Yamini Rangan, Chief Customer Officer of HubSpot, on Resilience and Perseverance
Yamini Rangan is proof you can accomplish anything once you put your mind to it. She graduated first in her engineering program, and landed key positions at companies including Workday, Oracle, SAP, and Dropbox. Yamini has also been recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by San Francisco Business Times. And she’s not done. Most recently, she was named HubSpot’s first Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
While Yamini worked hard for her achievements, she also credits her Mom. “My Mom fed me and my sister incredible home-cooked meals and a ton of ambition.” Her mother’s support was essential during Yamini and her sister’s childhood in rural India.
When you’re faced with adversity, you have two choices: conform to what society expects of you, or break through.
The school in their town ended at 10th grade, so they had to move to finish their education. After high school, Yamini enrolled in an engineering program and faced hostility from male classmates who questioned her right to be there. “When you’re faced with adversity, you have two choices: conform to what society expects of you, or break through.”
Clearly she broke through. After finishing top in the program, she enrolled in a masters’ program at Clemson University, where she faced another challenge. In one class, the grade was split evenly between projects and participation. “When I grew up in India, women were on mute. You didn’t share your thoughts. Class participation was a new concept for me.” Despite her discomfort with speaking up, she forced herself to contribute to class discussions. “Today, people are shocked when they learn that I used to be the quiet one. I guess I learned my lesson well,” she adds with a smile.
Yamini has brought that determination and growth mindset to every position she’s held in her impressive 24+-year career. While at Workday – where she helped quadruple revenue – she soaked up key lessons from Mike Stankey, Vice Chairman, on harnessing data to drive strategy and scale the business. “Mike always said, ‘In God we trust. Everybody else bring data.’ That approach took a lot of the emotion out of decisions.”
Yamini gleaned an important leadership lesson from Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia Venture Capital. “He was a master at asking the right questions and giving people the space to come up with their own answers.”
Now as HubSpot’s CCO, Yamini oversees about 3,000 people in Sales, Marketing, Service, and Customer Success, all focused on creating value for the customer. “We don’t just talk about solving for the customer. We turn talk into action by collecting a balance of qualitative and quantitative feedback and mobilizing the entire company behind the solutions we formulate.”
Some of Yamini’s other keys to success:
- Driving alignment. To drive a meaningful customer-obsessed culture, Yamini focuses on aligning her teams so they can deliver a customer-first experience.
- Focusing on cadence. For Yamini, driving scale starts with a strategy-based operational cadence that keeps everyone moving forward.
- Embracing feedback. Yamini believes the difference between being a good manager and a good leader is turning feedback from your team into opportunities for growth.