Rajashree V. Rao

Cues and Views

Transformative leader Rajashree Rao, in brief.

Rajashree V. Rao

Home: Eden Prairie, MN.  Age: 50 plus younger and wiser.  Birthplace: The most beautiful place on earth, Kerala, India.  Profession: Information technology.  Organization: Ameriprise Financial. Title: Vice President, Application Development.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Significant other: My husband Madan.  Alma mater: Bharathidasan University.  Currently pursuing an Executive MBA at St. Thomas University, MN.  Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam.

Current project: Empowering women to leadership and working to build an authentic organization.  Recent recognition: If you are leading, I don’t worry! (Ameriprise Chairman & CEO award for excellence).  Recent professional development: Pursuing an Executive MBA.  Latest accomplishment: Becoming a member of CHIEF and returning to school.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Leaving all I know behind to come to the United States, with no more than a leather jacket and a suitcase of clothes.  Hobbies: Cooking different cuisines; knitting, playing the veena (the oldest string instrument).  Recent travel or adventure: The beautiful island of Kawaii, for our 25th wedding anniversary.  Last book read: Discover Your True North, by Bill George.

Personality profile: Ambivert.  What one word or phrase would your closest friend use to describe you? One-of-a-kind.  Moral compass: The Bhagavat Gita.  How do you define a perfect friendship? A balance between listening and supporting.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Equality and mutual respect.  What is your greatest joy? My two wonderful sons. What is your greatest fear? The world losing a humanitarian touch.  What is your guilty pleasure? Dark chocolates.  What natural talent have you neglected? Music and marketing. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Doctors.  

What three emojis best describe you? 🎼💛👊.

What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Travel.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Earning my MBA.  No room for anything else at present.  How do you relieve stress? Meditation and deep breathing.  What is your go-to workout? An outdoor walk.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Right weather and incredible nature.

What was your favorite college course? Self-Awareness & Leadership.  What book have you repeatedly read? The Bhagavad Gita.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? You’ve Got Mail.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? LIFE IS SHORT.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? My paternal grandmother.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? Never give up. What’s the best advice you received in your career? Be authentic.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Wearable technology.  What is your favorite app? Calm.  What is your go-to source of news and information? NPR and Facebook.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Within.  What company or organization do you most admire? Apple.  What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? 9/11.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? My crucibles.

What is your big idea? Every human is unique and needs to be treated the same, irrespective of the differences.  That will bring peace around the world.  What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? A greater number of women in leadership roles.  What change would you like to see in the world? The peaceful co-existence of all species on earth.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Give more than you take.  What widely held belief do you reject? It’s not for me.  What mega-trend most excites you? Virtual reality.  What mega-trend most concerns you? The fact that today people are more connected through social media, portraying how happy they are when, in fact, many are depressed.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Tough Choices.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Meg Ryan.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Mother Teresa.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A journalist.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? Sand from the home where I was born.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? With family and writing a gratitude page. What advice would you give your younger self? Live for yourself.  What day in your life would you choose to re-live? The day I met my husband.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? My teenage years.

Personal mission: To empower more minority women in leadership.  Personal motto: Be your best.  Favorite quote: “With a small shake we can change the world” (Mahatma Gandhi).  Desired epitaph: Lived a hard life successfully.

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