Corporate

Sucheta Keni on Not Limiting Herself

May 29, 2019

When Sucheta Keni was diagnosed with heart and lung disease, she didn’t let that stop her. When she was told she only had a few months to live, she danced at Adobe’s Diwali celebration. And when she was recovering from her lung transplant, she fulfilled her desire to work again.

This is her story.

What originally led you to join Adobe?

Earlier in my career I took Adobe certifications, and as I learned the products, working at Adobe became the dream for me. When I got the opportunity to work there, I jumped at it and I started on the product team. It’s been an amazing experience since.

You’ve now been with Adobe for over 12 years. What’s kept you here?

The love of the product, and the vision the company has. But most importantly, the fact that Adobe believes in family and life outside of work. It’s not only a technology company—it’s a people company, where employees are supported and appreciated.

What is your current title? Tell me about your roles and responsibilities.

I’m a Quality Engineering Manager. Until recently, I was actually part of the Flash Player team working on feature development. When the product was retired, I started work on other projects, like with Adobe Capture and Adobe XD. I do quality engineering on these projects, and I get to think with a more creative mindset and user experience approach.

Can you tell me about your battle with heart and lung disease?

I was diagnosed a little after I joined Adobe, so it’s been a journey. The people I’ve worked with have known since I began and they’ve been so supportive. I’ve always felt that I shouldn’t have to hide my diagnosis. I’ve had supportive teammates and managers, and I was never just given menial work to do. I worked on projects that really mattered and had an impact to the business.

How have you been doing since the double lung transplant?

The journey has been something. My two fingers and left foot are still numb. My laugh is still coming back. I didn’t speak for almost three months—I needed speech therapy. I even needed to relearn how to walk. It takes a lot of time to recover and I’m still on painkillers. What really helped me was actually working. I wanted to work. Even if my body was recovering, my brain was still functioning the same. During this time, I got to work on simple black box tests and it was so fulfilling. It’s hard to explain, but it kept me away from depression. At the same time, I was the lead for our Access Adobe employee network. I kept thinking how I was going to use this experience to push the network forward and inspire other people.

And during Diwali celebration last year, I remember you were dancing with your oxygen tank. What was going through your head while you dancing?

At that time I was still waiting for a lung match. I was told I had a few months to live unless they found a match and got the transplant. I’ve always loved dancing. I used to teach kids Bollywood dancing. So at that time during Diwali, I just wanted to tell people “don’t let anything stop you,” and I figured I’d go out with a bang with what I had to say. People sometimes limit themselves, and I wanted to show them that you don’t have to.

Now that you’re recovering, are you dancing again?

Yes! I’m restarting it all.

As the lead of Access Adobe in San Jose, what are your goals for 2019?

I want to increase awareness and visibility with those who have disabilities, especially those with invisible disabilities. Without my oxygen tank, many people probably didn’t know about my needs. There are so many disabilities that people don’t see, not to mention mental health. I want to advocate for those people and ensure we have proper work safety and that our products also support these accessibility needs as well.

What’s one word you would use to describe your experience at Adobe?

Amalgamation. My personal and professional journeys all blended together at Adobe.