Making A Difference

On a Mission to Have an Impact

Varsha Rao (MBA 1995)

After founding the online cosmetics service Eve.com, Varsha Rao (MBA 1995) is now heading global operations for Airbnb, helping customers of this mission-driven company gain richer travel experiences by connecting them more closely to the people and communities they visit.

In this video, Rao talks about the opportunity entrepreneurs have to make a difference in society.

“I think the first thing I tried to do is really work with or even start organizations that are very purposeful or mission- and vision-oriented.

“First of all, I worked for McKinsey, which I felt was, at the time, an organization that had a strong sense of strategic value and I was really bought into the mission that they were creating. And then I left and I started my own company, Eve.com, where we were really trying to help women around the world, but especially in the US, build confidence in themselves by giving them access to cosmetics and other products that would help them perk up their day, perk their looks.

“Most recently now, I oversee operations for Airbnb. And to me, this is one of the most mission-driven companies in the world today, where we are trying to give everybody a sense of belonging when they travel. Allow them to really feel like they are living like a local and connecting them with people from local communities as they travel, to get a much better sense of what places are really about.

“I think the other way I have tried to make a difference is [to] hire great talent and actually lead and coach people to be the best that they can be. I spend a lot of time with young people, coaching them, helping on career-pathing conversations, helping them build skills. I am an entrepreneur by passion and training, and I want to inject that kind of entrepreneurial DNA into a lot of the teams I work with and help them bring those skills to life, so that they can help bring change to the world in the way that they know best.”

(Published September 2015)

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