Joining the tech industry was not part of Rashim Mogha’s plans. She was studying to be a doctor when she fell sick for months and missed the opportunity to enroll into medical school.
“I was depressed for months and that’s when my mother encouraged me to take the scholarship exam for a three-year computer programme that NIIT had just launched. I received the scholarship, joined NIIT, and life changed forever,” she recalls.
Fast forward 15 years, and Rashim is Head of AAU Products at Automation Anywhere, an influencer, startup adviser, global keynote speaker, founder of eWOW and a No. 1 Amazon best-seller.
She has also previously led enablement teams for companies like VMware, Oracle, and Amazon Web Services.
Joining Automation Anywhere, a global leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), was a natural progression as Rashim had the necessary knowledge to develop solutions for a startup environment and scale them up.
“I lead the development of education products to help accomplish Automation Anywhere’s mission to educate over one million individuals on developing and using robotic process automation to prepare for the jobs of the future. This goal was very appealing to me because I believe RPA is what the future of work will become. There is a need to upskill and reskill the workforce to maintain momentum in this ever-evolving industry,” she says.
Will automation take away jobs?
As widely-travelled public speaker, Rashim throws light on a question asked frequently: will automation take away our jobs?
“The reality is that none of us are doing the jobs that we likely prepared for in college. With the pace at which technology is evolving, our jobs keep evolving. When I was growing up, I frequently heard that computers are going to take away jobs. However, today the reality is that there are more jobs than there were ever before. So, I don’t believe that automation is going to replace workforce or take away jobs,” she says.
Rashim believes that automation takes away manual and repetitive processes, freeing up workers, whether they are men or women, and gives them the opportunity to design creative solutions to solve real-world problems.
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Empowering women to become leaders
In November 2018, Rashim also launched the eWOW initiative: Empowered Women of the World, an organisation designed to provide women with the framework to be successful at the workplace.
“At eWOW, I believe that every woman is a leader in her own way – all she needs is an intellectual platform that can help her navigate the path. The eWOW platform offers Alexa skills, podcasts, various online and in-person events, and leadership workshops,” she adds.
The eWOW podcast now has an audience in over 31 countries.
Last year was also a year of reckoning for this woman in tech who won four major awards, including the 2019 Women in IT Awards Silicon Valley.
It was also a fillip for women who wanted to climb to top positions within the tech industry. Rashim points out that the low numbers of women in tech are because of socio-economic issues.
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“The discrimination starts even before a girl is born. We start buying pink clothes and dolls for girls, and blue clothes and trucks for boys. We teach our girls to be perfect and boys to be risk takers. And as they grow, the gap continues to expand. Assertive women leaders are labelled as aggressive, bossy, and hard to work with while assertive men leaders become role models,” she says.
The scene, she asserts, is even worse in the tech industry.
“Women are stereotyped as non-technical, and their development skills are questioned, which often shakes their self-confidence. The reality is that businesses are missing out on creating compelling global solutions by not having diversity at decision-making levels, as women’s perspectives are time and time again missed. For example, the health app released by Apple in 2015 did not take into account women’s reproductive cycles. It is essential to bring diversity in the technology industry to create equal solutions and drive the industry forward.”
She is emphatic about women investing in identifying their superpower, building their personal brand, finding sponsors, and learning how to navigate work politics to be successful.
“We think that we will get our due without telling people what that ‘due’ is. We do our research, take our time to assess all the pros and cons of a potential job, and sometimes take a little too long to prepare and ask for the promotion,” she says.
She outlines these and other steps in her book, Fast-Track Your Leadership Career.
Solidarity in sisterhood
Rashim says the important thing to remember is that there are opportunities for everyone, and you don’t have to wait to be a senior leader to support other women.
“You can support other women by opening your network to them, by recommending them for a position, and by being a cheerleader of their ideas. Showing your support can be as simple as liking and sharing a post or success update on Linkedin and building a tribe. Together, we are stronger,” she says.
And to all women, she has one piece of pertinent advice. “To all women, I would like to say - take risks, say yes to opportunities, and, as you climb the ladder, don’t forget to give back.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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