Welcome to Eve’s new interview series called My Hero. What’s it all about? Just in case the title doesn’t say it all, here’s a little background.
During my 3 1/2 year-trek through college, I relied heavily on my own skills and talents. I knew who I was and who I wanted to be. When senior year rolled around, I was even more driven to pursue a career in book publishing, knowing that I would be the first in my family to do so. I believed that I could do it. I was determined. I was accomplished. I had a stacked resume!
Reality hit when the book publishing business was barely hiring. Even when a publisher was, they didn’t want me. I wasn’t knowledgeable enough. That was the “ah-ha” moment that caused me to look beyond my own accomplishments and focus on others. How did they get their successes? After a long heart-to-heart…with myself, I stood up straight and realized that we don’t all start out as tycoons of our industry. There’s a history to it. It’s the person we become along the way that separates us from the others.
My Hero is about the strong women that succeed because of who they became along their own journeys. As you will quickly see, every journey is different. The women featured are iron-winged angels. Strong yet compassionate. Determined, yet encouraging. Courageous, yet accessible. They are daughters, mothers, wives, professionals, and sometimes all of this and more. They are us. They are strong for us and they make us strong. They are my heroes, and I hope they will be yours.
In my first installment, I talk with Amreeta Regmi. Her name may not be well known – not in our circles anyway. But around the international, United Nation’s table she’s a force to be reckoned with. Amreeta Regmi is a powerful woman both professionally and mentally. Regmi’s civic life is defined by her background with the World Bank, the United Nations, and the numerous nonprofit organizations she has worked with or started. Simply stated, Amreeta is an inspiration to any woman. With family as her driving force, Regmi conquers it all.
Gracie: How did you decide to get into politics?
Amreeta: I think politics was subtly ingrained in my personality, though there had never been an opportunity for its manifestation in my public life. My professional and civic lives all have shaped my interest in politics. When I was in my late teens, I saw a young girl, addressing a huge crowd standing on a pedestal in the sidewalks of crowded streets of Kathmandu, my city of birth where I spent my young adult life. The girl was the daughter of a prominent attorney and political activist. This image of the girl on a pedestal has ever since stuck in my mind – and raised political thoughts in me that perhaps someday, I could do the same. In my professional life, organizations that I worked for also shaped my interest in politics where I considered myself being nonpolitical. I have worked for non-governmental organizations including, United Nations agencies, the United States Agency for International Development, and the World Bank. These organizations are inherently political, whether we like it or not. I have learned to adapt from working for these entities, where I learned the meaning of politics in a practical sense.
In terms of civic work, I was involved in voluntary community work from my high school days at Saint Mary’s in Kathmandu, Nepal. I never ceased to continue my voluntary work. It taught me not only to find satisfaction through community service but also to value networks and connections. For example, when I was working in Indonesia, I collected the ballots of overseas Americans and coordinated with the U.S. Embassy to bring the ballots home. This is when my formal entry to political life began. In September 2012, I represented the 7th Congressional District from the State of Georgia as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Gracie: How old were you when you knew you could succeed?
Amreeta: I do not recall a specific age, but between school and home: demands of the Catholic nuns that taught me at school and my home atmosphere where I was surrounded by strong and determined women – my mother, my grandmother, and others, expectations were always high. We had to excel but we were also taught from early on that success does not come overnight. My father taught me my first alphabets when I was three and emphasized the value of learning as a lifelong process. Success requires hard work, perseverance and never giving up. I was told again and again, the story of an ant trying to climb a gigantic wall and how the tiny ant would fall off the wall again and again in its attempts to climb but the ant never gave up. We have to remember the story of this ant whenever we talk about success.
Gracie: What is your overall attitude day-to-day?
Amreeta: Take life in a stride, one step at a time, do your best and God will do the rest. What this translates into is when one is ready to put the best foot forward, all your networks, support structures, friends and family will go out of their ways to assist you. I also like to maintain a Buddhist philosophy in life: calmness conquers complex situations and anger only consumes oneself. This philosophy is useful when dealing with stress.
Gracie: What’s the key to success in your experience?
Amreeta: The key to success is having 100% confidence and being confident of your worth. With confidence comes other necessary trajectories required in being successful – desire to learn, share, give back, and innovate.
Gracie: Who do you look up to and why?
View the full interview on EVE