The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Anish Rajparia, president, major account services and ADP Canada at ADP.
President, Major Account Services and ADP Canada
Anish Rajparia is President of Major Account Services, which focuses on businesses with 50 to 1,000 clients, and ADP Canada. He was previously President of ADP’s Small Business Services, TotalSource®, and Retirement Services businesses. Anish joined ADP as Vice President of Business Development, and was rapidly promoted to Senior Vice President, Employer Services Group Strategy and Marketing. During his tenure in these roles, he was integral to developing overall strategy, identifying viable acquisitions and alliances, and driving various marketing initiatives and external communications.
Before joining ADP, Anish was the co-CEO and Chief Operating Officer of Parlo, Inc., an e-learning company. Prior to Parlo, he served as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he advised financial services, technology and consumer organizations on strategy, marketing, operations and acquisitions. Anish’s career began at Xerox Business Services with various positions in sales, pricing and marketing.
Anish holds a master of business administration degree from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Gujarati.
With more than $12 billion in revenues and 65 years of experience, ADP® (Nasdaq: ADP) serves approximately 637,000 clients in more than 125 countries. As one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing and Human Capital Management solutions, ADP offers a wide range of human resource, payroll, talent management, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source, and helps clients comply with regulatory and legislative changes, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. For more information about ADP, visit the company's website at www.ADP.com.
Anish on Diversity and STEM
How do you incorporate your STEM education in your role as the president of a business division?
Technology and innovation are keys to differentiating our business, which is in the rapidly growing and complex Human Capital Management industry. Therefore, I prioritize spending meaningful time with technology and products and understanding what my company has to offer versus what the competition is doing, from the perspective of our clients and channel partners. As I try to identify ways we can be different, innovative, and simpler than the competition, it’s enormously helpful to have a STEM background, and I draw on it every day.
Analytics and business intelligence are also very important to understanding the underlying dynamics and trends in a business and its market. Having a strong mathematical foundation is very helpful in quickly extracting key information from the numbers and knowing how to apply them in making strategic decisions.
Lastly, technology is also now very much a part of automating our client service and implementation functions. For ADP, there is nothing more critical because our solutions have to work for every employee of each client’s business, whether that client has one employee or tens of thousands of employees. We are responsible for paying 34 million people around the world and administering benefits to 15 million people. The technology, both client-facing and internal, has to be solid to take on that kind of responsibility.
As a diverse corporate leader in a company with a strong technology base, what is your view of the importance of diversity in tech?
Diversity is absolutely critical and this extends to backgrounds, knowledge, and functions. It is especially important to innovation – bringing ideas from various viewpoints to bear. I was raised in the religion of Jainism, which espouses anekāntavāda, a belief that a multiplicity of viewpoints is essential, and that no one point of view is the absolute truth. With this foundation I have always believed that things are made better when we include multiple perspectives
What role do you see for STEM education and workforce development in our nation’s future?
STEM education has been phenomenal – just look at the accomplishments and reputations of schools like MIT, Stanford, RPI – and of course my alma mater, Duke! Perhaps even more important is how STEM graduates have applied their educations to innovation for the betterment of the world. This has been the key to the nation’s rise and will be the key to keeping it globally competitive.
Increased investment is needed for STEM education in the U.S. The trend seems to be toward the opposite, with less emphasis on mathematics and smaller budgets for computers in public elementary schools. This needs to be reversed if we are going to maintain the nation’s role as a major innovator and engine of commerce.
Our schools could also use more investment to promote the STEM fields to children, especially girls, to create more interest in pursuing futures in STEM. As the father of two girls (ages 10 and 7), I can see that even today girls receive less encouragement to pursue STEM, despite the existence of initiatives like Girls Who Code.
What area of STEM are you most passionate about?
Mathematics, as it is the foundation of all of the STEM fields. To paraphrase Galileo, the universe is written in mathematical language, so if you don’t understand mathematics you can’t comprehend the universe. This is especially true for science and engineering, and I think it’s true for business as well – not just being able to read a balance sheet but the ability to think in mathematical terms and apply this thinking to solving problems.
If you’re in a negotiation or in competition for a business deal and you’re the only person with a math background, I give you very good odds of coming out ahead the majority of the time. When the makers of “The Matrix” wanted to show Neo’s consciousness breaking through, they did it by depicting reality as a stream of numbers that only he could see. I’m still trying to get to that level!