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WomanOf the Month 6-08: Nidhi Saxena, CEO & President, DatamanUSA LLC
by Faith Esrawan

Outstanding Women in Business award-winner (2005) Nidhi Saxena founded Dataman LLC and has been successfully managing and actively growing this company since its inception in July 2000.

The company is a rapidly growing minority women-owned, full-service information technology (IT) staffing and business process outsourcing () company with headquarters in Colorado, Wyoming, and an offshore development centre in Lucknow, India. DatamanUSA specializes in IT staff augmentation, IT and services, and development of custom software applications.

Nidhi started DatamanUSA LLC in 2000 with the conviction that she could balance a career and family. She gave up her high-paying consulting job and started working from the basement of her home to launch DatamanUSA . She refused to give up on her motherly joys or her career. She wanted it all, and she has managed to succeed. Seven years later, DatamanUSA is an established business, adding on new territories and entering new markets. Over the past three years, DatamanUSA has multiplied its office space square footage more than 10 fold and has expanded to 34 employees with office expansion next planned for Texas. The company’s employees are dedicated, and many consultants are involved in the business development as well. This is a great incentive for employees, and the retention rate is above the industry standard. Staying power is reflected in the growth on all fronts of the business and the awards and recognition from the community.

Saxena was born in a small town in Northern India, and the journey from her native Jhansi to Denver, Colorado, was an arduous one. But it was one made with a strong conviction the need to stick to values that were close to her heart. When she was five years old her parents realized that Nidhi was not an average girl, playing with dolls. She broke away from cultural stereotypes by competing with the boys in cricket, badminton and table tennis, much to everyone’s dismay. The trend continued and Nidhi was the badminton and table tennis State Champion. She also excelled in school – earning high grades in the boy-dominated subjects of math and science. When it came to a career, she wanted to pursue an ‘unladylike’ degree in engineering. Though her parents were initially disappointed with her choice, Nidhi convinced them that it was what she really wanted and passed an entrance examination for engineering college where over 300,000 attempted the entrance examination for only 300-400 seats. She has a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering followed by a Post Graduate honors diploma in computer and information systems from National Institute of Information Technology. Saxena also has a Masters in Oracle Applications from Oracle University.

Following Indian traditions, Saxena had an arranged marriage. When she and her husband, Gyan, were married in their native India, people said theirs was the best possible union, for Gyan’s name means knowledge (In Hindi and Sanskrit) and Nidhi signifieswealth. They complement and balance each other, as their personalities are quite different. He is full of ideas and spontaneous; she is the voice of reason. A few years later, in 1996, they came to the US with a meager $50, a job and lots of dreams; dreams that an immigrant comes with to America, the land of opportunities. They went through all the hoops and adversities that first-generation immigrants face.

Saxena started her career in the US with American Management Systems, and then as senior systems analyst for Echostar. While she was adjusting to life in a foreign land, as an immigrant, following her career path, she had also started a family. She was successfully juggling home and work, but when her second child was born, Nidhi realized that the time had come to balance life between home and work. So, much against the advice of her friends and peers, she gave up her job and set up DatamanUSA where ‘values do matter and you don’t have to give them up to be successful’.

After the success of DatamanUSA and the numerous awards Nidhi has won--Outstanding Woman in Business, Fastest-Growing Private Company, Fastest-Growing Minority-Owned Company, Fastest-Growing Woman-Owned Company, you would think that would be what gives her utmost satisfaction, but she says “I get the most satisfaction when the kids say that they are proud of meapostrophe---that is her biggest reward.