FIELDTESTED | Reshmi Rajendran

Inspired by the Kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, The Reversible Kimono Jacket is our modern reinterpretation of its heritage silhouette. This style is detailed with the bold Parva print on one side, and a subtle gradient plain on the other. To celebrate the duality of this jacket, we asked 3 women from our community who work multiple jobs by day and night to join us in the shoot. 

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Reshmi Rajendran is a nuclear scientist and the Director of Health and Life Sciences at Budding Innovations. With more than ten years of experience in research and innovation, Reshmi also has a PhD in Physics. Apart from innovative technologies, her passion also extends to socially responsible programs, leading to her work for various global causes like UNICEF and the SOS Children’s Village in Philippines.

Tell us a little more about what you do.

At Budding Innovations (BI) we connect MNC partners to new technologies through open innovation. This means that we work with Open Innovation Offices, R&D and commercial teams, understand the needs of the company, and then look for exciting new technologies that we custom make to give them unique solutions. We are different from consultants in that we execute, and have factories and partners that can convert the idea to a tangible working prototype, thus helping the company visualize better what the outcomes will be. We also help to take products to market. The other activity that we do is that we incubate startups to help mature and take technologies to market. We also work with corporates providing training and leadership especially in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit.

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Nuclear Scientist and the Director of Health and Life Sciences at Budding Innovations, how did the path towards these two careers begin? What are some big lessons you’ve learned as a part of your journey?

As a Nuclear Scientist, the journey was to explore the mysteries of the human body (tissue) using high energy particles, by a unique technique that helps us understand the characteristics much better than existing techniques. It helped me understand the necessity of working across disciplines (in this case – Physics and Medicine) to gain much better understanding than operating in silos. It was my passion to work in a field that was cutting edge. But what interested me more than academic research was translating all these learnings to commercial applications quickly and that’s how the BI journey began.

What is the value of positive impact through innovation? Why do you think the two are inherently linked?

Innovation always has to be for the greater good. In the past, innovation was more of exploration, discovery and the sustainability aspect was not explored because the consequences to mankind and the planet was not fully understood. Now, we are at the point where we know the cost of our actions to future generations. At this point, innovation is no longer solely for material gain or for driving revenue but with a larger purpose. The good thing is that companies understand this and CSR is not merely a fashionable word now. Same with technology innovation in large organizations – it is driven more and more by the positive impact it creates.

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Where does your drive and motivation come from everyday?

My drive and motivation comes from this motto of “if you do something, do it well. If not, there is no point doing it”. I push myself to excel at everything and be the best in all I do, because I believe that our time and efforts should not be taken lightly.

What is success to you and do you think you’ve achieved it?

Success to me is getting up every morning and being grateful for being able to do something I love, surrounded by family and friends who support and understand me. Success also means being able to live a healthy lifestyle and making a positive contribution by giving back to society. If I can make a positive impact today and touch someones life for the better, I am successful.

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Apart from innovative technologies, you’re also passionate about children’s rights and work for various global causes. Of which includes the UNICEF in India and the SOS Children Village, Philippines – can you tell us a little more about that?

Children’s causes are always close to my heart because I believe our future lies in the hands of our children. Protecting their hearts and innocence and giving them equal opportunities to blossom into well rounded individuals is our duty, not an option, according to me. I did my Masters in Public Administration and as part of my MPhil worked with UNICEF. I was grateful for being able to contribute to making the lives of street children better. In the SOS Childrens village, I put in place public speaking and interview skills programs for the children there and my happiest days were when they used those skills to land job.

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What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?

Honesty. I believe in total honesty because without that, nothing you say or do means anything. Honesty is tough and sometimes tough to handle but if you make a habit of it, the relationships you make and the life you lead will be beyond comparison.

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How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as a genuine person who did the best she could in all the roles she played – as daughter, sister, wife, mother, employee, employer, friend and colleague and many more. A person who was always there for anyone who reached out. Also, very importantly, a person who believed in her goals and dreams and lived life with a passion and a choice to be happy and grateful at any moment.

There’s a lot of people who have a great ambition to go after their dreams but don’t know how and where to start. What would be your advice for someone with those questions?

One advise that I tell everyone is this – when in doubt, always ask yourself “why not?” Don’t let people or culture or traditions stop you. Do what matters to you with full belief and conviction. And as for how to start, start by reaching out to other people who have done it, senior people in industry and anyone else you think could help. Nobody helps those who don’t help themselves, so you have to take the first step. Somehow.

We are inspired by Reshmi’s enduring determination are proud to have her as Fieldtesters, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Reshmi is wearing our Reversible Kimono Jacket + Parva and Sideswept Dhoti + Bottomline Grey in Size 1. 


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