“If you don’t fit into the frame, especially for women, that people have in their minds, you have to come and break that framework,” says Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and VP, Intel Foundry Services.
With a creative mind that loves number crunching and as a self-proclaimed risk-taker, Nivruti Rai has recently been featured among the five global women business leaders chosen by the Leading Edge. The Leading Edge is an initiative launched by the Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders to celebrate and amplify the work of women who are fostering economic growth and social change.
Nivruti’s story exemplifies how women in technology leadership roles can break barriers and shape economies. Read the excerpts below from the video interview conducted for Leading Edge to learn more.
What do you love about your job?
I have always loved numbers and mathematics, loved information coming out of data. The ability that technology has to create value for humanity, for people and saving lives, or improving the quality of life. I feel, isn’t that what evolution is?
What’s exciting about technology and your industry right now?
The belief of the analysts is, adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) will increase the global GDP by as much as 26 percent.
What is one of the reasons for such a large economic boost?
Automation, industrial robotics, and AI have created a level playing field for men and women. Women can equally work in factories and industries like men because of the advent and adoption of technologies like these. That is what artificial intelligence can do.
What was a pivotal moment for your growth?
Around 10-12 years ago, my team was building a product and we made a little mistake. Anybody who was a somebody was getting so upset that we made a mistake. They felt they shouldn’t have given this responsibility to my team in India. And, it was such a difficult time because significant revenue was hinging on this product.
That incident actually prepared me for bigger and bigger battles. My success started from there and also taught me a lesson that there’s no problem that cannot be solved. If you can define a problem, then you can come up with a solution. So, it made me hungry. It made me ready, and it made me fearless.
Tell us about your creative side?
So, it started early—my desire for designing and creating. I actually design for myself and I’ll give you one example. I embroidered the city of London’s skyline with gold thread in a very dark blue-green kind of sari. It came out amazing. I often do that. When I travel, it’s like a conversation starter, I break the ice with that.
What’s a myth you would like to bust?
So, one myth I would like to bust about women is oftentimes people believe that women are not risk-takers. Also, if somebody is interested or leverages the creative side of their brain, they cannot be good in mathematics. I’m both. I’m a huge risk-taker. So, I have the logic and the creative part of my brain both working in turbo mode.
What do you wish people would ask you about more?
Ask me more about the challenges I’ve faced – how did I solve them? I’ve bruised my knees and elbows. I don’t want others to fall. I want to share recipes that people can leverage and avoid a pitfall or two.
What’s your recipe for success?
- Make yourself heard: If you feel that your voice is not that loud, there are ways to work around. Stand up, increase your volume by using your hands. Speak louder and bend forward. Let your voice come closer to the people that you are talking to. This has helped me tremendously.
- Be empathetic and inclusive of others: Step back. Try to understand the differences and be inclusive of people. Somebody who, you know, is not speaking much, ask them a question, “Do you have a suggestion or an idea?” Or, for somebody who’s speaking a lot, “Can you pause for a moment so that, you know, person X, Y, Z could speak?”
- Don’t take mistakes personally: Oftentimes we make mistakes at work. Do not take those mistakes as something that is wrong about you. It’s like, I overcooked the pizza! It doesn’t make me a bad cook. It just happened. Know that these are the 10 steps that you had to take, and one was wrong. Let’s learn from it and fix it.
What’s your edge?
My edge is that I’m a technologist, and I know technology is the cheapest way to help people. I’m a woman and nurturing and caring comes easy to me.
At Intel, Nivruti continues to use her voice, position, and power to promote digitalization in India, and strongly believes that AI and ML will play a key role in bridging the gender gap. These next-gen technologies will create a level playing field for men and women to “do wonderful”.
Ready to break the framework as a woman in tech and create equal opportunities for all? Discover opportunities at Intel India today.