This June marked the beginning of DSPolitical’s new Diversity and Inclusion event series for DSPolitical employees, the DEI Speaker Series. Working towards the series’ goal of exposing DSPolitical employees to ideas and lessons from leaders of diverse backgrounds within the fields of politics, data, and technology, this July we welcomed our second speaker, Anjana Rajan.
Anjana, technology executive and entrepreneur, is a leading expert in applying cryptography to national security and human rights issues. She is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Polaris, an NGO that uses data-driven strategies to disrupt and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery. Prior to working at Polaris Anjana worked to build cryptographically-advanced technology to combat sexual assault as the Chief Technology Officer of Callisto, worked on privacy-preserving methods to eradicate mass gun violence caused by white supremacist terrorists as a Tech Policy Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and served as a Commanding Officer for deploying big data software platforms in the Middle East at Palantir Technologies. Anjana has also worked at Johnson & Johnson, was a Knight Scholar at Cornell University, has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Operations Research and Information Engineering, and is also a former elite triathlete who raced for Team USA.
Needless to say, we were honored and humbled to have the opportunity to hear Anjana speak and answer questions from our employees. During the hour-long event, Anjana spoke to us about living her convictions and focusing her career on the intersection of Tech and Human Rights. She also provided insight into progressive spaces where the work being done can often overshadow cracks in organizations that prevents the mission from reaching its full potential. To this, she spoke of her experiences challenging power and leadership blindspots over the course of her career. Anjana also spoke candidly about staying mentally healthy and the division between work and life- and how sometimes that division is nonexistent.
The hour Anjana was scheduled to speak flew by quickly and when time was up it was obvious everyone could have stayed for another hour to continue listening to Anjana’s inspiring anecdotes, advice, and answers to our questions. A big thank you to the DEI Task Force for another powerful and inspiring event, and an even bigger thank you to Anjana for the incredibly important work she does and for taking time out of her busy day to speak to us!