Ajitha started her career in capital markets at Barclays Capital in Singapore after studying engineering at National University of Singapore. Wanting to expand her skillset and network, she went to Columbia University for her MBA. During this time, she joined J.P. Morgan Chase as part of a finance rotational program, where she has been ever since. At J.P. Morgan, Ajitha has been in various areas including strategy, finance, business development, and over the last 8 years a number of product roles, most recently leading product for US SMB merchant payments. Throughout her career in product, she has built, launched, and/or commercialized multiple innovative and digitally transformative products such as Digital Account Opening for Small Business, Cashflow360 (automated invoicing and digital payments solution), and Chase QuickAccept (built-in card acceptance feature of Chase Complete Checking account).
J.P. Morgan Chase prides itself on building a great team and winning culture, and has a people-driven approach to culture, which is part of its competitive advantage. The firm values authentic leadership and due to its scale, deeply values collaborative leadership. Through many mentors, sponsors and self-aware leaders, Ajitha has made strides in her own growth as a leader.
Ajitha is creating ripple effects, driving forth a lot of innovation in the evolving payments landscape through her work at J.P. Morgan, which aims to make it easier for small business customers to get paid and be the easiest bank to work with. She has also volunteered with the Techstars Founder Catalyst program, and through this program mentored early-stage fintech companies founded by women and non-binary founders. Through this mentorship program, she has helped companies think through their business case, go-to-market strategy, and fostered introductions through her network.
More on Ajitha
Where you currently live: Los Angeles, CA
Living arrangement: Husband, 4-year old boy, and a dog
Favorite hobby: Traveling and reading
Favorite show to binge: Ted Lasso
Favorite fintech media:
I have been listening to “Wiser than me” by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In a world where accomplishment in youth is celebrated (e.g. 30 under 30 lists), Julia wants us to hear from older women on how to live a full and meaningful. It is funny, irreverent, and refreshing.
What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?
“Many of the most critical decisions about your career will be made without you in the room, so advocate for yourself so that those in the room can advocate for you!”.
This advice really stuck with me. Even with the best mentors and sponsors, no one can read your mind unless you have asked for it before and advocated for why you are deserving of it. For example, if you want a raise, a promotion, or a chance to work on a new initiative, ask for it! The answer may not always be yes, but if you don’t ask it will always be no.
What's the best job decision you ever made?
I treat my career like a portfolio where I take certain risks and diversification in order to get the maximum return, where I define return as both career progression and satisfaction. I have done this by taking a number of half-steps, which can be lateral, that help me acquire new skills, experiences and challenges to stretch me as I continue my career progression.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am always looking for productivity hacks! I have found that having a routine in my day is critical for me to have a productive day – I kick off each day by drinking a large glass of water, coffee, a morning meditation, and my daily workout (yoga or a ride on my peloton bike). I preserve an hour at the start of every work day for deep thinking, and 30 mins at the end of each day for reflections and planning for the next day.
I work East Coast hours on the West Coast so my days start early!
4:30am Wake up, morning coffee, meditate
5:00am – 6:00am Workout + get ready for work
6:00am – 7:00am Save time for deep thinking and reading
7:00am – 3:00pm Meetings with team, steering committees, etc.
3:00pm – 4:00pm Wrap up the day, daily reflections, wind down the work day
4:00pm – 8:30pm Family time
8:30pm Wind down, read, sleep by 9pm!