Inspirational Woman: Aahuti Rai | Chief Commercial Officer, Ampersand Health & Partner, Four Points Consulting

Aahuti RaiI’m of Indian origin, entered the UK as a refugee when I was a toddler and grew up in charity and social housing.

My parents didn’t have much in the way of material things, but they gave me things that are evergreen and that I still know today to be the things that I have shaped me and make me happy in life.  They worked hard to educate me even though they themselves hadn’t had the benefit or the means to do it.  They gave me unwavering love and a safe environment and they instilled a sense of self-belief, spirituality and values, which have continued to serve me well to this present day.

Currently I am a Partner at Four Points Consulting (a niche consultancy providing strategy and innovation services to businesses) and a Board member and Health-tech Exec, for a few different tech start-ups including Ampersand Health.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes and no.

I stumbled into my early career with a few strokes of luck and through having a few simple parameters to guide my decision.  At that stage it wasn’t really about choices and pondering, it was about necessity – ensuring that I put my education to good use to build a life for myself that would somehow reward my parents for all the sacrifices they had made.   However, I was fortunate to work for one of the world’s most successful corporates at that time and their leadership development was second to none – so for the next 9 years my career took shape in a thoughtful and structured manner.    Setting up my own business in 2001 was not at all planned however….it was an opportunistic move which paid off. And my most recent move – my 3rd career – into healthtech, has come about through the combination of my restlessness to make social impact, my passion for ‘health’-care, and my view that tech is what will drive the much needed transformation in this pressured sector.  So – very much a planned and intentional move, which is not necessarily how, my career started out.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

That is a big question. Personally, there have been many challenges mainly linked to cultural integration as a result of being a first generation Indian in the UK.  Professionally, it actually feels like things have always worked out for me. But then I am also a half-full type of person so I am not sure I would necessarily dwell on the struggles or challenges anyway, so maybe they were there and I just didn’t see them?   There was always the obvious stuff but nothing unique to me.  Things such as pain points you encounter when growing business; having relationships that bring the most joy but also then having others that you find are an absolute drain on energy; having to pivot the business when the economy crashed in 2001; and, juggling being a mum of two with having a professional career. Growing up I was a victim of racial abuse and severe bullying for 10 years – this experience definitely shaped me.  But if I had to call out one thing, I would say the real low point in my life was when I lost my mother to breast cancer. However, challenges also make me appreciate how blessed I am – aren’t all these things just part of the deal that comes with living life?!?

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I guess it depends on how you measure ‘achievement’?  I’d say its about the enjoyment and learning I have felt in parenting two girls; raising them joyfully with my husband whilst continuing to strengthen our own relationship; and knowing that when it has mattered I have done all that I possibly knew how to do, and could with the intention of both of them become good people who I hope will go onto to do good things in life and for society.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Two things please?  Integrity and Intuition.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Yes I have mentored most of my professional life, and I am a mentee all the time – formally and informally.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Identify and bring awareness to unconscious bias.  That is the silent killer for gender equality.  It is the triggers, thoughts and actions of each person who doesn’t even know that they are doing something that contributes to the problem.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

“You are enough”

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I think I am living my next professional challenge, which is to find a way to make an impact in driving healthcare transformation.   I would hope that with this and all that I choose to do with my time and energy that I can stay true to myself – I don’t think there is any greater achievement to be honest.

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