“Believing in yourself is your best shot at success”
The goal of Ada Lovelace Day is to create new role models for girls and women in male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM fields. Ada Lovelace Day – October 15, 2013 – is about blogging and sharing stories of women, from engineers to scientists, from technologists to mathematicians. Who has inspired you?
Over the last couple of years, several technical women have demonstrated innovation and leadership that exposed them to the public sphere, one of whom is Rajani Ramanathan. Rajani is the COO of Technology and Products at salesforce.com. With salesforce.com for 13 years, she has been part of the core team that delivered the bleeding edge technology behind salesforce.com’s pioneering array of products that power the social enterprise. She has championed innovative and efficient software development methodologies using agile principles, which leads to providing a total quality customer experience.
As the company continues to enjoy its explosive growth, part of her charter is to ensure that the employees equally grow and get to do the best work of their careers. One of her pet projects even got a shout out in this Harvard Business Review post! She is also the executive sponsor for salesforce.com’s Women in Technology employee network, focused on supporting and advancing technical women and encouraging girls to develop STEM skills. In her 13 years at salesforce.com, she has etched out a career path that is an inspiration to many at salesforce.com and beyond, which is why I wanted to profile her today.
Rajani first dabbled with computers in high school, through college, and in her initial work years. However, she only moved to a career in technology after seven years in the workforce. Once she moved to Silicon Valley, she decided to go back to school and fell in love with Computer Science (CS).
Unlike the other women in tech who are in lead positions, Rajani carved her path without getting a Bachelor’s degree in CS at an Ivy League, which makes her all the more relatable. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and an MBA. At just 23 she had already founded two companies, one specializing in marketing feasibility studies, and the other on corporate space planning and interior design. “My very mosaic experience, including in Sales and Marketing helped me become a very strong business leader and I was able to bring this broad perspective when I moved to Technology”, she says.
So, what contributes to her success? Rajani enjoys solving hard problems. At every stage she has actively attempted to understand how she could bring her unique skills to organizational challenges – even if it was not a part of her job description.
Rajani also has advice to young women everywhere – “Have belief in your own abilities. You owe it to yourself to be intentional about your continuous development and career growth. I live by this personal credo- Life is a journey, a journey that shapes your life. So live and enjoy every moment like it is your last”.