By Snehalata Kadam
ISW Women Empowering Women (WEW) held its summer event on Thursday, August 12, inviting a panel of 5 professional women from varied backgrounds. The rationale behind this event was showcasing how different talents leads to one’s contentment. Each speaker shared their intriguing stories, career choices and hurdles they faced in their journey so far. It was fun to hear their stories, ask questions and the engaging audience appreciated the insights.
Priya Vaidya, A multi-talented personality:
After completing her M. Tech. in Biomedical Engineering from IIT Bombay, Powaii, her desire was to pursue further studies in United States. Per the demands of a conservative society in India, she got married. Instead, she came to the US on a student visa and completed her Masters in Electrical Engineering from Brandeis University. Though she was keen on pursuing her PhD in the Bio-Medical field, she concluded that her happiness was more important than her potential academic profession. Fast forward to today. Not getting a PhD degree did not stop her from being any less successful as a professional. She has published 15 papers and has 12 patents. While being at the peak of her successful professional career, she followed her creative intellect with poetry, art, and culinary skills. She has also poured many hours and days volunteering and fund raising.
Sarmistha Bera, Singer
Just like many of us, Sarmistha went through the norms of an arranged marriage and moved to the US on a dependent visa. Prior to her move, she was a college teacher back in India and was quite sure of continuing with a career in education in the US. She kept an open mind and investigated available opportunities and what she could enjoy professionally beside teaching. She decided to do her masters in Computer Science. At the same time, she had a very young child at home and another on the way. With her hands full, she had to keep aside her love for music. As she was hoping to get back to her world of music once she was free of familial responsibilities, she brought her musical instruments with her when she moved to US. She also thrives on experimenting with growing unique plants at home. She has grown a three foot tall Jamun tree. Nature and gardening has taught her to be grounded. One day you are planning to harvest your precious cauliflower in your vegetable garden. The next day you see an animal has cleared it all. It is such a bummer yet such an experience grounds you to go ahead and try again next year.
Amita Naik, Environmentalist
Amita also came to US on a dependent visa, but the stay at home scenario didn’t stop her from exploring opportunities to understand and learn about the difference between tropical agriculture and temperate one. She did not let go of her love of agriculture and environmental sustainability. She joined the library, attended green and suitability conferences, volunteered at the environmental health department through a connection she made at one of the conferences. Once she got her Employment Authorization Document, she worked at Price Chopper to build her employment record. As she had done a Masters, she did question whether she was doing the right thing. She felt working at Price Chopper made her a resilient person. At the same time she updated her resume, made connections, and never gave up until she finally got a job in her field. Initially the struggle was inevitable with working odd shifts at Price Chopper. Now she has a great job at the MassDEP (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection).
Radhika Bisht, enjoying the constancy and the unconditional love with her dog Zeus
Radhika grew up with dogs in her house back in India. After moving to the US, doing a Masters in Software Engineering and joining the workforce, the ups and the downs on the professional front, the effort raising the family, she really yearned for the unconditional love of a pet. Once she got her pet Zeus, she felt complete. She got a feeling of contentment and closer to nature through him. She found the weather wouldn’t bother her and her work stress would disappear with the smile that Zeus would bring to her face. The one thing she truly treasures with Zeus every single moment is reliving her childhood.
Karuna Gurbaxani Bhatia, a multicultural accounts expert
Karuna has done a masters in business management from India. She has worked in multiple countries- in India, in the UAE and now in the US. As a management leader working with employees from different cultural backgrounds has broadened her perspective and trained her to be a robust learner. She is very passionate about yoga and uses it to create a family environment of togetherness at home and to build a better future. Her lesson in life is that the definition of perfection is unique for each individual, three is no general definition that fits everyone.