We are thrilled to introduce you to one of our biggest supporters and former board member, Shaziah Singh - a lawyer for Nixon Peabody in New York City. Read on and get to know Shaziah.
"What's your purpose in life?"
My purpose in life is to be a contributing member of society. My parents raised me to first and foremost be a good person. I strive to demonstrate this through my career, volunteering, and charitable giving. I always strive to try to make the world a better place, even if it is in the smallest way.
"How did you originally get connected with Sundara?"
I met Sundara’s Founder, Erin, as a freshman in college during a psychology seminar, where we sat next to each other and bonded over our mutual fascination with the class. From there, we shared a lot of the same friends throughout college and were able to stay in touch. One day, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw Erin post about Sundara and how she was looking for Board Members to get involved. I thought that it was an amazing non-profit, and I felt very connected to it as my roots stem from India.
"What did you find to be the most rewarding part of your time being on the board of Sundara?"
Seeing the actual impact that we had and how our work became self-sustaining was the most rewarding part of working with Sundara. Also, seeing Erin’s dedication, passion, and determination and how it rubs off on everyone she comes into contact with was particularly rewarding.
"Tell us about your professional career and background. What part of your life are you currently finding the most rewarding or meaningful?"
I went to law school in Cleveland, Ohio, and I am now a corporate lawyer, focusing on mergers and acquisitions. I believe that the most meaningful thing that I am currently doing is helping some of our clients as they navigate COVID-19 and try to stay afloat while keeping their employees. I have found this to be an extremely fulfilling part of my job.
"What is your biggest accomplishment?"
My biggest accomplishment would have to be figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I went into college thinking that I wanted to be a doctor or a dentist, as most of my family is in the healthcare field, so I thought that I was supposed to do the same with my life. I stuck with this idea the whole way through college and even started a post-bac program to get my Masters in Biomedical Sciences. Then, during this time, at the age of 23, I realized that it was not what I wanted to do, so I decided to take a year to work and study before going to law school. I think that being true to myself and breaking out from what everyone had told me to do was the right path, and it has been such a huge part of my journey.
"What made you who you are today?"
I believe that my parents and their experiences made me who I am today. My father grew up in a one-room home with his parents and siblings in India. He was the first one in his family to attend college and the first one to attend medical school. My parents made sure my sisters and I realized the importance of education, and they always told us that we could achieve whatever we put our mind to. They have instilled in us a work ethic and drive to do better and be better. I see how much my parents have sacrificed and how hard they have worked to transform their lives. I feel inspired to make them proud.
"Can you tell us why the organization and its work speaks to you?"
The organization speaks to me on multiple levels. One of them being the ultimate goal of empowering women, which has always been close to my heart. Also, the initial connection with India and knowing the difficulty many people face accessing clean water and soap really drew me to Sundara.
"What is your hope for 2021?"
My hope for 2021 is some bit of normalcy, at least as normal as it can be. I’m hoping that the United States can really come together and find some common ground. And, of course, I am hoping that we can finally get rid of Covid-19.
"What advice do you have for anyone who is committed to giving back more this year?"
I would advise you to find causes that speak to you and to give back in any way that you can. Do whatever you can to help, whether that be volunteering, monetary, or raising awareness. It can be as simple as posting about your non-profit of choice on social media and encouraging others to get involved.
"Why would you tell other people to care about the work Sundara is doing?"
Sundara touches people in so many different ways. Sundara’s most recent work with small businesses is so important in this current climate. They are committed to helping minority women who might otherwise never get the opportunity to take their business to the next level. I would also tell people to care about Sundara because it is so relevant given the current pandemic. I remember being shocked when I learned that there are people in the world who do not know what soap is and had never seen soap in their lives. Now more than ever, it is vital that we make sure that everyone across the world can access these basic necessities.