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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Dr Mandeep Rai

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Dr Mandeep Rai

Name: Dr Mandeep Rai

Current title: CEO / Founder

Current organisation: The Values Compass

Author of The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership

Mandeep Rai is a global authority on values, working with companies, institutions, and individuals around the world. She has travelled to more that 150 countries and reported as a journalist for the BBC World Service and Reuters, amongst others.

She began her career in private banking at JPMorgan, and later worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, and grassroots NGOs before setting up the UAE’s first media venture capital fund.

Mandeep studied philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), has an MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics, and completed an MBA at London Business School, with a year at Harvard Business School and MIT. She also holds a PhD in global values.

7 Questions with Dr Mandeep Rai


1. What have you found most challenging as a board member?

Sometimes leaders can be stuck in a rut and it can be hard to shake them out of it. I have seen this with respect to the arguments for diversity for example.

2. How did you become a board member? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was told to network - but I am not sure one can just 'network' their way in. There has to be a need, and you have to be the right shaped peg - so in actual fact it was serendipity and many stars had to align.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Oh my goodness - this is a tough one, for there have been so many dramatic shifts in the structure. Are we in a virtual world? A physical world? A lockdown world?

To answer the question directly- I follow my calendar and have certain time open for meetings, certain time for correspondence, a period of deep thinking work, and at the moment this is all wrapped around by family and children who are being homeschooled in and amongst this all.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That lauded leadership looks different - it is more compassionate, collaborative and community focused.

5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a organisation?

To have clear processes and procedures in place, which have been arrived at with consensus and then properly communicated.

6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a organisation?

The CXO is responsible for the everyday running of the organisation, whilst a board member is meant to offer strategic advice, perspective, connections and thinking which is harder to to have when one is in the weeds.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member so far?

I have been on the board of an inner city London school, and to see that school go from struggling and to outstanding, in an area where English is not the first language and there are many socio-economic issues, has been truly satisfying.

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