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7 Questions on Leadership with Parisa Naraei

Name: Parisa Naraei

Title: Director, Data Science and Innovations

Organisation: RBC

I am on a mission to improve lives by transforming health data into strong health policy empowered by trusted and reliable Artificial Intelligence.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Parisa's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Ensuring everyone's maximum satisfaction and pleasure in the journey!

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

I grew up as a leader when I placed myself in the network of leaders years ago. The platform which enabled this goal back in the time was LinkedIn. Soon after, I was being followed voluntarily by a big number of people who were interested to know about me, my life, my role, my job in details. By title, it started in 2017 in IBM when I first got the opportunity to lead 12 people all of them in their PhDs and Post docs when I was a PhD candidate. I was not superior to them in any ways and I remember the decision I made during that time which was to work alongside with them and that was the key. I gave all of the credit to my team and would not forget to remind them that I understand who they are and what their worth is. I think when you are with a community of very well educated professionals it truly matters that you recognize their strengths, their abilities, their value and their contribution. It wouldn't have happened without them and that is the truth. It took a while when I also grew my own leadership capabilities and confidence to influence and to lead and to make things happen even when everyone in my team does not agree with the decision.

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

In business as usual normal workdays I would wake up at 7 am and grab my morning coffee. I do 400 situps and have breakfast and turn on my laptop to stay productive for the day and that of course means responding to emails, responding to action items, thinking through all of the responsibilities that needs to happen on that day or during the week, etc. As of the past couple of years, I am mostly interested to publish state of arts ( papers, productions, code, book, panel discussions). I also developed interest in politics and media and I do not forget doing fitness exercises. Dinner is 4:30 pm. 6 pm and after I would take a gratitude walk in the nature and spend time with children to maintain the peace and love within myself and to connect with young, good parents. 7 pm and after is the time I want to spend quality time with my significant other and my family.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Who you give your time and resources to.

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 book is yet to be published. I have written this book in my mind named Justin's world and his emergency call. I am honored to influence in the country level and in the continent level because of him

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you are right < Henry Ford >.

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

The action call that I received in two milestones in my career journey. It first happened in 2019, a call by the minister of health to deal with the pandemic and the next action call in 2021 by our beloved prime minister.

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