Hi, my name is Harmon Rai. I’m a senior program manager on the support and enablement team here at Wonolo and I’m currently located in Hayward, California.
What events in your life have brought you to your current role today?
A couple of events have led me to my current role today. I’ll start with my parents.
They immigrated from India to a small town called Live Oak in California, and I know that wasn’t easy on them. Growing up, they always worked multiple jobs, juggled many responsibilities, all while raising myself and my two siblings. They’ve always wanted all of their children to have success and to become extremely educated. They pushed us to go for the more “traditional” successful job, like being a doctor in the medical field.
Growing up on a farm, I learned how businesses actually worked at a very young age. English was actually my dad’s third language. He learned Spanish before English, and I was able to translate for him for a lot of business meetings. Observing these meetings gave me insight into how businesses worked.
As much as I love my parents in their direction, once I finished school and completed my physical therapy program, I decided to kind of do a 180 and got a job in the startup world. Four startups later, here I am at Wonolo. It finally feels like, as I did as a kid, where I was working with family, so this opportunity has been a blessing in so many different ways.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
I try to lean on a few different things, depending on what the situation is. My senses and instincts are crucial when I’m trying to make a difficult decision. I’m big on plotting things on paper, taking notes, and I try to go through a very thorough process when it comes to ensuring that I covered just about any topic that relates to the issue or the decision at hand.
One of the big ones for me is just blocking out the external noise and distractions and being in a quiet and controlled setting. That way I can really sit down and go through different nuances, different outcomes, and make the best decision.
The last thing I do when making a difficult decision is to ask for help. I don’t think asking for help is negative or a sign of weakness. It’s good to get others involved. It’s good to get people that might be directly affected by the outcome of the decision to receive feedback.
What is one piece of life advice you can give to anyone?
Growing up in a small farm town, I learned pretty quickly that actions speak louder than words. So, my advice would be is that no task is beneath you. Don’t put yourself above anyone or anything. Work hard in the silence and let success make all the noise.
If you really knew me, you would know that…
If you really knew me, you would know that I love to interact with people and I love to barbecue. Since in most cases I can have literally both of those, I’m usually always in my happy place.