Yasi Baiani is a mission-driven product leader, entrepreneur, and investor. She has been featured 3x as LinkedIn Top Voices in Technology and Healthcare as well as Business Insider’s 27 Most Impressive Harvard MBAs. Yasi is passionate about solving big problems that can help millions of people live better lives through technology and innovation. She has a background in B2C and SaaS/B2B product development. She led products and/or advised companies in the following categories: digital health, healthcare, marketplaces, SaaS, operational-heavy, gig economy, artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML), and wearables. Yasi has a customer-obsessed product development mentality focused on design, UX research and data. She’s also a public speaker and frequently gets invited to talk about the topics she’s deeply passionate about: product management, leadership, technology, healthcare, building personal brands, work-life balance, as well as health & wellness.
Growing up, Yasi Baiani’s parents were empaths who possessed a deep love for values like honesty, working hard, and helping others and engraved these values in their young daughter, Yasi, who strived to help her friends in whatever way she could. She helped tutor her academically challenged peers and even dropped off food at the houses of those in need in her endeavor to follow her parent’s guidance. This has now transformed into an internal urge to help others, which gravitated Yasi towards mission-driven companies.
However, Yasi says she did not know what being an executive meant when she was young. But looking back at her childhood, she says, “It’s clear that I was always a ‘boss girl.’ I always had a leadership drive, from leading all the games at elementary school to starting my first business when I was 14.”
Another factor that drove her to pursue her entrepreneurship journey was growing up in a country where women and girls had limited rights, making her more determined to dream big and advocate for equality and equity.
These experiences ignited a fire within her that has always guided her forward. As she embarked on Silicon Valley as a teenager, she recalled, “I became fascinated by technology and what it could enable.” Her love for using technology to solve problems the common man faced began here.
She continued, “When I experienced the power of building products and companies by utilizing technology, I felt I found my calling and never looked back.” This gravitation towards technology eventually led her to a career in venture capital and angel investment, where Yasi invested in companies like Phreesia (public with over $1Bn valuation), Virta Health (private with over $2Bn valuation), and Nova AI (acquired by Highspot). And later to the Product and Marketing executive and leadership roles in companies such as Cleo, Fitbit, Livongo/Teladoc, and athenahealth.
Over the years, Yasi has led and managed some of the best teams while creating value impact products that have been used by hundreds of thousands and millions of people. But one of the most crucial components that have helped her become an outstanding leader, she says, is the quality of Empathy. Yasi explains, “I am an empathetic leader who closely studies and listens to customers and observes market trends. Having Empathy is my superpower, combined with my clear vision and analytical thinking, that has given me the opportunity to lay out strong strategies and create category winning products at scale.”
She continues, “Empathy is an attribute that’s innate to me, but I constantly try to get better at it, too. It’s been fundamental in making me an effective product manager and leader because it allows me to have a leadership style that’s not one-size-fits-all. Instead, I try to understand what motivates each individual.” She adds that this is key for product leaders, as they rely on multiple teams to do their jobs well and on time to have a successful product launch that will perform well in the market.
As Yasi has grown in her career, she has always gone the extra mile to give back by sharing her knowledge as a speaker and writer. She says, “Making an impact has always been important to me, so I like teaching and mentoring. As a career woman, I know how hard it is to jump the professional hurdles. I see it as my responsibility to inspire others, especially all girls and women, to achieve their goals, think outside the box, and be the best version of themselves.”
She continues, “We’re in an era where social networks like LinkedIn enable this. I always advise people to find their passions and get their thoughts. While it wasn’t part of my strategy, doing this gave me exposure and created a brand around my voice.”
However, her ascent to the top wasn’t linear; Yasi says, “Like most others, I have had unexpected turns and twists, some good and others not so much. But what’s interesting when I look back is that every step was a significant growth opportunity and made me a better and stronger leader. Like Steve Jobs, one of my favorite leaders, said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”