Showing posts with label ECHO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ECHO. Show all posts

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Motivational Speaker for Gemeente Amsterdam Diversity Program

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Amsterdam. It really feels like home for me and that's saying a lot given that I have moved so much since I was a teenager. From India to the United States (San Francisco, New York and Boston), I finally came to the Netherlands about a decade ago. So, was really happy to get an invite from the Gemeente Amsterdam (the Amsterdam municipality) to give a motivational talk for a program they have initiated a few years ago to improve diversity and support those less represented in positions of power.

Of course, usually I associate the municipality with paying my taxes and water bills and all the tedium of city governance. Had to block that Pavlovian training temporarily as I went about participating and speaking about my life story to this wonderful group of young mentees and mentors of this diversity program.

This mentoring program is in partnership with a wonderful organization called ECHO which is an expert organization on diversity policy. It links students/fresh graduates of color to professionals in the public and private sector. It’s a two way street where mentees learn from the professional experience of their mentors and the mentors learn from the challenges mentees face and hopefully reflect on their own blind spots. The idea is this process will hopefully contribute to more diversity and inclusion in the participating organizations.

My motivational speech was part of the closing session. It was good to not speak about academia for a change and focus more on how I got to where I got through the numerous experiments, failures with careers, hopping careers and countries and through this whole process, discovering myself. I spoke about the pressures of being a "token" as an Indian woman in the Netherlands and the responsibilities, privileges, and roles we play to represent entire communities whether we like it or not.

This kind of talk really keeps me grounded and am glad I got an opportunity to do it.