By Vanshik Sharma
Born in a small village in Kerala, Sathi moved to Chennai when she was ten months old. With her father being a small-time businessman and her mother a homemaker, she was motivated by her hardworking parents to become a role model for others.
“It was because of my parents that I have achieved everything in my life. My parents have brought me up to where I am today. As we are three daughters, they took the mocking as challenges which pushed us to work hard and be independent.” she expressed.
Sathidevi S Raj, CIO at Randstad India, has had a life that was not free of hardships and challenges, but she steadily broke the prejudices and barriers to set examples. With the timely help of her elder sister, Sathi overcame the financial constraints for pursuing her tech studies and credits her for letting the path open for her success and growth in this field. “I thank my sisters and parents for always being a pillar of support in both my personal and professional life”, she said.
Medical aspirant to Math graduate to becoming an IT specialist
“IT was not in the plan, but the excitement to try and learn something new drew me closer to this field and I never regretted this decision”, said Sathi. Visioning herself in a white coat at the age of 18, she redirected her dream from becoming a gynecologist to an expert in the IT world. Looking back to her undergrad days, she says, “I am very thankful to all those friendly suggestions and pieces of advice that enabled the first steps towards NIIT”, which has ultimately succeeded her to become a disciplined and credible CIO that she is today.
Stating the turning point in her career, she shares the job offer from the Directorate of Income Tax (Systems), Mumbai opened the door for exciting challenges and opportunities. In 1998, landing in a new place with her two-month-old toddler, she faced all hurdles head-on with the love and support from her family, especially her husband Mr. Sreeraj. Describing this as the “stepping stone” for her IT career, she said, “I gained enormous experiences and learned about professional ethics”. After a long period of procrastination in her native city Chennai, she pursued further studies to master computer applications while managing her family and job.
Intending to challenge herself, she made a bold decision to quit Income Tax to take up more challenging roles in the Software Technology field. To sharpen her management skills, she completed the Advanced Management Programme at IIM Bangalore in 2012, resulting in her standing as one of the most promising IT leaders in the corporate industry today.
The Persona of Leader
She states her school days as “the golden period of her life”. Sathi was always in the limelight for her incredible academic results. She had her first taste of leadership when she got elected as the School Pupil Leader. Her accolades did not restrict only to academics, Sathi was also a Basketball Captain who led her team to several rewarding games. “I couldn’t continue as I wanted to focus on my studies, but if given a chance, I would like to play again”, she said.
Sathi states, “I am always blessed to have been mentored and guided by the right people in every step of life and I am forever grateful for all those constant support systems”. While speaking about her leadership and her adventure as a CIO, she sees the MD and CEO of Randstad India, Mr Paul Dupuis as a mentor for encouraging her to make the right decisions at the right time.
Learn and Give
“I strongly believe that when you learn, you acquire knowledge, but when you share that knowledge, you get wisdom,” says Sathi. She understands the significance of sharing her knowledge with her juniors and always incites her team to take on challenging tasks and become the strength of the organization.
“One who creates a successor is a true leader” is her belief. Sharing her wisdom, Sathi says that during the pandemic tech-savvy leaders should build the IT organizations that are becoming the digital hub and make it more accessible for the common public. “We must proactively articulate and integrate the digital effects”. she commented.
As a woman leader in IT, Sathi also empowers women for fair competition and urges them to discover themselves in IT. She encourages women to unleash themselves and come out of their comfort zones. She says, “the key to success is striking the right balance between professional and personal life” and that she still works in bettering herself in this regard and is looking forward to a bright and peaceful tomorrow.
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