Women are risk takers and go-getters — Nivruti Rai

31st Aug 2017
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At the ELEVATE 100 Summit, Nivruti Rai speaks about her journey, her goals and the advice she has for entrepreneurs. 

Bade dukh ke saath pata chalta hai ki iss ki maut ho gayi hai..

Bade dukh ke saath pata chalta hai ki tumhari teesri bhi daughter ho gayi hai..

The first line is an extract from a condolence letter shared at the death of a certain person.

The second line is an extract from the letters Nivruti Rai’s parents received when she was born.

Speaking at the ELEVATE 100 Summit, Nivruti Rai, General Manager, Intel India, and Vice President of the Platform Engineering Group, Intel Corp, enthralled the audience in a fireside chat with Shaili Chopra on Wednesday.

An initiative of the Karnataka Government, ELEVATE 100 identified 100 most promising startups to provide them with the funds or support they need.

Nivruti says, “When I was 12 years old, my mother showed me those letters and I felt really sad. Not for me but for my parents, that they had to go through all this just because I was a girl.”

However, that didn't stop her from pursuing her dreams and dissuade her parents from encouraging her. In fact, the day her mother showed her the letters, Nivruti decided to be an engineer and the best one in the country, which was her father’s dream. “When I was given the role of the president of Intel India, my parents were very happy. I wanted to live my parents’ dream,” she adds.

Breaking the stereotypical perception that women don't take risks, she is a firm believer that women in general, along with herself, are risk takers as long as that adds value. She says, “If you give me a challenge, and if the risk is not death itself, I will dive head first into it.”

It bothers her when someone says women lack mathematical thinking; she gives the example of the scientist, Marie Curie, who was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.

Nivruti Rai at the ELEVATE 100 Summit

Defining innovation for entrepreneurs at the summit, she says, “What succeeds is when you start working on your own problem, put new technology to it, create value generating ideas — that’s what innovation is to me.”

Nivruti stressed on the need for a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs to help them work and add value to the society. Regarding this, she says, “In 2017, at Intel, we made a commitment to spend $14 million dollars on women-related businesses and hope to increase it to $20 million by 2020.”

In this digital ecosystem, she is trying to drive connectivity through new technologies like 5G and autonomous driving. She says, “I feel passionate about avoiding deaths on the roads. We are building an algorithm and it proves that 90 percent of the collisions can be avoided.”

The translation of data to value added information will add to the GDP figures of the country. Her goal is to bring autonomous driving and technology to India primarily to prevent deaths/collisions, and to enable 5G like technology.

Having spent 26 years with Intel, half of the which were spent in the US, she feels positive about India scaling up and leading the digital revolution. “Which country can boast of having 95 percent of its population holding a unique digital identity? India is a game changer in the space.”

A soft-spoken and emotional person, Nivruti feels her company (Intel) has made her stronger with time. She believes in having a transceiver like chip in her ears to filter out unnecessary thoughts and opinions.

Many women participants at the Summit pointed out that in the corporate world, women leaders are often expected to be less feminine. They spoke about how women shouldn’t be forced to hold back if they wanted to dress up.

Nivruti, for instance, recounted how during a session at a school, she was shocked to hear girls say that they didn’t want to work at Intel.

“They said that Intel was a drab and boring place where they wouldn’t have the space to be women. That’s when I realised that I should be myself if I wanted people to come and work for me. Now, if I want to dress up, or wear bling and go to a meeting, I do that. If it distracts someone, it is their problem,” she said. She added that the pressure on women to prove themselves is much more in male-dominated professions.

Nivruti advises all entrepreneurs to firmly believe in and work on the idea which will create value. “Create your network and leverage the network. True innovation is about being alert, iterating your idea well, and using technology to create value from it.”

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