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Jyoti Nair

Executive Director, Strategy, Global Technology Infrastructure

Many people say that they want to do their part to make the world a better place, but Jyoti Nair blends environmentalism into every part of her lifestyle. Her house runs on solar energy. Her family carpools, supports local farmers, tries to only buy goods and products produced within 100 kilometers of their home, and composts their organic waste. She's even experimenting with treating and reusing grey water in her garden.

For Jyoti, every part of her daily life is based on the idea that humans have not inherited the earth from their elders but rather borrowed it from their children.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?

As I get older, I have realized that your life if your responsibility and if you don't ask for something, you won't get it. Whatever it is, ask for it. Of course, it's quite possible that somebody will say no, but if you don't ask you'll never know if someone intended to give it to you.

I try to pass that on to the people I mentor, especially young women who are often so hesitant to ask for anything. They often wait for somebody to recognize them and offer something to them, and now I finally understand that is not how the world works. It's like this fun story I heard when I was younger. Two young guys are sitting by the roadside enjoying life and not doing anything and they see an elephant and its trainer walk by. One of the guys asks the trainer for the elephant, but his friend says, "Are you nuts? You don't know that trainer. There is no reason for you to have an elephant." His friend replies, "You know what, if he says yes, I get an elephant and if not, all I lose is a couple of words."

What path—and decisions—brought you to this point in your career?

I have been working for more than 25 years, and have worked in all kinds of businesses and industries—an Indian e-commerce startup, an American telecom, an American internet search engine, and even my own start-up!

Before this job, I was working at a startup, and attended a presentation by the company's Global Chief Information Officer. It was a real turning point in my life. She said that she was not from the banking industry, but from the healthcare field. It was great to see that she came from a different industry and was still able to obtain the top job in financial services. That motivated me to expand my search for the next step in my career.

What groups or communities do you volunteer with?

I co-chair an initiative in our India offices that ensures that our employees living with disability thrive at the company and have equal opportunities to advance here. I also sponsor a technology program that pairs our employees with local nonprofits to help them address organizational needs using our teams' technology skills. Last year, for example, a team created an app that converts sign language to speech and vice-versa, and we've helped a nonprofit that assists women to stay in the workforce.