Riya Patel has been with Dcode since 2018 and we can’t imagine the team without her.
Riya graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in International Relations and Russian Language. During her studies, she found time for career development opportunities that included Summer Fellowships with both the Defense Innovation Board and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment. She held several long-term roles at Tufts University, working in policy enforcement, conflict resolution, and events management. Her extensive and well-rounded experience made her the ideal candidate for Dcode’s growing team.
One thing most people don’t know about Riya is that she speaks 4 languages, but she was kind enough to answer our questions in English.
It’s time to get personal with Riya Patel!
1) What attracted you to Dcode?
There is a lot of “hoopla” around the federal tech innovation scene. However, a lot of the promise around government innovation is just that — promise. Dcode was a rare opportunity to deliver on that promise. Every day, we are working on things meant to disrupt and improve how the government operates. It’s rare to find a company so in touch and inspired by its mission.
2) What makes it special?
I think a lot of people feel that the “special” part of Dcode is our accelerator model. Really, the special part of Dcode is the team behind it all. For a small team of people who have a variety of after-work hobbies, the amount of things we accomplish every week blows my mind.
3) Cool title — you sound like a spy. What are the secrets for targeting innovation in government?
Without giving away too much of the Dcode magic, for me, efficient government targeting involves understanding and engaging with all of the stakeholders involved in a program. Understanding who controls what components of a program, and then being able to adapt your message to uniquely address each of the stakeholder’s challenges, yields the best results.
4) What’s your favorite foodie spot in DC?
Curry & Pie has an $8 personal Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza that could feed me for four days straight. That is literally the definition of a win-win!
5) What has been a big influence for you growing up? How does that shape what you bring to work every day?
My family (surprise, surprise!) was a huge influence while growing up. I’m lucky to have parents and a huge extended family that supports me pursuing the “untraditional.” I’ve never been one to follow what’s expected of me — and rather than forcing me to lead a more traditional life that I would be unhappy with, my family has allowed me to pursue career paths and hobbies that many immigrant parents would shun. My parents’ work ethic and appreciation for creativity and passion have shaped how I approach my job every single day.
6) What do you do to get pumped up?
I have an aggressive but highly motivating playlist of ABBA, Cardi B, and Bollywood. And I put on some large earrings!
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