WAPPP Leader in Practice
Rati Thanawala spent 39 years in the high-tech industry, the last 17 as Vice President at Bell Labs. Rati came to the US from India on a Rotary Graduate Scholarship and joined the inaugural batch of grad students pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at Yale. After her PhD, she joined Bell Labs, which was part of AT&T, in software development.
At Bell Labs, Rati pioneered the creation of techno-economic models for making complex decisions about new technologies. She established a global organization of 100 experts in 13 countries and founded a business unit called Bell Labs Consulting that advises CEO’s and Boards of companies, globally, on building future communication networks. Prior to that, she held executive positions at AT&T, Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, including product management, business and market management, and software development. Throughout her career, Rati has been an active mentor and sponsor to many women and minorities. Rati has two daughters – a lawyer and a neuroscientist.
Rati was selected as a 2018 Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. Her area of focus became Gender, Race and Tech – what can we do so women, particularly women of color, will thrive in their tech careers?