Offbeat: Rijish Raghavan - Giving bartenders & sportsmen a run for their money

Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more.  

Rijish Raghavan is the COO of Payback India. He essays the role of a brand custodian, who is responsible for revenue generation for the company through retention and acquisition of partners and identifying new business lines for revenue generation. 

With over 22 years of experience in Partner Management and Business Development in loyalty marketing, financial services and travel industry, Raghavan has been steering the business and defining overall profitability strategy of the company. He has set the course for the company, enabling it to grow from strength-to-strength. His commitment to process excellence, execution and mentoring a large team of partner managers, has enabled Payback to emerge as a partner of choice for leading corporates. 

A post graduate diploma in Business Management from Xavier’s Institute of Management, Raghavan has a deep understanding of analytics, marketing and technology functions. He started his career as District sales manager with Yellow Pages. He joined Payback in 2013, where he has been part of the core team, and has served the organisation since, handling various partner business. 

Apart from work, Raghavan is an athletic enthusiast. He loves to jog and play squash in his free time and has completed 3 half marathons. 

A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
As a child, I was more proficient in sports than in academics. I took a stab at almost every sport which I had access to. Even today whenever I get an opportunity to play cricket, football or squash, I can give some of the regulars a run for their money! 

Any superhero fetish and what power you wish you possessed?
I don’t have any superhero fetish, nor do I have any such unrealistic expectations. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
I am naturally conditioned to take my fears head-on by looking at it in the eye. However, the fear of not having my near and dear ones around me at all times is something that I am not prepared to face or to even think about.  

A secret that you have which no one knows about?
There are a few secrets that will go with me to my grave, but let me use this platform to broadcast one less known fact about me. I am an introvert and prefer to be in my cocoon unless provoked. I have occasionally tried to socialise at this point, but nobody believes me when I say this. What surprises me is that even my wife and daughter vehemently disagree with me on this subject! 

What would one find in your playlist?
While I love music, I don’t have a specific playlist that’s always on my handheld. I like old Hindi songs and also Ghazals by Jagjit Singh.  

Your go-to activity to relax?
Running is relaxation to me. I also feel energised and liberated after a good run. While I have completed a few half marathons, for now, I am content with short 4-5 km runs, which are also my ‘me time’ for reflection and preparation for the day ahead. I also feel rejuvenated when I am behind the wheels. Long drives with my family help me to relax and unwind. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt in life so far?
Control the controllable and perform your duties with the utmost honesty, commitment and personal accountability. Give it your best and stop fretting about the outcome. I am also a firm believer in destiny and Karma.  

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
Though we don’t have a pet at home, I am very fond of dogs. It saddens me when I see the plight of stray dogs and this recently got amplified when I saw tears in my 13-year-old daughter’s eyes when she was narrating how she feels about this subject. My daughter is keen to do something about it and I would like to offer her my support. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
The ability to say NO when absolutely required. This does impact me both in my professional and social circles.  

If not with Payback, what would you have been?
Perhaps a bartender, as I am the go-to person for mixing drinks at parties. So much so that some of my friends refuse a drink, unless it has my touch! 

What are three apps on your mobile you couldn’t live without?
Google maps, Netflix and WhatsApp. 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The last thing I watched on TV was a Malayalam movie just so that I can give company to my mother who was keen on watching it. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
I won’t say organisations, but since I have spent extensive time in the financial services and travel industries, I know many people in these industries, some of who are my close friends. If one specific organisation stands out among them, it will have to be American Express, where I spent close to 11 years. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
First, it still does not have the tag of an ‘Industry’, and second, there is far too much disruption for my liking. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I love to travel and have travelled all over the world extensively. I still cannot fathom the idea of settling anywhere outside India. However, if I am forced to settle abroad, it would have to be London. 


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