Henna Karna: A Role Model for Women & Men in Technology
In a world where support is rare, and criticism can weigh us down, some extraordinary individuals uplift and make a heartfelt difference.
“I have interacted and seen a lot of intelligence, but you are among those few who bring a perfect combination of intelligence and attitude.” This is how an Executive Vice President colleague describes Dr. Henna Karna, a math enthusiast, AI expert, and role model who transformed the face of the insurance industry.
Throughout her teaching career and corporate leadership roles, Henna has inspired many people to strive for their best selves. She has certainly done that for herself; starting from scratch, she has come a long way. Hailing from a small village in India, Darima, to moving to the land of opportunity, she has weathered many storms with utmost courage and strength.
Her foundational years were marked by loneliness, depression, and an ongoing experience of dealing with school bullies. Grappling with meager financial means, her childhood relied on the support of the State for school lunch, hand-me-down clothing, shoes that were size 8 for her size 10 feet, and constant troubles at home. Her family had set plans for her future, hoping to make her a respectable engineer or follow her elder sister into the world of medicine. However, Henna felt a connection to mathematics and followed her passion for math, choosing to go against the grind. That’s where her inspiring story began.
From teaching math to pursuing her MBA at MIT, she worked her way up from an actuarial intern to becoming the Global Chief Data Officer at AXA XL. With over 25 years of experience, Henna has brought about a paradigm shift in the risk and insurance sector.
Driven by a mission to advance humanity through a technological evolution, she practices a pay-it-forward mindset, knowing that her efforts today will shape future generations. She believes in creating personal experiences with customers to analyze dimensions of emerging risks meticulously and provide superior, macro and micro risk management capabilities to companies to ensure economic resilience.
And, it’s not just her customers that she values; Henna is a true servant leader, caring deeply for her team. Her peers admire her and willingly transition through companies to stay under her guidance.
“I am always listening and learning,” says Henna, revealing leadership philosophy. Henna is known to work harder than anyone else and stay true to her values of leading by example. She claims that her secret to success is that you cannot make people change if they don’t want to, something she witnessed as a child. “Instead of changing people’s true capabilities, I try to learn and optimize their pre-existing talents, fostering innovation and connecting and empowering each member of the team.”
It becomes quite clear that Henna’s road to success was not smooth. It is her remarkable response to the obstacles that makes her an apt role model for the people around her. She gives reassurance that focusing on one’s growth and fostering innovative thinking translates into exponential results.
To learn more about Henna Karna and her contributions to the tech industry, check out her website.