Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Virun Rampersad
Title: CEO, Virun Rampersad & Associates, LLC
Organisation: Virun Rampersad & Associates, LLC
Virun is a Certified Executive Coach and Consultant with over three decades of experience across all major functions including sales, technology, strategy, and finance. Virun spent the bulk of his career at BNY Mellon, where he held several executive positions including Chief Operating Officer for the Global Client Management group, Global Head of Innovation, Head of Client Engagement Strategies and Senior Client Executive. He has deep domain expertise in sales, client management and change management and worked directly with CEOs and other C-suite executives.
He created BNY Mellon’s post-merger relationship management model, built a book of business exceeding $500 million as a Client Executive, and transformed the major account sales process to drive double digit growth. Virun was featured on the cover of American Banker Magazine in November 2015 and was awarded BNY Mellon’s Chairman Circle Award for outstanding sales performance in 2008. He was a founding member and former co-chair of IMPACT, BNY Mellon's Multi-Cultural Employee Resource Group.
He has been a keynote speaker at numerous conferences and is lecturer at various universities, including Columbia Business School, University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers Graduate School of Business. Virun received his undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his master’s from Columbia University in the City of New York. He has also completed professional leadership development programs at The Wharton School of Business and Harvard Business School. He received his coaching certifications from the Center for Executive Coaching (ACTP) and the International Coach Federation (ACC).
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Dealing with combative, aggressive people who don't tell the truth.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
At every stage of my life when I was a leader it started with developing trust of my team, listening to them and making sure they knew they were heard. I would help us articulate our mission and develop a strategy to achieve it. The teams generally responded, even in cases when I wasn't the most senior or experienced person.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Every day is a bit different, but generally begins with getting an early start, reading the news, checking email and then tackling the tasks of the day. I try to get some level of exercise in every day where possible. And I turn off the computer by 7 pm every night.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
It is better to be kind than nice to people. Be honest with them, keep it factual and constructive and don't overblow praise. People know and respond better when you are genuine.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Job transitions are a high risk moment in any person's career and it gives an effective framework for helping you succeed. It was critical to me when I moved into a management role from being a sales person and helped the teams that I formed over the years hit the ground running. Those teams were the backbone of the success I achieved in my later career.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Your integrity is your most precious asset. Guard it fiercely.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
A friend and former colleague took on a more senior role at a new company. He struggled with the transition. He knew he needed help and reached out to me. I coached him for a year and he hit all his major goals and exceed his sales target by 10%. The coaching helped, but it wouldn't have happened if he didn't have the self-awareness and courage to say "I need help". Asking for help is a sign of strength and a formula for success.