Pro bono work adds meaning to Raghavan’s career in branding, and she points to her mother’s work as inspiring those passions.
During an early morning (in the U.S.) Skype session, Lulu Raghavan ’97 sat in her office with a collection of books lining the wall behind her. Titles include How Women Lead, Playing to Win, and What Great Brands Do. The shelf is a window into Raghavan’s life as the managing director of the Mumbai office of Landor Associates; she helped establish the India location. The company website describes her role as leading a “small but highly diverse team of talented creatives and strategists who together unleash their creative potential for the benefit of their clients’ brands.”

Raghavan and her team have used the company’s success for good. Three years ago, the team’s creative director had the idea behind Masti Clean, a program that provides $1 hygiene kits to the street children in Mumbai. Raghavan quickly got behind the idea.

“It was exciting to use design to impact and drive social change,” she said. “Projects like this help us feel like we’re making a meaningful difference and are very rewarding. Younger people think about what value they are adding every day, and sometimes later in our careers we don’t think about that.”

As ideas come to Raghavan from team members, she sees her role as one of support and resource building.

“There are many causes that require communication and branding to get attention of potential donors and partners,” she said. “With a leap of faith, we support these ideas, and our branding work can be a powerful change agent.” Raghavan’s mother also inspired this passion for pro bono work.

“Twenty years ago, my mother established the Dignity Foundation, which is dedicated to the science of aging and providing services to mature populations in India,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve seen how it all works.” Raghavan always knew she would return to India after her time at Davidson, a place she says allowed her to interact with and understand different cultures.

“I went to college in the U.S.,” said Raghavan, “but it was very strongly instilled in me that I was sent away in order to bring brain power back to contribute to India.”

Though not always easy for an international student—with many American students who had not been exposed to different cultures—Davidson taught Raghavan a great deal. She points to courses with Professors Kuzmanovich (English), Hess (economics), Jacobus and Singerman (French) and Savage (studio art) as stand-outs.

“I never thought about just how critical English and writing skills were, but it is the most important piece of succeeding and getting ahead,” she said. “And Dr. Hess was passionate about development and taught me about the value of thinking of less privileged countries. Courses and teachers have stayed with me in ways I never would have expected. I really should email all of them and tell them what they have meant to my life.”

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