Q&A with Chandana Pairla - Corporate Vice President, Connectivity, Renesas

Chandana leads Renesas’ Connectivity Division, overseeing a diverse array of product lines including Audio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, UWB, Radar, and SubGHz, catering to various sectors such as Consumer, Smart Home, IoT, Industrial, and Automotive. With over two decades of experience, she has held pivotal product and engineering leadership positions at renowned companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Charter Communications, and Flarion Technologies. 

Most recently, she spoke on the “Pathways to Success” panel during WLI Lunch and Learn event (May 8, Santa Clara, California).  


What inspired you to pursue a degree and a career in engineering?  

Initially, my parents envisioned a career in medicine for me, but my passion for math and science steered me towards engineering. After earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science & Engineering from Osmania University in India, I arrived in the U.S. at 20 with two suitcases, a few hundred dollars in my pocket, and a determination to succeed. I completed my Master of Science degree in Computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

I got my first job at a start-up called Flarion Technologies (later acquired by Qualcomm), which was pioneering the OFDM technology which is the foundation for current Cellular and Wi-Fi standards. I feel privileged to have contributed to the innovation that has made ubiquitous connectivity that we enjoy possible. Before I knew it, I was travelling the world meeting customers, doing demos and deploying nationwide cellular networks for operators. Subsequently, I transitioned through various leadership roles at Qualcomm working on LTE, Wi-Fi, GNSS and IOT products and technologies.

About five years ago after a long tenure at Qualcomm, I aspired to broaden my scope to the semiconductor industry and found my way to Intel where I led SOC and AI programs and a two-year stint in the Corporate Strategy Office. Most recently I led the Wi-Fi Product team at Charter, where I was responsible for the Wi-Fi and Connected home products and services for over 20M customers. 


Could you share your focus and goals in your current role at Renesas 

My heart was always in building products and I found it at Renesas. Satya Nadella has said that when he was called upon to lead Microsoft, he felt like he had been preparing all his life for the job – without necessarily hoping to get it. On some level I feel like I’ve been preparing all my life for this role. I now lead a team of nearly 900 engineers around the world. Many joined us through acquisitions, bringing their diverse experience and expertise to Renesas.

We are integrating the various acquisitions, pivoting the strategy and streamlining the roadmap to help drive the growth for Renesas globally.  My goal is to establish the connectivity business as a $1 billion entity by 2030 

Our collective efforts are towards realizing our Purpose (To Make Our Lives Easier) ‘on the edge’ – helping people stay connected at home and work, while on the move, on themselves (e.g., smart watch, glucose monitor). Our focus areas are: Low Power Connectivity and Localization & Identity Connectivity – where our decades of expertise, broad IP portfolio and market leading KPIs allow us to deliver differentiated products. We are also taking advantage of the scale and our broad MCU portfolio and co-promoting Connectivity technologies as an “attach” to the MCU platform with common SW, tools, and support.  


What advice do you have for young female engineers and professionals in the semiconductor industry 

I was very lucky to have cross-pathed with people who were open-minded, supportive, and nurturing throughout my career. My first manager took a chance on me and believed in my ability to learn and deliver results. For young female engineers, I would advise them to believe in themselves, speak your mind, and invest in building diverse skillsets including communication and presentation skills, and people skills such as relationship building and active listening. Building genuine connections with people – and maintaining them – is a key to success.  

As a leader of a global team, I emphasize the importance of listening to diverse perspectives and fostering a collaborative and psychologically safe environment where every team member feels valued and heard. I also ask for a commitment once a decision has been made, meaning that you commit as a part of the team to work toward the same goal and purpose, even if you disagree with the decision.  

Finally, I firmly believe your reputation is shaped by what people say about you in your absence, so strive to leave a positive impression through your contributions and conduct.  


How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?  

Achieving work-life balance is an ongoing journey for me, especially as a mother of two young children who is on the road a lot. I rely on strategies like meal planning and organization to manage my busy schedule effectively – and I’m big on spreadsheets, even for vacations!   

Having a supportive spouse also helps a great deal, my husband is a true partner who steps in without complaint to care for the children and covers for me during my travels. We also rely on our support system with friends and family as well – it really does take a village!  

I recognize the importance of self-care, I try to carve out time to disconnect from work, reconnect with family and friends, and reflect on past accomplishments and future goals. This recovery time ensures that I can bring my best self to both my professional and personal spheres. 

About Renesas Electronics Corporation 

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723) empowers a safer, smarter and more sustainable future where technology helps make our lives easier. A leading global provider of microcontrollers, Renesas combines our expertise in embedded processing, analog, power and connectivity to deliver complete semiconductor solutions. These Winning Combinations accelerate time to market for automotive, industrial, infrastructure and IoT applications, enabling billions of connected, intelligent devices that enhance the way people work and live. Learn more at renesas.com. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, X, YouTube, and Instagram.