“My life has been one big failure in the sense that every mistake led me to another career opportunity or to push me into the next level of my dreams,” that’s the response from Former New York City Deputy Public Advocate Reshma Saujani, the first Indian American woman to run for Congress, when asked to reflect upon her best career advice.
Recently named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World, she’s written a book appropriately titled, “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way.” When she ran for Congress, some said it was ‘too soon’ for her to run and said she needed to ‘wait her turn.’ Nonetheless, she chose to run anyway and the lessons she learned from that experience are among those she shares in her book.
In between her law career and running for various public offices she found time to build her non-profit organization, Girls Who Code— an initiative to motivate more young women to pursue computer science.
During our interview the lawyer and politician gave insight on how millennial woman can better their work ethic and enhance their vision. Most importantly, she shared why failure is instrumental in any woman’s career journey.
Her Agenda: What did you learn from practicing litigation law?
Reshma Saujani: Practicing litigation law helped me find my niche in doing numerous things. By growing my skill sets, I was able to give people who could not afford what they deserved to access. There are many in New York City who do not have the finances get the proper justice they need. I believe it was my duty to give back to the communities represented in those people.
Her Agenda: You launched Girls Who Code, what inspired you to create the non-profit?
Reshma Saujani: I launched my non-profit because there is a high need of women in the computer science field. I find it important to equip young women with the skills they need for the vastly changing job market. I want the next generation to be prepared.
HA: What can millennial women learn from your book “Women Who Don’t Wait In Line“?
Reshma: Millennial women can learn not to take no for an answer. It is important for them to be passionate about what they are interested in rather than be focused on an end result. My book allows young women to really own the skills they have by creating their own career and revenue.
HA: How will you change the image of women in politics?
RS: My purpose in changing the image of women in politics is to create a space where women who were not initially represented in the political arena are present. Therefore, it will show women and girls it is possible to take the risk and fight for their issues because their voices are being heard.
HA: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve gotten?
RS: The best advice I received was to put myself first and take risks. It helps you to prioritize what is most important for you to achieve without becoming overwhelmed. My life has been one big failure in the sense that every mistake led me to another career opportunity or to push me into the next level of my dreams.
HA: What’s your motto?
RS: Fail fast, fail hard, fail often.
You can win a copy of Reshma’s book, “Women Who Don’t Wait In Line” by telling us about a time you had the courage to fail in our comments section below.
[UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SUBMITTED. VIEW THE WINNING ENTRY HERE.]