Rita Kandamkalam

Brand Manager, Thomas St. John Group
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What do you do for work? Give us a few reasons why you love it.
Currently, I’m the Brand/Communications Manager for a Business Management firm. I work out of the LA office, but I handle all branding and communications across 3 offices (LA, London, Amsterdam). I love my job because it allows me to create a voice that didn’t quite exist. The possibilities are endless. I work closely with some of the most intelligent and well-rounded people I’ve ever met. The job allows me to be fully creative. It brought out skills that I didn’t know I had. I was constantly tested and put in very uncomfortable situations. This job allowed me to overcome a lot of fears.
 
Your current company aside, name another company that you admire and explain why.
Everlane (apparel). Many companies speak about being transparent but have nothing to show for it. Everlane on the other hand displays it right on the website by showcasing the exact cost breakdown of their clothing.
 
In your opinion, what is wrong with the corporate world and how would you fix it?
The focus is too heavily placed on the client/customer and so little on its people. Most visions, missions and values speak to how the company and its staff will work to ensure the full satisfaction of its client, but they have failed to realize that it starts with the workforce.
 
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life?
There is no greater intelligence than kindness and empathy. Leadership is the ability to lead without authority.
 
Who are your role models or influences? Explain what makes them special.
A role model in my life is one of my old managers, Suhailah Yoba. She was an incredible boss. She was tough and expected a great deal, but gave a great deal. She was an exceptional leader and now a great mentor. She taught me how to dissect problems, to see the big picture and consider all sides.
 
How do you measure success at work? In life?
Inspire, Motivate and Influence. I strive to inspire, motivate and influence others to do good and pay it forward. I believe this is vital for success and my success is as only as great as the success of the others around me both at work and in life.
 
How do you want the world to be different because you lived in it?
I want people to be kinder, be more empathetic. To realize that our problems are not as big as they seem. Be more open to change and know that happiness is truly a choice.