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Changing Careers during a Pandemic: Richard Raj

Divina Paredes

About 7 months ago By Divina Paredes

Richard Raj   Web Image

​The pandemic has upended organisational strategies across industries and geographies. For a lot of business technology and digital leaders, the lockdowns over the past year and a half also meant a change, a transition, to a new role and even a major career shift. So what prompts ICT leaders to take this major step? What lessons can they share with people who are rethinking priorities in life and work? More so, how can one build a career during a time of constant change? I talked to five leaders who applied their experiences in leading ICT-enabled transformation programmes to a more personal area - their career:

- Dr Elinor Swery of Rookout
- Richard Raj of Knights Move Consulting
- Magriet Roos of Downer Group
- Priti Ambani of Tata Consultancy Services
- Christine Yip of C Why International

Richard Raj ditched a corporate career to start a business - on the week of the national lockdown

Starting one’s own business, after years of large corporate leadership/executive career, can be unnerving. More so when the business formally opened on the week New Zealand went into national Covid-19 lockdown. This, in a nutshell, is how Richard Raj started Knights Move Consulting (KMC) in March 2020.

KMC, set up as a small digital consulting business, now has medium to large organisations as customers in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, China and the Pacific Islands.

“The Covid-19 lockdown was a major impediment on starting a new business idea, but it was also an opportunity,” says Raj, reflecting on how he grew KMC. “For years I had been evangelising digital transformation nationally and internationally to mitigate the coming disruption, and here I was, in the middle of a major disruption that could be supported by being more digital.”

He started KMC right after leaving his last executive role, as inaugural head of digital and mobility at healthAlliance. He held the post for two years and eight months. Before that, Raj was group digital solutions and innovations manager at Frucor Beverages.

At KMC, he created a method and approach to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) “do digital transformation at pace in a very economical way to get ahead of the game”.

“I set up a model for an associate network to support my customers and give me back the ‘team’ vibe that I have become accustomed to over many years of corporate career.“

“Basically, KMC as an organisation is associated with a few other like-minded, very experienced individuals and we work as a virtual team,” he says, on the business model he created. “The team can change and ebb and flow as needs dictate. KMC then manages the team as a unit across one or more customers. We have regular catch-ups in person and support each other based on individual expertise. We also work together to seek new opportunities and identify new potential associates.”

The associate model has members across New Zealand but Raj says it will work equally well with a borderless team across countries. “I may have some of these options by next year.”

“The KMC business model and methods/processes are still evolving after a second set of lockdowns, but I am feeling quite confident in my major career pivot,” he says.

He mentors businesses and works with startups from time to time. “I feel quite fulfilled so far in my work, working with my associates and customers bringing in years of seasoned expertise and experience to create new opportunities and solve problems.”

His keys to success? “Learning how to be content in progress and where you are at; having a great bunch of associates and customers to work with; and finding a balance between DOING and BEING”.

This is the second of a five-part series on switching careers in a rapidly changing landscape. See other blogs in the series below:

1. Changing Careers During a Pandemic: Elinor Swery

Divina Paredes is a New Zealand-based writer interested in #ICTTrends #Tech4Good #DigitalWorkplace #Data4Good #Sustainability #CivilSociety #SpecialNeedsCommunity #SocialEnterprises

Reach her on Twitter: @divinap