DN Prasad, Senior Director – Strategy, People & Organisation, Government Technology Agency (GovTech), talks about an ex-boss who has "hugely" influenced his life, and more in this candid interview with Priya Sunil.

Q What is the one thing that gets you out of bed every morning?

Definitely my alarm :) On a more serious note, I have always valued the work I do - whether I am coaching or building a team or a function, leading transformation efforts, influencing a stellar candidate to join the organisation; or any piece of work, no matter how small or huge, that creates an impact for the organisation, and on the careers and lives of individuals. I feel it’s a privilege and an honour to be in a role which can have such a broad impact, and it is a responsibility for which I am grateful.

Looking at the bigger picture now, and, knowing that what I do plays a small part in nation building, gets me excited and is my motivation to get out of bed every morning.

Q What’s on today’s task list at the office?

A typical day today – An early start with some email time, followed by a weekly management meeting, a couple of one-on-ones with my leads and members of the team, and two reviews of presentations to the board.

Q What’s for lunch?

That’s easy. I am vegetarian, and, my lunchtime options are limited and non-fussy. I alternate between a Subway sandwich, a soup and salad, a burrito bowl or some good old comfort food of yogurt rice.

While I try and use the lunch break to catch a breath in a typically packed day, I am also comfortable with working lunches – typically with a colleague or two, to get to know them better and understand their work. It helps to connect.

Q Back to work: what’s on the agenda, and how do you manage your time?

I prefer to start early, get some time for emails, and plan for the day ahead before I start any meetings. A typical day involves a few working meetings with the team, the leadership groups, and sometimes with external partners. There would also be some one-on-ones with members of the team and/or fellow members of the management.
I try to schedule a couple of "me-time" blocks to run through emails or just centre myself. And, just being practical, while some are definite preferences, I have learnt over the years to be nimble and expected the unexpected.

Q Who is your role model in or outside of work, and why?

I have been blessed to have been influenced by several role models and mentors along my journey, both in the personal and professional sphere. In the last decade though, I have been hugely influenced by my manager and VP at Google, Sunil Chandra, currently CEO of OakNorth.

He is a fantastic role model for a leader with a perfect balance of strategy with execution excellence, someone who always put the organisation ahead of anyone and anything, while treating every individual with respect. He is a man of details that few can match, who demonstrates the virtue of patience and endurance, being honest and authentic, with a belief that candid and real conversations can solve any challenge.

Most of all, he encouraged and taught us to "bring the elephant to the room" and never negotiate on excellence and quality of work.

Q It’s the end of the long work day - what’s your favourite way to end it?

Can I just say "depends"? The options typically include listening to music, a long walk, a visit to the gym, some family time or even just vegetating in front of TV, watching thrillers on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Ed's note: DN Prasad was recently conferred the IHRP-MP (Master Professional) recognition, following a nomination by the IHRP board and an assessment. He joins a group of 22 HR leaders in Singapore who have been recognised at this level over the last three years. Pic below:


Photos / provided

To all our CHRO friends across Asia: We’d love for a sneak peek at what motivates you, your favourite lunch menu, how you manage your time – anything that completes your day. If you’re keen to share, do reach out to Priya Sunil at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..