In the fast-paced world of technology, Rhea Raj has emerged as a trailblazer, breaking barriers, and defying expectations. From her early days as an Intern in Bangalore, India, to managing global clients as a Client Partner at Apexon in London, Rhea’s journey exemplifies ambition, resilience, and commitment.

Rhea’s story serves as an inspiration for aspiring women in technology, highlighting the power of mentorship, self-belief and embracing your strengths. We Are Tech Women sat down with Rhea to talk about the opportunities and challenges of a woman in the technology industry.

Born and raised in Chennai India, Rhea always knew she wanted to pursue a path in business and completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2017.

The transformative power of tech

Although the technology was not a career path Rhea initially anticipated, she soon recognised its transformative power and the immense potential it held. “Innovation is at the core of technology, and individuals and businesses can make a meaningful difference from leveraging it,” she asserted. Observing the numerous possibilities in the tech industry, Rhea eagerly embraced the chance to be part of something dynamic.

During her degree, Rhea embarked on an Internship at Apexon, a global digital technology services and platform solutions company with offices in India, the UK, and the USA. “I believed that there was an impact I could have within the company”, she recalls, and upon graduation, Rhea was offered a full-time position at the firm.

Making the move to the UK

Based in Bangalore, India, Rhea successfully managed one of the company’s largest clients, showcasing her skills and resolve. Seeking a new challenge, Rhea made the bold decision to move from India to the United Kingdom, with the Apexon office in London serving as her only connection. Her motivation was simple: “I’ve always been very driven so when I noticed there was a huge opportunity for me in the UK, I jumped at the chance.”

Currently based in London, Rhea holds the position of Client Partner, responsible for the strategy and operations of the company’s clients. Managing two of the largest accounts in the banking, financial services and insurance sector, Rhea builds and maintains key relationships with numerous clients across the globe, acting as their primary contact. With a desire for growth, Rhea’s ability to navigate complex stakeholder dynamics and identify new business opportunities showcases her versatility and determination to excel in the industry.

As the tech industry constantly evolves, Rhea finds herself amid a continuous learning journey. She credits her fortuitous entry into the tech world to the valuable advice and guidance she sought from industry leaders. “I think it’s very important to identify mentors, there’s so much to learn from their experience” she emphasises. The supportive environment at Apexon, coupled with her relentless dedication has allowed her to seize numerous opportunities within her career.

The tech industry: overwhelming and intimidating

Upon venturing into the tech industry, Rhea was faced with a stark gender imbalance that she candidly describes as “overwhelming and intimidating”. Surrounded by male colleagues she acknowledges the scarcity of women working in the industry.

“When I started in the industry there was no one that looked like me, whether that be in junior roles or senior management. I never felt like I had a woman to look up to in the industry as all my leaders were male,” she stated. However, experiencing first-hand the great mentorship within the company, and appreciating the connections and sponsors that have helped her grow and learn.

The power of self-belief

Reinforcing the importance of self-belief and how crucial it is for women to succeed in the tech field Rhea affirms, “You really must believe in your own capabilities, because no one else will be able to do that for you. Confidence matters as much as competence”

Rhea’s success is rooted in her ambitious nature and willingness to challenge herself. Encouraging others to do the same, she advises, “Take risks, don’t be afraid of failure, it’s all part of the process

Embracing her feminine traits has also played a pivotal role in Rhea’s accomplishments. “We have a lot to offer as women and young professionals, and I don’t think we should shy away from that” she asserts.

“Women have often been advised that to achieve success, we must be assertive and command attention. In my personal journey, I truly believe that a significant portion of my accomplishments stems largely from embracing my softer skills, such as emotional intelligence. It is the synergy of these qualities that has propelled me forward.”

The role of diversity in getting the right team

Rhea also talks about the importance for companies to create diverse and inclusive ecosystems, emphasising its significance in fuelling creativity. “When we embrace different perspectives and experiences, it leads to better outcomes, robust problem solving and decision making” Few ways she believes that this can be done is by measuring and tracking diversity metrics and promoting representation at the leadership level.

Additionally, Rhea highlights the need for enhanced education and awareness among the younger generation about the vast career choices and diverse role models, they have access to, particularly in the tech industry. Rhea envisions a future where talents from all walks of life are inspired to pursue careers in technology and contribute to a more inclusive and dynamic digital landscape.