Tell us who you are!
Raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, I now live and work in Chicago, which is now home. An idealist by default, I have learned the importance of tempering my idealism with realism / pragmatism to drive change, achieve tangible results and advance the agenda. I strongly believe in the transformational power of thought and visualization. I enjoy cooking, travelling, the arts, and nature-based activities. I speak five languages and am a French language instructor, certified by the Alliance Francaise, which is where discovered my love for the French language and also trained many students in conversational French. My French language skills have opened doors to unexpected and interesting opportunities including living and working in France.
Tell us more about your career steps and other projects you were part of!
My corporate career started in the U.S., where I spent almost a decade in corporate finance with Accenture, a global consulting firm. It is here that I gained valuable experience and skills in business and global operations. I enjoyed the dynamic fast-paced nature of my work with teams from around the world. I also had the opportunity to lead projects internationally in the Asia-Pacific region. It was during my work pricing global deals that I interacted with a lot of lawyers, which eventually led to my career in law. I quit my job, took a three-week vacation to Peru and went back to law school full-time. I am now an attorney practicing in-house at Allstate, the second largest personal lines insurer in the United States and the largest that is publicly held, in the corporate investments, securities and governance areas. Switching careers was a challenging transition but I now find myself uniquely positioned to solve problems at the intersection of law, business and finance. My international experience and diverse skill set enable me to connect the dots and be a more effective business partner.
In addition to my day job, I find immense gratification in volunteer and pro bono work. My legal pro bono work includes representing asylum seekers and clemency petitioners. A certified domestic violence advocate, I serve on the board of a women’s shelter in Chicago, Connections for Abused Women and their Children. I also volunteer as a mentor at Upwardly Global, helping qualified immigrants through their job search and integration in the professional workforce in the U.S., and work with a local charter school that empowers youth in underserved Chicago neighborhoods.
What does “Social Capital” mean to you?
Social capital to me is the value and power of one’s relationships, building bridges across ideas and cultures, and harnessing these relationships for the benefit of oneself and society. What we now call “social capital” or “networking” is something I saw my mother do informally and effortlessly just by virtue of being part of a community. Growing up I watched her diligently build and sustain relationships with family and friends locally and internationally but being an introvert, I never fully appreciated the importance of proactively establishing and sustaining relationships. It is only as an adult and a professional did I realize just how important these relationships are in propelling us forward individually and collectively.
What makes you successful in life/current job?
Generally speaking, I do not take no for answer very easily, from others or from myself. And I also do not give no for an answer as far as I can help it. I believe in taking informed risks and sometimes a leap of faith because I find intuition combined with intellect to be a powerful guiding force. Finally, it is all about one’s willingness to detach from the outcome and simply try! One of my favorite quotes is by Pat Summit, an American women’s college basketball head coach: “You can’t always be the most talented person in the room. But you can be the most competitive.”
At a macro level, introspection and self-awareness are critical to success and fulfillment — personal or professional. I take time to reassess priorities from time to time, and take feedback seriously, especially the negative parts.
What can you offer your 1World Mentee?
We are often blind-sided about our own strengths and weaknesses, and it helps to have someone from a different vantage point sensitize us to things that we may not see ourselves. I have been extremely fortunate have had great mentors, and aspire to offer my mentees a different perspective, relevant connections and meaningful strategies to grow their network and achieve their goals / discover their path.