Rashim Mogha: A Woman in Technology Profile
Growing up, Rashim Mogha was very well educated. She went to good schools, explored studies that piqued her curiosity, and filled her mind with inspiration and determination. But for Rashim, a young Indian woman of royal lineage, that education came with a cost. Her future would unfold with permission from a husband she did not know in an arranged marriage she did not want.
In declining the arranged marriage, Rashim knew she was crushing her family’s expectations and the cultural norms she had been raised to accept. But she just couldn’t fathom being happy in a future where so much control was turned over to someone she didn’t even know. To realize her full self, Rashim embarked on a learning journey that began with leaving the safety of her homeland and moving to the United States to work in technology — a field she had already studied and worked within.
Since her move across the world, Rashim’s journey hasn’t stopped. Now an author, technologist, leader, mother, and wife, Rashim lives life on her own terms. That’s a lifestyle she wants for everyone.
“When I came to the United States, being a woman in technology and being a woman of color, I had to face many challenges,” Rashim says. “That's when I realized that while talent is equally distributed, opportunities are not. For me, my mission wasn’t only about adapting to working in the US. It was something much bigger. My mission became creating a world of equality for all, where it does not matter your gender, your race, or your cultural heritage — a world where everyone has equal opportunities.“
Following that transformational awakening, Rashim has made every professional decision about getting closer to her vision. She has seen firsthand that what companies say and what they do are not always aligned. This recognition has made her very astute in her career choices, seeking alignment not only with her technical and leadership skills but also with her personal values. Along the journey, she has learned some very important lessons about feeding curiosity and living to her full potential.
Lean on your support structure
While Rashim has paved her own path, she didn’t have to go it alone. She credits her mother, and an incredibly supportive husband, for enabling her dreams.
”My biggest cheerleader was and still is my mom,” she says. “I still remember the day when I had the ticket to move to the United States in my hand, pacing our roof in India. My flight was in the evening, but I was still awaiting the formal visa stamp. My mom asked, ‘You're pacing. What's going on?’ I said, ‘I think I'm leaving for the US tonight.’ And my mom says, ‘Okay, and for how long?’ I said, ‘I'm not coming back.’ The very next thing my mom said was, ‘Okay, then let's go get you a pressure cooker because you don't know how to cook without one.’”
When Rashim and her husband eventually started a family, her mother moved in to help. Twelve years later, she is still an integral part of the family.
“I never had a reason to slow down for anything because I had the support of my mom and my husband,” Rashim says. “At one point, my husband and I had to make a decision. We both had opportunities at the same time. He could go fast-paced in his career, or he could slow down and let me go fast-paced in mine. Without any hesitation, he stepped back and gave me the freedom to run."
The support she had at home is one of the reasons Rashim feels compelled to help others. Just like her mother was there for her, Rashim wants to be there for her children, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.
“We often talk about our family circle of trust — me, my husband, my daughter, my son, and my mom,” Rashim says. “Home is a safe space to have candid conversations where we learn to disagree with respect and to support each other. But I also want my children exposed to all kinds of opportunities. I have made it a point, whenever possible, to take both my kids with me when I'm speaking. I want my son and my daughter to see what their mom does and what she believes in. And I want them to see women leaders outside of school and their immediate community. I want them to be inspired by others.”
Her desire to support others is also why, in 2018, Rashim took a bold step toward expanding her influence from within a single organization where she worked to the industry as a whole. Her first leadership book, Fast-Track Your Leadership Career, aimed to provide women with a template for nurturing their ambitions.
“So many books I read were 200 or 300 pages with one aha moment,” Rashim explains. “My background in project management and development pushed me to create a roadmap that others could follow that would be more complete.“
The book started many conversations, but to really make a difference, Rashim needed a forum to move the ideas from the book into action. That was the inspiration behind the eWOW (empowered Women of the World) initiative, which Rashim founded to empower women around the globe through educational forums and a podcast listened to in over 50 countries. Her efforts were recently recognized in an important way. She was named one of the Top DEI Leader of 2021.
Define success on your own terms
Success is not defined by the society we live in. It's defined by what makes us happy and where we want to be. If she didn’t believe that, Rashim would never have come to the United States, led her technology field, and become a leadership visionary. Rashim’s big wish for her children and for those she mentors is for them to be happy and define success in a way that feels right to each of them as individuals.
Make continuous learning a priority
No matter how busy life becomes, Rashim always finds a way to make herself a priority. Every day, she takes 30 minutes just for herself to learn or explore something. She finds breaking down big goals into achievable bite-sized actions helps her stay focused.
“When I launched the podcast, I didn't know anything about podcasting,” she says. “I learned it all as I went. When I started doing videos, I learned how to edit my videos. When I moved into robotic process automation, I had to learn about that. People always come to me and explain a big goal like, ‘I want to be AWS certified.’ But then they explain all the real obstacles to making that happen. I encourage them to break down the 12-month project of prepping for a certification and start with the first step, like taking an introduction to cloud computing class. I truly believe that investing in yourself is always worth it.”
For Rashim, choosing to join Skillsoft brought all of her talents and values together in a way that felt complete. “When I was looking for my next role, I wanted to work for a company where my personal values aligned with the goals of the company,” she says. “It is rewarding being in an organization that understands that people are multifaceted, they have lives beyond work, and they bring their experiences to create holistic solutions for the company. When combined with our mission as an organization to help everyone who wants to learn explore their talents, I knew it was the perfect match.”
Your vulnerability feeds your strength
Because Rashim lives in Silicon Valley, the community where she finds herself is often all about the image you put forward. For her, it took time to find the right balance between the expectations people had and who she was on the inside.
“I'm a crier,” Rashim says. “When I'm frustrated, I cry. That's how my emotions come out. When we cry at work, why is the first thing that we search on Google afterward, ‘How do I not cry at work?’ I’m also passionate, assertive, and very driven. People sometimes have a problem with that. I remember one time my manager was leading a career conversation, and she said to me, ‘What's up with you Indian women being aggressive?’”
Bias still surprises Rashim, but she’s come to accept herself fully. When conversations like the one she describes happen, she no longer hesitates to point out the inherent bias being shown and tries to redirect the dialog in a healthier manner. But Rashim is human, and that means vulnerability sometimes sneaks in.
“I still remember a time at a conference when I was scheduled to go on stage,” she recalls. “For some reason, I had not had a haircut for the longest time, and I just didn’t feel like myself. So I went in, and I just got a haircut that was short. I came back and met one of my team members, and she said, ‘Rashim, you shouldn't have cut your hair. You don’t look like a woman leader.’ That's when I realized people owning ourselves is hard sometimes. I’m a no-makeup, take-me-as-I-am leader. That makes me no less effective than one who spends a lot of time perfecting their hair. I got on stage, and I wowed the audience. The worry my colleague had about how I came across, it’s all too pervasive in how we judge ourselves.”
In parting, Rashim shares a personal journal entry: "I'm valuable, knowledgeable, and innovative. I'm successful, and I'm confident. I'm heard, seen, and valued."
In those quiet moments when self-doubt starts to seep in, remind yourself of Rashim’s words. Like her, you are worthy, you are valuable, and you are innovative.
About Rashim Mogha
Rashim is a thought leader, best-selling author, speaker, technologist and a business leader. Yet none of those descriptors fully capture her influence. Named one of the Top DEI Leaders of 2021, Rashim doesn’t only work hard, she provides the foundation others need to be their best.
Her best-selling book Fast-Track Your Leadership Careerprovides women a template for nurting their ambitions. Her ideas on leadership, innovation, women in technology, and enablement strategies have also appeared in publications including Forbes, Association for Talent Development (ATD), and Thrive Global.
Rashim is also the founder of eWOW (empoweredWomen of the World)—an intellectual platform that empowers leaders to discover, visualize and actualize their success. Her work with eWOW includes a podcast that is listened to in over 50 countries.
In addition to her award for Top DEI Leaders of 2021, Rashim has been recognized by Business Chief USA as a woman to watch. She is also a recipient of Women Empowerment: Game Changer, Woman of the Year, Women Tech, and Silicon Valley Woman of Influence awards and was inducted into the Alameda County Hall of Fame in 2020.
In her role at Skillsoft, Rashim brings her passion and innovation together to deliver a learning foundation for global enterprises of all types. As GM Leadership and Business portfolio she leads the content, platform, customer success, sales, and marketing teams to deliver compelling experiences to our customers. Prior to Skillsoft, Rashim held leadership roles at companies like VMware, Amazon Web Services, Oracle, and Automation Anywhere, where she built high-performing teams and launched innovative solutions.