Being born into a long line of successful doctors is usually considered to be a fortunate start in life.
Getting one college degree from MIT, and then another from Harvard, can also be particularly advantageous.
Leena Patidar had all that. Sure, she worked hard. Working hard is in her blood. Although she’d opted out of her family’s tradition of medical careers, the young wunderkind stood out from the crowded field of Certified Public Accountants when she started looking for a job.
Naturally, she was tapped by the world’s biggest and most powerful corporations – Citibank, Ernst & Young, and Raytheon, to mention a few. She was a mere 23 years old when she met and lunched with U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But meeting powerful people was just part of the job when Patidar was selected by Citibank to improve efficiencies at their locations in India.
While in India, Patidar worked within an older-world corporate culture that wasn’t unlike the country’s still-observed, class-defining caste system. She worked closely with people who kept their mouths shut even when they had suggestions on how to make improvements. The experience gave her an understanding and an expertise in effective cross-cultural communications.
The experience also showed Patidar how technology could dramatically speed and simplify not only banking, but industries across the board. The year was 1995: Four years after the World Wide Web was opened to the public; years before Google and Wikipedia, ten years before YouTube, and nearly two decades before Facebook ever existed.