Anjali Sud is A Winner at Vimeo!

Aug/01/2021 / by ABHIJIT MASIH
Anjali Sud and the Vimeo team at Nasdaq
Anjali Sud and the Vimeo team at Nasdaq

It is not often that an executive can make her mark by watching and evaluating videos. Anjali Sud, the CEO of Vimeo, is one of the lucky few.

Vimeo is the world’s leading all-in-one video software solution, helping users create, collaborate with and communicate visual content. A 5-billion dollar company, it now boasts a community of 200 million users, including influencers, entrepreneurs and some of the world’s largest companies.

Sud, who graduated from Wharton School in 2005, received her MBA from Harvard Business School in 2011. Five years later, just 33, she took over at Vimeo, which is now valued at $5 billion.

In call with SEEMA from her home in Flint, Michigan, the young Indian American business leader described her formula for success.

Anjali Sud at the Vimeo town hall
Anjali Sud at the Vimeo town hall

“The only reason I became the CEO of Vimeo, was ’cause I was pushing to … take the company in a different direction,” Sud said. “I have always been proactive in saying ‘Hey, here’s my idea about something else that we could do,’ or ‘There is something else that is happening in the company that I am really interested in, that could add value to the business.’” 

Sud had originally intended to maker her career in investment banking. Her first job was as a buyer in a toy store. She eventually did become an investment banker, but not in the biggest investment firms. Though the start was bumpy – and not quite what she had anticipated – she used the experience to hone her skills.

Once Sud got to Vimeo, though, all that preparation came to her aid.

As the young CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, her first order of business was to transform the company from a content creator like Netflix to a video software company. 

“The biggest challenge was to shift the company’s strategy, culture and focus pretty dramatically,” Sud said. “That’s when I got to rip off the band-aid – and do it quickly.” One example of the speed at which she moved was that within 90 days of her taking over, Vimeo bought over Livestream.

Sud is a mentor to thousands of job aspirants, managing multiple teams in multiple locations. She said she looks for two qualities in a potential colleague.

“You can have a lot of different styles and skill sets, but you have to be curious,” Sud said. “You have to be comfortable asking questions, and you have to want to seek the truth. Another quality that I look for is empathy – for both the customer and your colleagues. I have never seen anyone become wildly successful in business on their own.”

Anjali Sud as a child with her father and siblings
Anjali Sud as a child with her father and siblings

As someone who has broken through the glass ceiling, her mantra to young women is to take control of their future.

Sud tells her mentees, “It’s your career. Own it and take control of it and look to create opportunities. Earlier, I thought that I would never have a career path to leadership. But along the way I was learning and developing diverse skill sets and gaining experience. All of them contributed to me getting here.”

Sud was born in Flint, Michigan, to Punjabi-Indian immigrant parents, the eldest of three children. Unlike many Indian parents who encourage their kids to learn everything possible, Sud’s parents had too hectic a work schedule to be able to curtail her freedom and independence, even when she was very young. That independence transformed into confidence when she was enrolled into the Phillips Andover Academy.

“I actually left home when I was 14 to go to one of the best schools in the country,” she says. “I wanted the best education, and since I was raised so independently, I felt comfortable putting myself out there.”

The school changed her, infusing her with attributes that have made a difference.

“What I got out of that experience – which did certainly help me and still helps me today – is that I failed early, which built resilience,” Sud said. “Because of that I got confident. When everything seemed really hard and everyone seemed really smarter than me, that confidence really helped me.”

The weight of her job and position does not really come in the way of her being content being a mom, a wife, a daughter and, most importantly, getting her required rest.

Anjali and her son at the Vimeo office
Anjali and her son at the Vimeo office

“I need to get a good night’s sleep even if it means less social time or have to put my laptop down”, she confessed with a smile, describing how she maintains her work-life balance.

Sud is fiercely proud of her heritage. She loves Indian music and samosas in equal measure. And her personal objective is for her views and values to flow to her son – Saavan. 

A true Punjabi, Sud spends her weekends dancing to Bollywood dance numbers with Saavan, holding Bollywood-themed dance parties every weekend with him. The mother-son duo can burn the floor to music videos of Katrina Kaif – her son’s current favorite. 

“That’s definitely one of the things that I love doing with him. I love doing it because dance music was such a big part of my upbringing. I have a strong affinity for that part of my culture and I want to pass that on to him,” she said.

“Those are all the things that I want to do as I raise my son,” Sud added. “I wouldn’t really change much in my parenting. I only hope that I can be as good a parent to Saavan as my parents were to me.”

That she adores Saavan is clear in the way she insistently posts about him on Instagram, with picture after picture of them together.

Still, Sud rejects the ‘Bollywood Mama’ label.

“I have a lot of bands that I like,” she said. “I have a pretty eclectic taste in music and I am also trying to get up to speed with the latest stuff. I am very behind. As I am getting older I am not keeping up with what is happening right now. But I have been trying to keep up.”

As the head of a company that mainly deals in video production, Sud spends a great deal of her time consuming video content at work. That does not stop her from still watching movies, both Bollywood and Hollywood, in her spare time. She has subscriptions to most available streaming services, she confesses.

Things can get hectic. As the head of a company in a fast-paced, competitive industry, her calendar is full through the work hours. However, Sud finds refuge at times in what would be her perfect night – “being in my sweatpants with a bowl of popcorn and watching some beautiful story.”

Anjali Sud and the Vimeo team at Nasdaq
Anjali Sud and the Vimeo team at Nasdaq

Anjali Sud – Life and Times

  •  Born in Detroit (1983) and raised in Flint, Michigan.
  •  At the age of 14, enrolls in the Phillips Andover Academy in Andover, Massachusetts (1997).
  • Graduates with a B.S. in finance and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2005).
  • Receives an MBA from Harvard Business School (2011).
  • Becomes an analyst (merger and acquisitions) at Sagent Advisors (2005-2007).
  •  Becomes an associate (mergers and acquisitions) at Time Warner (2007-2009).
  • Goes on to become senior manager, then marketing director at Amazon (2011 and 2014)
  • Joins Vimeo as director of marketing (2014), then appointed CEO (2017) after the company searched for over a year for someone to fill that position.
  • Becomes one of Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen : 35 under 35 Honorees (2017).
  • Named 14th on Fortune’s “2018 40 Under 40” list.

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