FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Product Executive at Bank of America, Rina Bakhtiani
The first few years of Rina's career started between India & Germany with Engineering Giant Larsen & Toubro. She found herself building products & solutions for key Engineering & Technology giants in Industrials & Automotive verticals. "Life brought me to Stateside with its unique opportunities & challenges, this is when I made a move to the banking world right around the time of the Financial crisis and started at JP Morgan Chase", says Rina. She has had the opportunity to build Credit Lending Buy Box, Payment Products across both Retail & Wholesale banking in the past 14 years and lead large scale teams & clients at both JP Morgan & Bank of America, since Product & Strategy roles in Technology early on. For her, "the biggest challenge has been scaling my role given my background as woman of color, and as someone from non-financial services world to thrive in an otherwise male dominated industry, though I found that in both Financial Services & Technology with varied degrees."
Rina Bakhtiani currently leads up Client Vertical Solutions & Partnerships across Ecommerce, with a view into Treasury needs of clients as well, at Bank of America. "My team looks at Healthcare Payment Solutions, Public Sector, B2B, CREB, amongst other cross vertical emerging fintechs & ISV partners. I also lead up the Product Roadmap Strategy across these verticals to enable Business Investment to drive P&L Management. Having built Products & Credit Buy boxes from Consumer & Small Business to Commercial clients, I wanted to do something that had a broader vantage point across the industry, this is when I reached out to a few of my industry peers letting them know I am ready for a change and landed with the role. "
"The bank is greatly focused on DEI efforts and this makes it relatively easy to expand horizons & take on more responsibilities and foster relationships with mentors & sponsors", says Rina: "I feel empowered to have conversations with key focus groups, however as we look upward, more could be done to provide opportunities to women of color. I actively participate in Business Resource groups and mentor women to enable career growth." Rina also partners closely with Fintechs by the way of work as it is. Additionally, she mentors Fintech Accelerators at Rise NYC & India. "Diversity in Fintech is very personal for me", she adds.
More on Rina
Where you currently live: Weehawken, NJ
Living arrangement: Live by myself and 3 fishes
Family at home: Parents
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Favorite hobby: Scuba Diving & Tennis
Favorite part of your day: Morning meditation
Favorite show to binge: None. I am an avid reader not leaving much time for TV shows
What's the best job decision you ever made?
I try not to view work & career choices as good or bad. I do think several circumstances come together to create a unique scenario, and the decision makes perfect sense in that particular moment. It is the learnings both hard and soft skills that matter, and influence my choice of a role. It is important to learn and add skillset in any progressive role in career. Having said that, my best is definitely yet to come.
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task?
Yes, one of my bosses & mentor encouraged me to lead a project where we were building a captive center in India. It was not one of those projects I thought I would be good at given I was typically bent towards analytical projects. This involved flexing my relationship building muscle along with cultural nuances, and getting to know people across the department.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am into Mindfulness & Nature and try to use these tools to create Work-Life Harmony. I do not think Balance is real because there are times when we shift from work-home depending on life events. I do have a daily meditation schedule early morning before I start my day. It helps me keep a clear head and respond positively to the challenges of the work day.
5.00 am – Wake up, Meditation & workout
7.30 am – Leave for work, typically listening to apple podcasts & audio books
8 am - 5.30 pm – Team meetings & work
6.30/7 pm – Dinner
8.30 - 9.30 pm – Read & call it a night