In the Suite Podcast Episode 16: Using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and The Art of the Pivot to Eliminate Bad Debt with Nami Baral, Founder and CEO of Harvest Platform

Nami Baral, Founder and CEO of Harvest Platform
Nami Baral, Founder and CEO of Harvest Platform

Today In The Suite welcomes Nami Baral, a woman who has found a way to magically blend passion and purpose in her career. Nami is the founder and CEO of Harvest Platform, a financial services company committed to helping consumers increase net worth & achieve financial stability. The company, which uses AI & automation to reduce users’ debt, is backed by a group of powerhouse investors, including Barclay’s Bank, Kleiner Perkins and Lakehouse VC.

However, Nami wasn’t always sitting at the helm of a FinTech startup. Growing up in a South Asian home, Nami was groomed to become a doctor, and it was actually medicine that brought her from Nepal to the states. Nami came over expecting some sort of Utopian world but instead was met by the 2008 financial crisis that brought more hopelessness and economic despair than Nami imagined. 

Desiring to understand how a mature economy could find itself in such economic peril, Nami shifted from medicine to economy and math. Her first job after graduating was as an Investment Banker before shifting into the digital start-up world, having decided that the pace of growth in IB wasn’t aligned to her professional desires.  

The art of the pivot is something that came up frequently in our discussion. As Nami states, “When you take calculated risks and have the conviction to follow them through…they pay off.”

And it certainly has for Nami. Before her current chapter at Harvest Platform, the ambitious woman worked in a number of executive roles at Twitter under Jack Dorsey. What I loved about our discussion was the unapologetic tone in which Nami speaks to her career highlights. While unfair, Nami believes that her success – and the success of other women – is tied to working twice as hard. Yet, she believes women are already doing that – so it’s actually important that women become more confident and start owning and become the face of what they’re doing. 

After Twitter, Nami created Harvest Platform to support the average American, who is riddled with debt. Harvest Platform was really the sum of her previous experiences – from the numbers and attention to detail learned in finance, to the people management and consumer challenges taught by Twitter. Nami wanted to develop a platform that that tackled debt as most financial services innovations were focused on the upside (e.g. save more, invest more, trade more) of the wealth equation.

While the entrepreneur life is not without its fair share of challenges, Nami seems to be handling it all – while being a new mom – with grace. Her story is an undeniable testament to how living life on passion and purpose always grants you a seat In The Suite. Take a listen to the episode and follow the below three steps to help you to find out how you can start tapping into the beauty of the pivot. 

  1. Confidence Assessment: According to Nami, many women work twice as hard as their male counterparts, but aren’t owning what they’re doing. Think through your biggest projects over the past 6 months to a year and ask yourself whether you feel you evangelized your efforts and if there was anything else you could’ve done to ensure your best work received the attention and support you believe it needed. Although it may be hard, it’s good to consider what else you could’ve done to ensure you start doing it moving forward. 
  2. Forward Thinking: As Nami mentions, we’re the sum of our experiences. If that’s the case, what you’re doing now is helping blaze a path for where you’ll be in 5-10 years. Take the time to think about where you want to be in your career in the next 5-10 years and start making an action plan for how you’ll get there. Think through the types of experiences, skill sets and/or trainings you may need to have to get you there. 
  3. Education on Productive versus Unproductive Debt: Who in your life could benefit from learning more about productive vs. unproductive debt (and it’s okay if that person is you)? Spend some time checking out Harvest Platform and sharing it with a friend or two who you believe could benefit from it. 

Show Notes:

Today In The Suite welcomes Nami Baral, Founder and CEO of Harvest Platform. Nami is an innovative and ambitious woman who finds herself at a unique point in time: a FinTech founder working at the intersection of finance and technology. And as an investment banker turned executive turned female founder, Nami has illustrated through her career the beauty of the pivot.  

In our discussion, Nami walks us through each major shift she’s made in her career and how all of her previous chapters helped write the one she’s currently in with Harvest Platform.

Nami created Harvest Platform to support the average American, who is riddled with debt. Backed by a group of powerhouse investors, Harvest Platform uses AI & automation to help users reduce bank fees, credit card charges and more, to ultimately increase net worth & achieve financial stability.

With a wealth of experience making challenging career choices, Nami shares her wisdom for how women at every stage of their career can walk the tight rope of being a woman and being successful in the business world. Her story is an undeniable testament to how living life on passion and purpose always grants you a seat In The Suite.

Join the conversation to hear more about:

  • How medicine brought Nami from Nepal to New York (5:20)
  • Why Nami believes the recession we’re in right now is markedly different from years’ past (8:37)
  • Advice on where new grads can take their career (12:00)
  • Nami’s experience at Twitter, working under Jack Dorsey (15:30)
  • How a female leader gets on the radar of someone like Jack Dorsey and benefits from their leadership (18:36)
  • Why Nami believes that each of her unique career chapters was needed to launch Harvest Platform (24:40)
  • How Harvest Platform tackles an oft ignored financial area (31:05)
  • The leading indicator of financial health that is at the center of Harvest Platform (33:14) 
  • Why success stories are integral for start ups and the ones Harvest Platform has heard (40:45)
  • The debt distinction Americans would benefit from understanding (46:00)
  • How you know you have what it takes to be a founder (53:07)
  • The psychological and physical things Nami leans on for strength (58:39)

Referenced Material:

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