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Renu Rajani
Renu Rajani

Renu Rajani

Sr Vice President - Citigroup

Citigroup

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My family background
I am based in Bangalore and stay in Indian Institute of Science campus. My family includes my husband (Dr Sanjeev Gupta) and our three children Shalini (1st year at IIT Kanpur), Nikita (Class VIII student in KV IISc), and Virag (Class IV student at KV IISc).

I lost my parents 3 years back. I have my younger brother and family in Shahjahanpur (UP) where I was born and grew up. Apart from my brother, I have one elder sister in Rajasthan (working with LIC), and two younger sisters. My youngest sister is an Architect (Town Planner) and settled in Hyderabad.

I come from a lower middle class background, from a small conservative city, small business family background, and studied despite financial challenges, and have made my way up in career. My parents ensured girls get fair share in education and achieve financial independence.

My in-laws stay in UP, are aged and visit us in Bangalore sometimes. They are constant source of inspiration for us.
Couple of years from now
As of today, I see my plate full handling work-life with a demanding role at work and raising kids. Work role and challenges have grown along-with experience and it has been a great career journey. I expect the same to continue perhaps for 5 more years from now.

Couple of years from now, as I see myself bit more relieved from my responsibilities from home front, I would like to create business which can provide employment and livelihood to less previleged. Our country is full of talented people (not all are previledged to have best of education and upbringing though). I feel proud to see those of us, who are able to contribute our bit to society, apart from our duty to our own family.
Initiative to develop a country
Professionals in India have great opportunity at hand as our country is seeing very exciting times on all fronts - Economic, Political, Industry/business. India is very well poisitioned on world map.

Professionals in India need to tap the opportunity and contribute their talent to raise India's position to make it developed country.

Often time is wasted by people criticizing what country/community/ employer/ family has not given them, rather than seeing opportunity in task at hand and contributing their best in the circumstances. We should learn to stop complaining and do our bit to make our workplace, community, society, and this world a great place to live.

In order to put our best in the opportunity at hand, creativity and learning skills are most important.

Professionals need to uplift ethical standards to ensure Indians command respect and are role models for the world.

We need to act responsibly and ensure sustainability for our Businesses, Communities, and Environment.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
Each one of us is a leader, irrespective of titles. One cant wait to reach a particular level / designation to demonstrate leadership behavior.

Some of the qualities are personal traits, and some are nurtured for specific roles. One can find leaders in all walks of life, and not only at work-place.

Qualities that come to my mind as most essential for leaders to command respect and be role models are - Integrity, Dedication, Humility, Magnanimity, Assertiveness, Fairness, and Creativity. In addition, Openness to ideas and sense of humor are great plus!

Leadership is not about leading your reportees. It is about leading, influencing, commanding, guiding. Each one of us, irrespective of seniority/title have opportunity to demonstrate leadership of various kinds (e.g. through Charisma, Intellect, Expertise in our position, Moral example) in various situations.
More about myself
Would like to touch the topic of diversity and inclusiveness. This is much talked about topic in corporates. Many are going out of way to include higher percentages of women at entry level and to enable them through various critical phases in life to ensure there is enough pool of women at middle/senior levels.

For the women that are at senior level in corporates today, many of us did not have that enabling environment (specially for women in engineering branches), but have come up against the odds.

Point I am making here is enabling environment (at work and at home) goes a long way to have higher percentage of women in senior responsiblity roles. Our societies have not yet moved forward ahead of the pace of development. Each woman who stays and sustains her profession / business does so against odds and lets their work speak for them.
My strongest skill
- Seeing opportunity in work that comes in my way, respecting each opportunity and putting my best into it.
- Continuous learning - through varied job roles / rotations and education/certifications
- Ability to take risks and learn from my mistakes
- Patience and ability to wait to see results from my efforts
- Have my ear to the ground, well connected and aware of how the world around me is changing - whether at home or work!
Thoughts on Education system of our country
Problem with education system in India is lack of consistency. Many of us are previledged to have the best of it, but that does not hold good for masses.

India's education system is in continuous catching up state to serve the requirements of this quickly developing country. for a country like India, education system needs to focus on sustainability of resources of the country to take it into future.

Our education system needs to nurture creativity & problem solving skills of the individual, teach life-skills, and develop a stronger connect of academia-industry.

Finally, education does not only happen in the schools/institution. Each one of us as parents own a duty to inculcate right behaviors and attitudes in our children to make India a great country.
Important lesson learned
Well, in my opinion, every opportunity we address deserves our best attention. Each opportunity poses lessons to learn from. Despite our best, we still fail in some endeavours and we need to learn from those failures as well.
Ensuring success
Personal Development and growth in life for me means a balanced state in multiple roles I play - at work, at family, in my profession, in community, our society, etc. Balanced state is a happy state and it makes one feel more accomplished and happy.

I like to put in my best on all fronts (to the extent I can take it) and have fair share of my responsibilities in each of these areas, rather than over-focusing on one and loosing out on the others.

All this involves continuous prioritisation, juggling act, and appreciation for multiple roles we play in life.
My achievements
- Number of achievements, but one always thinks best is yet to come..

- Having taken all decision pertaining to me myself from a very small age (including determination to go ahead with my choice of partner dispite serious resistence in family) is what makes me proud.
My role model
Frankly, I have not not stuck to one single role model in my life. The choice of role models has changed and evolved as my work/life needs have evolved.

As a kid, being independent is what I was taught and my mother was a great role model.

My "Mother-in-Law" commands great respect in family and her community/ neighbourhood in our small city. She is not a famous person, but for what I consider as my needs for a role model, she fits - her balance, spirituality, attention to family, community, society, make her a great role model for me.
Degree that I recommend
I pursued various degrees/certifications at different times. Apart from these helping in my career, these have made me a very confident person

- As an MBA finance student, I completed CFA and CS (Inter) Certifications around 1990s.

- A US MBA from Purdue landed me a consulting job with KPMG.

- As Supply Chain Consultant with KPMG, I certified myself with APICS (CPIM) certification.

- When my role changed from Consulting to Software Testing /Quality leadership, I got certified as PMP and CSTE.

- As delivery leader with IBM, I certified myself with IBM's Senior Project Manager (DPE/SM) certification that involves putting together work samples and 3 independent board reviews.

- At one point was dealing with German clients and did German "A1" level

- When I took a rotation from IT Business Services to IT Infrastructure services, I certified myself with ITIL v3 certification.

-While working as a Technologist in Bank, I felt knowing banking was important and I certified with CAIIB
Influenced by
- My husband (he was known to me as I was an Engineering student) and I was very isnpired by him. He appreciated my being independent and in all our years together, he has insisted I made my decisions myself.

- Few managers (Specially those who took a longer term view) spent their time in building careers, investing in people and developing skills.

- Of course my mother-in-law (I already made a mention), she continues to be a source of inspiration.
Important decision
- Decision to find my partner myself, early in life, despite initial family resistence
- Decision to stay away from comfort zone and take rotations/changes in career to boraden and deepen my skills
- Decision to let kids pursue what they want and enable that, rather than having my viewpoint about them
Brief description about me
I am Senior VP with Citigroup and handle Global Technology Location strategy, engagement governance and transformation for outsourced work to India based suppliers.

I have overall 23 years experience in IT and Consulting roles with MNCs (IBM, KPMG) and have handled Service lines (Testing, Supply Chain, CRM), Large Account/Sector Delivery Leadership roles in Financial Services and Infrastructure Services delivery.

I believe in people leadership, passion in my job at hand, and continuous learning.

What I am today is result of challenges taken up in life and career so far and learnings from each experience every day. There is no small or big role in my view. We move on to next based on best put up in role at hand.
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