March’s Alumnae Spotlight highlights some of the amazing things our Soror, Niti Ajmeri is up to! Read through her story & the advice that she has to share!
What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I work as a Designer at CallisonRTKL in the Global Retail Sector. It’s an architecture firm located in downtown NYC. Architecture is a tough field to get into – it’s predominantly male, and not as many South Asians chose that field to begin with it. I did feel a little out of place for majority of my days in high school/college, but it’s something that I have learned to accept and use it to my advantage. At NYIT, the architecture classes took up majority of my days & nights, I found myself not having time to breathe, explore or just be myself since I was always engulfed in doing things for my design classes. Joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. helped me be myself, and learn how to balance “work & play”. It helped me find an equilibrium in doing what I love, and being who I am. It taught me about confidence & professional excellence – which I still use in my field today.
What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
As mentioned earlier, just accepting the fact that I chose a different field than most around me was one of the things that I had to personally struggle with. Growing up, being different – choosing different is often hard to accept, but it’s something that makes me unique, so I love it now! I’m very big on female equality & empowerment and I often found myself in situations where I was spoken down to, and was not given the same treatment as the men in my previous firms. I’ve always had to speak up & remove myself from that situation. It comes with the field, but it’s something that I am learning to deal with.
What is your favorite part of the business/work/company?
I work in a very competitive field, where everyone is on their way of developing themselves professionally. Although I get extremely stressed out, I love the rush and the constant anxiety of meeting a deadline and working over 50 hours a week.
What is your work/life balance?
I am still learning how to balance the two! Currently I commute from Long Island – which is about an hour and a half each way. So it’s a little tough right now since my hours are pretty long. Once I am in the city – hopefully I will be able to balance it better. During the weekdays – I work, during the weekends – I usually spend time with my family & friends.
What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
I think there are many benefits. I could talk for hours about it, seriously. But if I were to choose some that come to mind right away, it would be gaining confidence, having a core group of people to always fall back on, and just having the ability to have the world at your fingertips.
What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Architecture is hard, I get it. But if it’s something that you are passionate about, and something that intrigues you – go for it. It’ll be worth it in the end!
It’s good to have a mentor, or just someone older in the field that you can go to for any questions. I didn’t have one, so I was confused about my career path for a majority of the time. So start early, get a grasp of what you are getting yourself into, and just go for it.
Why did you choose to your career path?
Food, Shelter & Clothing are the necessities in life. I love the fact that I can expand my knowledge to a level that I can help design, create & offer a necessity to someone else. My end goal is to become a part of an organization/firm that bases itself on giving back to people that cannot do so for themselves. I want to use my knowledge to give back – I guess that’s just it.
How do you measure your success?
Success is different in everyone’s eyes. But in mine – I think it’s measured by how content you are with what you do.