Ria Shroff — On Breaking Glass Ceilings, Identifying Your Core Skills, And Navigating Through Self-Doubt
Ria Shroff Desai is the head of Human Capital at Blume VC. As Blume builds the ecosystem to support Indian startups, Ria supports the founders to build a great team internally that powers this engine, as well as a progressive workplace, driven by ownership, innovation, commitment, and purpose.
Ria has had an unconventional career. She started working in the not-for-profit sector as the executive assistant to the CEO at Teach for India before moving to the private sector at Sula Vineyards as the Chief of Staff, eventually becoming the Associate Vice President of people operations there, before moving to Blume VC. She has left a powerful mark in predominantly male industries like wine and Venture Capital. Her insights, especially on social media are often on how to get things done.
In this episode, we deep dive into how she broke the glass ceilings repeatedly in her career, how she overcame self-doubt and became comfortable with herself, how she identified what she truly enjoys and built the requisite skills to do it, how she used a single question to build an intelligent network and meaningful career, why she can’t do without four large cups of black coffee a day, and more.
You can read the transcript of the episode here.
Let’s dive in.
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Ria Shroff on LinkedIn
Ria Shroff on Twitter
United World College
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Toffee Coffee Roasters
(02:30) Personal learning while following an unconventional career path, transitioning from Teach for India to Sula Vineyards to Blume VC.
(03:50) The most pivotal moment in her life came at the age of 16.
(06:00) The single most powerful principle that governs all her life and career decisions.
(08:10) The conversations they had as 16-year-olds at the United World College around how to do things that make life more fair and equitable for all.
(10:36) The aspects she questioned as a child.
(11:40) Breaking out of the “limited options” mindset that stunts our professional and personal growth.
(18:00) How Ria discovered what she enjoys doing, and how she got better at connecting the dots.
(26:30) Putting aside initial frustrations at not being taken seriously at work and instead, directing her energies into building allies.
(32:30) Why she began writing on LinkedIn and how it proved therapeutic to her.
(38:41) The aspect that fuels a culture that makes companies outlast people, markets, cycles, etc.
(42:26) The mindset that will help you get better at connecting dots in anything you want to do.
(45:10) How she identified the people she wanted to network with, how she added value to them, and how it all eventually came back.
(47:38) Book recommendations.
(51:29) Advice to just-out-of-college Ria.
(52:00) Why she fell in love with black coffee.
(55:33) The experience of staying on a Dominican Republic coffee farm without any internet or contact with family and friends, and what she learned from it.
(59:50) Why you should accept the decisions you make so that you can take more risks in life.
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