“Find the right environment, the right opportunity, and the right mentor to support you and to grow you.” -Ketaki Rao
By: Parul Sharma, Product Leader
I’m a product leader, community builder, and advisor to marginalized community-led women entrepreneurs in their mission. I have more than 20 years of experience in building digital products across various industries, including both nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Over the past decade, I have also focused on the environmental and advocacy space. I aspire to be a leader who finds solutions to our planet’s pressing issues, uplifts all communities, and builds equitable societies where everyone can thrive, and that’s what got me excited about the Path to CPO series at Women In Product.
Rashmi Ramesh’s amazing narration of Ketaki Rao’s journey to becoming the CPO of data.ai is incredibly inspiring. My first and foremost takeaway is that Ketaki is simply incredible! I found so many common threads between her journey and mine and gained many valuable tips! For example, I loved how she emphasizes the need to understand the company’s vision, align teams towards it, and stretch yourself to do more (beyond your core products/teams). If you’re seeking inspiration, guidance, or aiming to reach the C-suite level, then this series is perfect for you. Don’t wait further. Just listen to it yourself!
CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER: Ketaki Rao
This episode helped me gain incredible lessons in the C-suite CPO journey. Ketaki talks about the importance of being well-rounded, going wider (by having deep knowledge in areas such as marketing, product, and engineering), and how her startup experience helped her learn all aspects of a business, which proved invaluable in supporting her journey. She also emphasizes the significance of verbal communication skills and acknowledges that her time at Salesforce helped develop these skills.
The first opportunity to become a CPO can be challenging – I loved listening to Ketaki’s thoughts on how having the right mindset, being hungry for success, and staying determined helped her achieve it. Ketaki also talks about the importance of having the right leaders who have faith in you and guide you.
Ketaki is bold, authentic, and superb – I’ve shared bits of her incredible story and a few lessons, but you must listen to the episode yourself!
AND WHAT ABOUT YOU?
- Ketaki talked about how cultural fit is important to her at data.ai. What strategy or approaches can you use to build the right product teams and ensure a culture fit within your organization?
- What skills should you acquire to help position yourself for your next senior management/C-suite role?
- After listening to the episode, what are a few specific actions you can see yourself taking to change the trajectory of your professional journey?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A mission-driven product leader, in the past almost a decade at Sierra Club Parul has managed Sierra Club’s advocacy platform and launched a digital lab initiative for experimentation & innovation. She recently spoke at the NTEN conference on innovation & nonprofits.
Outside of Sierra Club, Parul is an advisor to marginalized community-led women entrepreneurs, serving in the school district. Parul is a mom of two young kids, a wife, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.