Pinky Raina


Chief Financial Officer
U.S. Soccer Federation

                

FIELD  
Finance

JOINED  
2019


INTERVIEWED BY
Kaimyn Paszko, U.S. Soccer Development Associate



Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?

At a very young age, I moved from India to Malaysia with my parents. I attended school in Singapore and crossed the border every day to attend an English-medium school. After spending ten years in Malaysia, my parents moved again but this time to the United States. Assimilating to school life proved to be a challenge not academically, but culturally. I learned that I had to sharpen my interpersonal skills and very quickly transformed from being an introvert. Life is about choices and I chose to set stretch goals for my college education. I completed a Double Major in Business and Economics in three years at Rhodes College in Memphis. In addition, I completed my MBA in one year at the University of Memphis while completing an internship at Deloitte. Getting my CPA was the cherry on top. Today, as a working mom, I try to carve out time to kick a few soccer balls with my nine-year-old son. 

 



What does your day-to-day look like?


Each day at work is an opportunity to solve problems. I am a change agent. I question the SALY (same as last year) approach and drive efficiencies in the organization to promote a culture of continuous improvement.  I am data-driven and results oriented. I encourage my team and the organization to achieve measurable success. 

 

As the CFO, preserving the financial assets of the organization is my first priority. The next priority is being a business partner to drive operational and commercial excellence.  Engaging our business on short-term goals and long-term strategy will ensure there is alignment and value creation for the organization.  

 

 



What do you love about your current job?


Sports in general evoke strong emotions.  I joined U.S. Soccer in a year the women were striving for a consecutive World Cup victory.  I don’t remember feeling that nervous sensation in the pit of my stomach since I sat for my CPA.  I felt that watching the Women’s World Cup semi-final and final matches. There was passion, excitement, nerves, all rolled up in one. In my current role, I see the value of what my team and I do – preserving our assets to continue long-term investments in soccer. 


All pathways are different; how did you get to where you are?

For me, it was not about being at the right place at the right time. When I started my career, the role of mentors and sponsors were not as defined as it is today.  I had to find my own path. I learned from each experience – success or failure. I pushed through the hard times and used that experience to learn and get better, making the most of each experience.

 




What advice would you give to women seeking a position in your field?


Researching about the roles & responsibilities of a CFO/Finance Leader and whether that resonates with you, is important. Don’t take on a position that you are not passionate about.  If you are unsure whether you are passionate about the field of finance, sign up for an internship to experience it first-hand.  Find a mentor – the right mentor. A mentor-mentee relationship is about trust as you are going to rely and act on his/her guidance. Don’t rush into it as you are not just checking a box.

 

 



who is someone who inspires you the most and why?


PepsiCo’s former CEO, Indra Nooyi. She is one who not only balanced, but excelled  at being a successful businesswoman and a mom. I don’t know about the support or the advocates she had, to help her get to where she is, but what matters to me the most is that she broke through all the barriers. She’s Indian and I feel she would have dealt with some of the same challenges that I feel I’ve had, i.e. you make a choice every day - when you prioritize work and when you prioritize family!