Emajin Golf - Raj Narayan
Is this where you thought you’d end up?
Definitely not, but that is in no way a bad thing. I started my career in Finance, working for over 20 years across many firms. Golf was and is a huge hobby of mine, but back then I could never have expected it to be my work life too. But now, I am currently Co-Founder and Director at Emajin Golf, an online golf club that promotes golf, making golf accessible, cost-effective, flexible, and fun. So no, back in my finance days I wouldn’t have expected to be a founder of my own business centered around one of my greatest passions. Though it may not be something I originally planned, I’m extremely lucky to be working on something I enjoy so much, and I absolutely love it!
How do you balance work and life responsibilities? What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?
This is an interesting question! And if I knew the answer, I would bottle it and sell it to make millions!
But jokes aside, I’ve spent time away from my family to fulfil work commitments on numerous occasions, but also made compromises from a career perspective to ensure I’m there when my daughter and family need me. Balancing both is a juggling act, one that is and always will be a work in progress, I think.
In my early career, I ‘lived to work’, and sacrificed family time to progress at work. I worked long hours and travelled extensively for work, and while I certainly made time for family commitments, life was nevertheless very work-oriented. With age comes maturity, I suppose, and now I try to ‘work to live’. As I have my own business now, it gives me greater flexibility to balance my work commitments so that I can make sure I’m there for my family.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
The key piece of advice I would give the next generation of female leaders is “Back your own judgement, believe in yourself, be confident, and most importantly, act like you belong.”
I’ve managed large teams in my past roles, and the most interesting thing I’ve found is the difference in attitudes and confidence between the men and women who report to me. When recruiting new hires or discussing salary or bonuses, my male direct reports were usually very matter of fact about their salary expectations and self-worth. On the other hand, I’ve generally found that my female direct reports are far more likely to be on the defensive, feeling the need to give excess explanations of why they should be paid more, or given a promotion or a bonus, etc. Even with absolutely equal qualifications, I’ve found that women in the workplace tend to second guess themselves or feel the need to justify themselves to others.
My biggest advice, then, is for the next generation to have the confidence to back themselves. Know that you deserve the positions that you get, and don’t be afraid to ask for things or offer your opinions! I cannot overstate the importance – if you act like you belong, and let yourself feel like you belong, others will think the same about you. So, I encourage all young female leaders to be confident and trust their own judgement!
What is an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Despite a long career in finance, career-wise, I’m incredibly proud of my new business. Though it’s a new venture for all of us, through Emajin I’ve been able to turn one of my greatest passions into my work.
However, while my work means a lot to me, I find that family means more. The biggest joy and the biggest thing I am proud of is my daughter, who is 17 and in her HSC year. She is a strong-minded and self-assured young lady who has worked hard and tries to do her best in everything she undertakes. Being part of her life and having had an influence on who she has become as a person, is the singular thing I am most proud of.
What is one core message you received from mentors?
I have been lucky to have some amazing mentors along my career who have believed in me and always encouraged me to be myself. Trying to be something you aren’t, is unsustainable – you can never keep up the act forever, and in the meantime, it makes you feel uncomfortable with yourself.
My mentors have always encouraged me to be true to myself, not being afraid to share thoughts, ideas, or suggestions for improvement. Having this self-confidence offers a huge amount of freedom, and I think it makes people respect you more.