Seema Lakhani is a Canadian businesswoman and executive currently serving as the Head of Wattpad Labs, the division of Wattpad responsible for content development and licensing. She is a media and entertainment industry leader with over 20 years of experience.
Not a lot is known about the early life of Seema Lakhani, but she has spoken out in interviews and guest appearances about how passionate she is about creativity. When she was younger, she didn’t have a clear passion for the tech industry.
She competed in math competitions, but her favorite subjects were creativity-based subjects such as drama and English. She enjoyed computer science, technology, and related subjects, but they didn’t appear to resonate with her as much as creative fields. Lakhani ultimately chose to go to university for a business degree, because it seemed to keep things more open for her to follow creative pursuits as well.
She ended up landing her dream job with Wattpad by merging creativity and tech. She says she discovered early in her career that embracing technology allowed her to do more in her creative pursuits as well.
After completing her education, Seema Lakhani began her career in the media and entertainment industry, working in various production and development roles at leading Canadian television and film production companies. She then moved on to senior executive roles in the media and technology industries, including as Vice President of Content at a leading Canadian digital media company, and as Senior Vice President of Business Development at a global technology company.
She worked as a Management Consultant for Monitor Group from 2007 to 2008. Then she supported the GTA start-up ecosystem at one of Toronto’s most prominent tech innovation hubs with MaRS Discovery Division. In this position, she worked with entrepreneurs to develop go-to-market strategies, business plans, valuation models, investor pitches, competitive analyses to validate their market and business opportunity. She also provided guidance and direction to entrepreneurs in the consumer internet space, to service over 300 start-up clients.
She is the co-founder of PastFuturePresent and developed the new start-up in the digital gifting and registry space with two other co-founders. She’s a founding board member of APM Canada since 2017 and was a board member of the Alumnae Theatre Company from 2012 to 2016.
In 2011, she began working for Torstar Digital and held several roles in her nearly three years there. She ran the three-year strategy process for Torstar Digital and its portfolio properties. Then she was the General Manager for ShopCatch, a new entrepreneurial venture that focus on a retail mobile application. Lakhani built the ShopCatch business – growing the user base from 15,000 to 60,000 in a matter of two months, developing a US growth strategy, determining product direction, managing and growing the team and refining the business model.
She then took on the role of Director of Strategy and New Ventures. Here she worked directly with the President of Torstar Digital, as a member of the leadership team, to help shape the strategy and direction of Torstar Digital and its portfolio businesses. She also ran the Strategy & New Ventures team to help develop and manage the innovation team. She also led corporate development efforts for Torstar Digital, including identifying opportunities, engaging with entrepreneurs, and structuring acquisition, investment, and partnership agreements.
In 2018, Seema Lakhani joined Wattpad, the global multi-platform entertainment company, as Head of Wattpad Labs, where she leads the company’s content development and licensing efforts. She is responsible for identifying and developing new stories and formats to be licensed and produced across various platforms.
In her nearly 10 years with Wattpad, she has also held many roles. Starting as the Head of Strategic Initiatives, she was able to implement her creativity and strategy-building techniques to help grow the business model for early stages of the startup.
She then became a product manager and led cross-functional teams of developers and designers to work on various product improvements that helped grow the user base from 20 million to over 45 million worldwide. From there, she became Head of Product and drove a strategy that helped Wattpad from 45 million to 80 million-plus monthly users worldwide, among many other achievements.
Under her leadership, Wattpad grew the product management team from zero to 10+ high-performing, well-supported product managers and product leaders.
In 2017, she was founded and chaired the Diversity and Inclusion committee at Wattpad, championing efforts around improving the experience for employees from marginalized communities. She continued to be a spokesperson for diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in tech, not just at Wattpad alone. She Drove significant improvements in engagement of marginalized communities at Wattpad, influencing the Toronto tech community’s approach to DEI. She implemented transparent career ladders, salary bands, and promotion process, affinity groups, gender-neutral bathrooms, code of conduct, improved leave policies, anti-oppression training, annual D&I survey.
What advice does she give others when it comes to their careers? Lakhani says: “Be careful with advice. Nobody is better suited to know what is the best decision for you than you. You can’t replicate somebody else’s context and they can’t fully understand yours. Learning to trust yourself, especially in times of pressure, is an important part of growth.”
Seema Lahkani’s exact net worth is not known.
Throughout her career, Seema Lakhani has demonstrated her ability to lead and manage complex content development and licensing operations. She has a track record of driving business performance and delivering results and has played a key role in several large and successful content licensing and production deals.