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Fairygodboss of the Week: Raji Arasu | Fairygodboss
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Fairygodboss of the Week: Raji Arasu
Courtesy of Raji Arasu
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To be successful in today's marketplace, technology companies must evolve, grow, and embrace new ways of delivering products. That's why Raji Arasu, SVP, Intuit Platform, is constantly learning and networking with other technology leaders. "Disrupt yourself," our Fairygodboss of the Week says. "Allow yourself to fail as you continue on your path to growth by exposing yourself to new ways."

Fairygodboss of the Week: Raji Arasu

SVP, Intuit Platform

San Francisco, California

Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?

I currently serve as the SVP, Intuit Platform, which means that I drive the strategy and execution for the core central technologies powering Intuit’s products.

Prior to joining Intuit, I served as chief technology officer and vice president of Product and Technology for eBay subsidiary StubHub, and for 10 years held a variety of leadership roles at eBay in the engineering organization, including vice president of Technology for eBay's Managed Marketplaces, where I was responsible for building and scaling web services like seller and buyer payments, shipping, customer care, fraud, and risk.

Now, in addition to my role at Intuit, I’m also an advisory board member for Code.org and the CTO Forum, and I serve on the board of directors at NIC Inc.

What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?

At Intuit, our technology journey is challenging, complex but exciting. We are moving our applications to AWS from our private data centers. We are also applying cloud and other open source technologies around data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help customers make more money or minimize work is an incredible new chapter in our journey. At Intuit, I am also very proud of our culture where, we savor our rich history and background while having the tenacity and perseverance to disrupt, transform and innovate on behalf of our customers.

What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?

Senior technology roles these days are not just about consistent execution but also about disrupting status quo—shaping the vision and leading transformation. In my prior job, as CTO of StubHub, meeting business goals while transforming the platform, process, people, and product for the future was required for a subsidiary company with high growth. To disrupt and transform, it required me to learn evolving trends and patterns by networking with other leaders in the industry, widen my perspectives, and bring my organization along on the journey.

I continue to put these skills to practice at Intuit. At Intuit, I lead a central team who is responsible for the company’s core platform and services. While my immediate responsibility is to deliver flawlessly, it is also important to anticipate and identify the future needs of the business. In addition to getting an external perspective, connecting with the customer is another great way to identify future strategies and product experiences. Intuit is passionate in its belief that customer-driven innovation allows us to deliver for the present while continually reinventing ourselves for the future.

Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?

Many years ago, my old mentor was my Fairygodboss, and I learned a lesson from her that inspired me to want to give back in the same way. I was an engineering manager just a few months into a new job when I got a call from our daycare – it was 6 p.m.,  and my 4-year-old son was the last kid there, waiting to be picked up. I experienced deep guilt and remorse—to the point that I was ready to quit my job. I sought out my mentor and was candid with her. She empathized with my struggles and offered suggestions to help me manage my time, energy, and family.

“We want you here. We love what you’re doing,” she said. Hearing that validation, empathy, and support from someone who was at least two levels above me made all the difference and inspired my husband and me to develop coping techniques to achieve that balance. Now, I try to pass on the lessons and wisdom I’ve learned during my journey to the women I have the privilege to work with every day.

What do you do when you're not working?

I prioritize quality time with my family. Some of my best memories are of the regular vacations that we take as a family.

If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?

Michelle Obama

Lightning Round:

What is your karaoke song?

"Summer Nights" from Grease

What is your favorite movie?

Coco

What book would you bring with you on a desert island?

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?

Shoes and more shoes

What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?

I have three tips:

1. Grow and invest in your network: You are part of a larger ecosystem and a big part of your career growth is your network, for both education and opportunities.

2. Be aware of technology trends: Develop a learning mindset and continue to sharpen your skills.

3. Push outside of your comfort zone: Allow yourself to fail as you continue on your path to growth by exposing yourself to new ways. Disrupt yourself.

Why do you love where you work?

At Intuit, we have a mission to power prosperity around the world. As a technologist, the immense potential to use new machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies in service of that mission is one of the most exciting prospects in front of us.

I’m proud that our company has 30% of U.S. technical roles filled by women. We have amazing initiatives like Technical Women at Intuit, which recently launched a US pilot of our Intuit Again program, a 16-week paid returnship for mid-career professionals who have been out of the workforce.

We also have some amazing role models and many strong female leaders like Laura Fennell, Cece Morken, Marianna Tessel and Mamie Jones who lead complex and critical product lines while continuing to build organizations for the future.

Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.

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