“I got fired from my own company by my ex-husband. Part of it had to do with the Middle Eastern dynamic. I was the one who put in the capitol and I trusted him when he said, “Don’t worry your name is on it.” My name wasn’t on it. Part of it was cultural being Persian – the man is in control of the finances and part of it was that I was asleep at the wheel. I think a man wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. They would have made sure their name was on the papers.” – Cam Kashani is the Co-Founder and CEO of COACCEL, the human accelerator.
“When I was a young girl I was encouraged to be a performer, to be an actress and singer. My grandmother would take me around as a cute little girl to sing at different community places. That enabled me to be a storyteller, to be able to walk into a room and be comfortable. I was one of the first women in tech in Philly and that has given me good access and opportunity because people were looking for diversity. I don’t see being a woman as a challenge I see it as a benefit.” – Danielle Cohn is the Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement at Comcast and leads the Lift Lab for entrepreneurs.
“My father passed away a few months ago. He was from India and when he moved to the United States he didn’t want to maintain strong connections with his roots. Eight years ago I went to India and I got to know my Indian family. One of the happiest days of my life was when I realized I had didis. “Didi” means older sister in Hindi and can include cousins. My didis are the eldest daughters of my father’s youngest sister. The warmth and love between us was immediate. It was unconditional. They didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. I didn’t know I had didis growing up. I mean WTF. Now we have a didis group on Whatsapp. My Father wanted me to take a safe path, be a lawyer and I pursued a different path. We butted heads until my mid-30’s and then this trip to India was a new beginning for my father and me. He started telling me stories about the bumpy path of his immigration. When he was on his deathbed, he told my brother to bring his ashes to the Ganges River. It is the son who has to bury the father. There’s no role for the woman in the ritual, as my mother told me. I couldn’t take the trip to India this year, to the Ganges – the day my mother and brother went there I cried so hard. But I was with them in spirit. And I’m so glad our Indian family took such good care of them.” – Kirin Kalia is the Director of Communications at KITE.