Voices of Gratitude- Robin Gandhi

By: Robin Gandhi; Chief Product Officer at Nium

In our series, Voices of Gratitude, some of our favorite business leaders tell us about how gratitude impacts their lives and how they share it with the people around them. As a company that believes in the importance of acts of gratitude, we’ve invited prominent and admirable business leaders in the Nashville area and beyond to tell us about maintaining relationships, feeling appreciated, and what they’re most looking forward to. You can find other guest interviews from this series here.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company’s background.

At Nium, we’re helping businesses move money around the world in a way that is safe, fast and cost effective through our modern payments infrastructure. As the world continues to get smaller, most businesses are paying suppliers, customers, employees and contractors across the globe regardless of where they are based. People and businesses need to rely on other businesses to get paid around the world, and our infrastructure helps make that happen.

I’ve been in the payments space for more than a decade now, and for most of my career, I have worked on global solutions to make it easier for a business to take payment online or in a store. We’ve gotten pretty used to the convenience of being anywhere in the world and being able to buy something using whatever we normally use at home to buy those things. Joining Nium at the start of 2022 as Chief Product Officer, I was excited to tackle the other side of the coin. In a global economy, how can we make it super easy to send money to anyone, anywhere and in whatever form that person or business prefers?  

Ever since I finished high school, I have loved traveling and backpacking into new places and finding new experiences. Even today, my wife and I drag our two kids around the world to give them a glimpse of more than just our lives in San Francisco. It’s a pretty connected world we live in, and I think it’s important to be aware of the differences that make us all unique and similar at the same time. For me, that’s why global payments continue to be interesting to me after all these years, because we all transact in this global economy. There are so many nuances that make it interesting to me personally and as a professional challenge to bridge those differences.

Why do you think gratitude is important?

For any of us who have had the fortune to have survived and maybe even progressed in our careers and lives over the last 3 years of the craziness of this pandemic, it would be hard to not be thankful. Taking things for granted doesn’t allow us to appreciate what we all have, and that is often what keeps many of us from being happy. Really making gratitude a daily priority allows me to see the forest from the trees, and it is truly important in a world where all of the digital content we consume would have us believe that things are falling apart faster than we can put them together. It’s actually not that bad at all, and when you are openly grateful to others in your life, they too can feel the same way and know that you appreciate them and their efforts.

How do you use gratitude in your business life?

We’re hearing the term “servant leadership” a lot more these days, because in the end, my team and their underlying teams are the key to making our business run and grow at the exponential pace that we’re experiencing today. I’m mainly here to keep the engine moving. Every time I see something that helps us get a bit better at what we do, I try to make it a point to thank the people who made it happen. I think it’s important to show appreciation in the moment, because it means that you genuinely care rather than something that becomes a part of a company HR practice which can feel forced and is a lot less meaningful.

What’s your best piece of advice for maintaining business relationships?

Transparency and trust are the keys to building long lasting business relationships. Don’t try to massage the truth, as that always backfires in the end when the raw truth reveals itself. Be honest without being rude, and you are on the right track.

If we can treat each other with respect, as humans, then regardless of how tenuous a business situation can get, we can appreciate where everyone is coming from, even if the outcome is not what we wanted. I always try to be as open and practical as I can be when I work with teams internally as well as with our partners, and I’ve typically found that this level of visibility will get them to be open and honest with me and my team. It’s a much better way to work, everyone will work to find a win-win, and you’ll sleep better too! :)

How do you recognize that your work is appreciated? What actions from others make you feel most appreciated?

I know that people appreciate what I’m doing when they open up to me and show me the same level of transparency and trust that I try to provide to them. To me, it means we’re on the same wavelength driving for a shared goal, and that feels pretty good.

You want to work with people who give you energy, and by not fighting an uphill battle on every topic, I always feel appreciated for what I bring. This is not to say that there will not be disagreement though. There will and should be a lot of healthy debate especially in the startup world where we are making semi-educated bets on the fly. Then at least we are aligned that the fight to get to the best answer is not political but passion to win as one team.

How can others start integrating gratitude into their daily life?

With everything happening in the world today, it’s easy to feel down. Taking a few minutes to really appreciate what you have between your personal and work lives is so key to being happy. Take a step back from the craziness of the day, and enjoy a few moments for yourself. That’s gratitude for yourself.

Make it a practice to thank people more often even if it’s just part of their “day job”. That doesn’t mean that you’re soft or a pushover, but you and your team can get quality work done without being someone who appears to lack empathy.

How do you practice gratitude in your personal life?

As I said, it’s just about thanking each other more often and being real to one another. I always think of the bus driver in this instance. Do you typically just walk off a bus when you arrive at your destination, or do you thank the driver as you walk off? These days, I’ve realized that a lot of the people in our lives who provide services for us have had it harder than others. They may be feeling a little off that day with all the pressure of keeping the lights on, but a little thank you can help.

It’s possible that a hundred “thank you”s per day means nothing to that driver or flight attendant, but it’s better than none. So, that first one starts with you, and you’ll also feel slightly better by doing it. Whether it’s a bus driver, your colleague or your loved one, a bit of gratitude goes a long way from taking something transactional and making it a little more human.

What’s something you’re looking forward to?

On the professional front, we’ve been stacking the deck with some amazing leaders here at Nium, and I’m excited to take what we’ve built to the next level.

On the personal front, beach vacations! This summer, I enjoyed some time in Corsica, and it was amazing to disconnect from every electronic distraction. It’s time to start planning another one in the next few months, but there is nothing like swimming through the ocean for a few hours followed by a fresh meal under the sun.

What’s one thing you’re grateful for right now?

Being in a place where I feel like I can do what I want both personally and professionally without feeling like I’m making sacrifices that I don’t want to make.