers. Instead, they focus on asking the right questions that helps their team discover the right answers.

I have realized in my career that humility can be liberating. It has empowered me to ask for the assistance of my peers and my team in a time of need. It has helped me build a foundation of trust and confidence and discover the art of servant leadership that I have practiced ever since.

As the saying goes, people don’t quit their job, they quit their manager. I believe my role as a leader is to set clear goals for their team and remove barriers that get in their way. I believe a good leader is a coach first — they believe greatness is inherent in everyone. They help people discover their strengths, and empower them to fully express themselves at work.

What is your go-to quarantine activity?

Like most of you, I’ve discovered the meditative power of working in my vegetable garden and taking the goodness into the kitchen and cooking dinner for the family. Maybe it is just me but knowing where food comes from seems to make the food taste even better!

What’s the biggest challenge and opportunity for leadership with a remote workforce?

The biggest challenge to leading remote teams is to be empathetic and inclusive.

Remote work isn’t new to me. For most of my career I have worked with and led distributed teams that are situated across the globe. During long meetings that run late into the evening I remember telling myself we could not have been successful without a team as caring and thoughtful about each other.

The opportunity is the abundance of talent you have access to.

I believe in the power of tapping into talent where they exist. To get the most out of remote teams, follow a few simple principles: Make everyone feel truly included. Distribute work along well defined boundaries to minimize coordination effort. Ensure everyone feels empowered to own the outcome.

What are you most excited about as the next innovation in digital health?

Applying remote to benefit healthcare. For too long has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare been a challenge in this country and around the world.

This pandemic has forced us to shift our consumption patterns and adopt new ways including telemedicine and teletherapy. I believe digital self-service technology married thoughtfully with value-oriented service, a combination of high-tech and high-touch, could be a game changer when it comes to making healthcare simple and accessible to all.

As a technologist, I am excited to use the power of AI and cloud scale platforms to deliver the benefit of safe, accessible, affordable healthcare to all. 

What are you passionate about outside of work? 

A decade ago, while I was working in the tech industry in India, I discovered the barriers that women face at work. This began my learning and discovery journey into what makes workplaces unequal and what we can do to remove barriers that women face in growing in their career. 

I was fortunate to join forces with like-minded individuals at AnitaB.org to empower women in technology and launch a movement that has shaped workplaces in India and around the world to be more diverse and inclusive.

During this journey I was fortunate to meet and coach many talented women and learn from them. I continue to devote time to the cause and enjoy seeing the community flourish.