The beauty of diversity can sometimes be overshadowed by the struggles of those navigating foreign cultures. For young children, immersing in a new culture can be especially daunting, reshaping their impressionable minds.
Henna Karna, a tech executive who grew up as an Indian in a foreign setting, faced a unique challenge in her pursuit of education. Growing up, her childhood was marked by the search for belonging and the desire to own her uniqueness in the face of relentless bullying and racism. From unkind classmates to prejudiced teachers, she had to face it all.
However, amidst the turmoil, she discovered a sense of inclusion in an unexpected place: x-men comic books, and her math classes.
Unlike other subjects, mathematics transcended cultural and national boundaries. The numbers, formulas, theorems, and principles of mathematics were the same for everyone, offering a universal language that knew no discrimination. For Henna, solving math problems became a sanctuary, where her unique perspective on life was unveiled through the language of numbers and data.
While other subjects didn’t quite capture her curiosity, she found herself willing to pull all-nighters to really understand math. “It was not a natural talent”, she says, “it was just my love for the subject.” Over time, Dr. Harna scored exceptionally well in Mathematics. Fueled by her desire to be a mathematician, she majored in Math, defying the expectations of her immigrant parents, which often prioritized careers in medicine or engineering.
Embracing her passion for mathematics, Henna earned a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and later pursued a Master’s in Applied Mathematics, a Doctorate, and later, an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Mathematics became Henna’s strength, propelling her towards remarkable achievements in the corporate world. She began her corporate career as an actuarial associate, gradually climbing to executive vice president, chief data officer, and general manager at innovative firms like Google Cloud, AXA, Verisk Analytics, and AIG. Her success is evidenced by the substantial revenue growth achieved by these firms during her tenure.
Guided by her relentless commitment to making a difference, Henna seeks to redefine the principles of digital tech using data and analytics. She speaks at conferences on the intersection of Data and Technology, its importance on Emotional Intelligence, and the foundation of meaningful Digital Experiences. Her efforts hold the potential to revolutionize high-tech firms by applying complex mathematical principles and analytics to digitize risk and insurance industries.
Henna’s life journey, dedication, and the consequent success that she garnered are a testament to the value of fighting for one’s dreams. Had she given in to pressure and chosen another major, the current risk management and tech-scape would have missed out on the guidance of a worthy leader.
Inspired by her story? Learn more about Henna Karna‘s remarkable contributions to innovative firms as she continues to make strides in the corporate world.