Kappa Phi Gamma's Blog

Zehra Valani - National Board Spotlight - 2020 ED Alumnae Affairs
Posted by Zehra Valani on October 20, 2020 at 11:56am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently a full time MHA/MBA student at Texas Woman's University along with working full-time in an Administrative Position at Baylor College of Medicine in the Houston Medical Center (worlds largest Med Center!). Kappa Phi Gamma definitely prepared me in terms of time management and professional networking. 

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenge usually revolves around finding a balanced work-life balance. To ease this challenge, I'm heavily dependent on my outlook calendar. I literally have my whole life scheduled on there (even my workouts!!). I take time out every Friday to schedule my upcoming week and prioritize what projects at work, what school assignments, etc. need to be worked on a weekly basis. My outlook calendar really holds me accountable of my weekly tasks and accomplishments. 

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
What I love about my career is there is always room for growth. Healthcare is a very fast paced and constantly evolving environment, so there is always room for growth and knowledge in my field. Definitely keeps me intrigued and on my toes at all times!

What is your work/life balance?
Work-life balance can be a bit difficult but always manageable. I try to keep weekdays for work & school and keep weekends for myself, family, and friends/extracurricular activities. 

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Joining Kappa Phi Gamma positively impacted my introverted personality. I became more confident, social, and met numerous amount of sisters with various professional backgrounds.  In addition, my time management skills have definitely sharpened after joining KPHIG. 

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Advice for ANY women: Always continue educating yourself!! You can be robbed of materialistic items but not one can take away your education. Keep nourishing yourself with education and knowledge!

How do you measure your success?
I measure success with my level of knowledge. If I feel I have learned optimum information from a position and am entering a repetitive phase with my current position, then I can confidently say I have succeeded my duties in my current position and am ready for my next challenge

Be sure to follow Zehra on Instagram to stay up to date!

Sriya Ram - National Board Spotlight - 2020 VPF
Posted by Zehra Valani on October 15, 2020 at 1:54pm

Where have you traveled to?
While I was in middle school, my family decided to move to India for a few years.

How did you interact with the culture?
I enjoyed learning more and being more exposed to and involved with my culture

Were there any fears/apprehensions you had to face while on your journey?
As with any moving or new student experience, adapting to my new situation and feeling a sense of belonging were my biggest challenges. I was in a different area, exposed to different mindsets, different systems of education, cultures, perspectives, languages, and
people. Understanding and adapting to all of those aspects of a community definitely made me a little nervous.

What did you take away or bring back with you, either physical, mental, or spiritual from your journey?
I didn't have much knowledge, appreciation, or pride in my own culture until I had lived in India. I strongly believe I would have turned out a very different person had I not moved throughout my life and been exposed to so many different experiences. I gained a passion for who I was and where I came from, appreciation for what I had in life, and a connection to family members I otherwise would have never gotten close to. 

Is there anything else about your experience you'd like to share?
Learning new languages is always something really beneficial and cool to do, and I think the best way to really get comfortable in a new language is to either live in the place it originates from or expose yourself to its pop culture (TV shows, music, movies)

Jue Patel - National Board Spotlight - 2020 VPC
Posted by Zehra Valani on October 7, 2020 at 1:58pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently a Specialist Partner Liaison for Vanguard Medical Group in Fairfield, New Jersey. I work on building relationships with specialty providers around our primary care locations to improve access for patients and develop communication channels for our providers. Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepared me on how to manage a team, communicate effectively, and manage deadlines.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenge was moving to a new city for graduate school. It was my first time outside of Philadelphia and had to learn my way around a new city. One of my biggest struggles was finding a job during Coronavirus. I applied to over 20-30 jobs but didn’t give up and eventually was able to find one back in the northeast and now, I love it!

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
My favorite part of my job is working with medical staff to improve their process and workflows to make their jobs and lives easier.

What is your work/life balance?
I recently got married in June, so now I am working on my work/life balance with my husband. Work during the day, cook dinner in the evening, go for a nice walk/run around the neighborhood, and relax in the evening watching reruns of the Office.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
One of the best things of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority Inc is all the sisters you get to meet and become friends with. I moved to Richmond, VA in grad school and I didn’t know anyone, the sisters at Theta Chapter were so welcoming and now are a few of my closest friends and bridesmaids.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
For any career, I believe confidence, positive attitude, and willing to learn is key. You can always train an individual on the rule, but it’s harder to find dedicated individuals who are motivated to work and prove themselves.

How do you measure your success?
Success for me is trying my best accomplishing the goals I set for myself. I make a list of goals that I want to accomplish in my work and personal life and spend some time every day working towards those goals. If I miss a goal, I reflect back on what went wrong and improve next time.

Be sure to follow Jue on Instagram or add her on Facebook so stay up to date!

 

 

 

Nidhitha (Nidhi) Kothapalli - National Board Spotlight - 2020 VPE
Posted by Zehra Valani on September 30, 2020 at 3:58pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. benefit/prepare you for this?
I am currently finishing my application for temporary licensure in state of VA to practice clinical mental health counseling. Kappa Phi Gamma prepared me for the professional world by teaching me to separate personal from professional and always be prepared in a timely fashion. I often use our quote to motivate my clients but also emphasize the importance of standing up for ourselves no matter the obstacle.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
Being an immigrant with a temporary work visa has made it challenging to find a job but also the various new changes of changing immigration laws and departments. 

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
I love helping people, and seeing my clients grow into their best versions of themselves. 

What is your work/life balance?
Playing with my dog, I am very obsessed with him. I take multiple pictures of him over the day, if he's in the room I am always distracted. 

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Professionalism, nationwide sisterhood, networking connections
 

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?Research a lot, figure out if this is the right path for you. This career might is very fulfilling but also equally draining. It is important to increase self-awareness and evaluate how much and what is important to you. 

How do you measure your success?
By happiness. 

Sukanya Kumar - National Board Spotlight - 2020 VPI
Posted by Zehra Valani on September 24, 2020 at 5:38pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?

I currently work at Comcast as a Program Manager for the Residential Product Engineering Team. In college, I majored in Management Information Systems with a minor in Psychology. Throughout college, I did various internships in an effort to try to figure out what I wanted to do when I graduated. I had the opportunity to explore a range of industries as well as positions - from Media Design to Marketing to I.T. and finally Publishing. My last internship at Vice Media as a Global Business Analytics Intern left me thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Kappa Phi Gamma gave me the opportunity to talk to various people in the different industries I was interning in to learn more and see what my next step was based on their experience and advice.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?

Rewinding to the job application for my current position. I had no idea what the job requirements were talking about, but figured I would apply anyways because why not? Now fast forward to me one year into my role. I - a business school major with no background knowledge of anything engineering related - am working with several engineering teams to ensure our residential products are the best that they can be for our Customers. I think my biggest challenge is trying to understand engineering related terms/conversation, learning what they ACTUALLY mean, and translating them to senior leadership.


What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?

In the past year of working at Comcast, I have been able to join several groups like Women in Cable Telecommunications,  and participate in activities like a Mentorship Program and National Engineering Week. My role, along with these groups and activities, have allowed me to learn an immense amount about engineering as well as the Telecommunications Industry.


What is your work/life balance?

Typically, I have a pretty decent work life balance. I work in Philadelphia, so during my lunch breaks or after work, I get to explore the city. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, I am working from home which means I don’t really have a work/life balance anymore. However, since there is no commute for me right now, I still get to explore things in my area! I recently got a pup and that has taken up a lot of my time before & after work (also during)!

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?

I think Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. taught me a lot about confidence. It gave me Sisters that have supported me and been my personal cheerleaders since the day I met them. Without them, I probably would have looked at the job application for my current role, and instead of thinking ‘why not?’, would have thought of 100 reasons as to why I shouldn’t have applied to the job I now love!

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?

Honestly, there are so many more career paths than what you are told about in college. Try everything. Internships are the best time to experiment the various paths you can take once you graduate. And once you get that internship, don’t stop networking! Go to networking events in and out of the office. Get business cards, exchange LinkedIn profiles, etc.. You are never going to know what you do or do not like until you try it!

How do you measure your success?
The most important thing is to set goals for yourself. In the corporate world, you have goals and OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results). Goals are tasks that are achievable whereas OKR’s are meant to be more challenging, but achievable if you keep achieving your intermittent goals. This is how I measure success on a personal level as well. I set goals in monthly/quarterly intervals and essentially have OKR’s as my yearly goals. I think by doing this, you  are able to achieve your life goals but slowly doing the tasks that will take you there. Another really important thing about success is that you should only compare yourself to yourself. Not everyone is on the same path and no one has the same obstacles or advantages as you do, so there is no point in comparing yourself to them.

 

 

Naomi Philip - National Board Spotlight - 2020 President
Posted by Zehra Valani on September 16, 2020 at 10:33am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I'm currently an Officer in the United States Navy and work on a ship in Norfolk, VA. I joined Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. the spring term of my freshman year. I looked forward to joining a sorority to get outside my comfort zone of just hanging out with the guys while doing the NROTC (naval reserve officer training corps program). Being in a military program while in college, helped evolve my leadership style and character traits of discipline and motivation. It was these traits that I wanted to bring to the sorority and to my chapter. After becoming a Sister, I jumped right into various leadership roles such as Intake director, Rush director, and President. All of these positions allowed me to mend my two parts of my life: military and sorority into one. I was able to mold Sisters and leave the Chapter better than how I entered it.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
Some challenges I faced was always pushing myself to do better. Always striving for perfection can take a toll on your self-esteem and just overall health. A big challenge that comes with that is giving too much of yourself to help others. I really felt this when I was in undergrad, because I was always willing to help my friends or Sisters out with anything they needed. But, I never took the time for myself to just enjoy my own time. Doing this allowed me to see who were people that were equally offering themselves to me in friendship and in work.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
Getting to wear the uniform everyday and see the direct impact I have as a leader for my Sailors is very rewarding. It can be very challenging, but at the end of the day it's amazing to see how much responsibility I can take on and manage. Everyday I go into work and think how I can make the most of my time to prepare myself and my Sailors for success.

What is your work/life balance?
I am always running around doing something whether it's my work schedule or just doing things around my neighborhood. I really focus on my work when I'm on the ship. I give my 100% to the guys that work for me and to my own career path. Being able to balance the hectic and erratic schedule I have with the Navy can be a lot, but I use the Sorority and other hobbies as outlets. Doing something that's different from what I do at work allows me to still engage but not get mentally exhausted.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Networking and life long friendships are two big benefits of joining this Sorority. Your membership in this organization is what you make of it. Sisters just join to join, others join to make a change, and others join to socialize. For me, I really incorporated the principle of NATIONWIDE sisterhood into my time as a Sister. Being able to talk to alum and new Sisters everywhere is such a great experience. Everyone has such amazing stories, personalities, and backgrounds; all together creating a unique Sisterhood. Something no other organization can mimic. I believe networking within the Sisterhood really allows you to travel around the country and always have someplace to call home.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Be confident and strong. Mentally and physically strong. Being in the military means a lot of responsibility right from the beginning. You may not know what you're doing, but you need to be smart enough to ask questions and always use your resources. Being a leader is not hard. Being a great leader is the challenge.

How do you measure your success?
I live by a motto I came up with in the 5th grade: The next generation must do better than the last. So as long as I am doing better than my parents whether it be socioeconomically, education, family, friends, etc.

Stay up to date on Naomi's story through her insta page @presidentnaomi!

Fatima Hassan - April 2020 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on May 4, 2020 at 8:40am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I’m currently working as a business consultant for IBM. I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation but I couldn’t imagine having a better job straight out of college. KPhiG definitely helped me get my first ever internship which was at Southern California Edison. The advisor there actually told me that I originally wasn’t being considered bc there were so many applicants with more experience. They decided to interview me because of all my work with KPhiG and volunteer work. All of this basically snowballed the rest of my career!

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
I think my biggest challenge my freshman year was probably properly managing my time. I was being pulled in a lot of different directions and I realized I wasn’t giving my all in everything I was doing. That had definitely changed now. I give my all in anything I do and I plan on doing that for the rest of my life.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
My favorite part about my job is being able to travel. I was supposed to be going to Europe and Latin America before the COVID-19 outbreak, which would have been really exciting! The other thing I love about being a consultant is being able to move on to the next project. I don’t get stuck in the same place for years. It’s different clients, different problems, different solutions. It helps keep everything from being mundane and repetitive!

What is your work/life balance?
Surprisingly, I have a great work/ life balance. In the beginning, it was definitely harder to adjust with the Monday- Thursday traveling. I think the hardest part is definitely keeping up with all your relationships bc you don’t get much time in your home city. It’s something I just had to get used to but I’m pretty vocal about letting my team know when I need a break or things are getting to be too much (which doesn’t happen too often lol) I even have enough time to keep up with my insta blog!

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
There are so many benefits one can get from joining KPhiG. It honestly depends on the person but for me it helped me become a better leader and properly manage my time. I work better in high stress situations and am able to handle many different responsibilities.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Consulting definitely has its benefits but can also be exhausting with the weekly traveling. Make sure to always take time out for yourself! (Ex: go get a facial or a mani/ pedi every now and then. SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT!)

How do you measure your success?
Oh wow. This is a hard question haha I think success is what you make it and it can look different for every person. Honestly success for me on a weekly basis is just being able to check off everything on my to do list. Success life wise though is a completely different story. I want to be able to live comfortably while enjoying life and traveling without being worried about funds.

To stay up to date with Fatima's work/travel/blogging life, follow her instagram page, @
fatimahassannn!

Nikita Amin - March 2020 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on March 28, 2020 at 11:26am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
Currently I work at VCU Health in Richmond, Virginia in the clinical microbiology lab as a medical laboratory scientist. We test for pathogens, including bacterial, viral, and fungal, in all body sites using a variety of testing platforms. We recently developed a laboratory developed test for the detection of the COVID19 virus that we launched this past week. I would say that the teamwork skills that I learned while in Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. helped me prepare for this important time in my career.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenges/struggles working full time were trying to balance a healthy work/life balance. My career is very important to me, but so is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including physical and mental. So, to balance that, I exercise regularly, make time for friends/family post-work and the weekends (when I'm not working), read, and travel as much as possible. The COVID19 pandemic has tested my work/life balance but I've learned that substitutions for this temporary time are helpful. Instead of working out at the gym, I've taken on learning yoga. Instead of hanging out with friends, I make time to FaceTime and check in on them regularly. Tough times don't last, tough people do! :)

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
Right now my favorite part of my career, although stressful, is that my lab is in the front lines of the COVID19 pandemic. We developed a test that will give physicians answers faster, leading to prompt patient care. Everyday the pandemic is changing but nonetheless, I show up everyday for my community and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
The benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. are endless. Not only have I met my lifelong friends, I've learned valuable skills that I will use in my life and career. I've learned patience, compassion, team building, leadership and networking skills, and above all else, the value of friendships.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Don't be afraid to do something out of the ordinary. Not many people know about my career path and the best way that I explain to people when they ask what I do is: "Do you know when you go to the doctor and they ask what's wrong, and take samples for testing? Well I'm the one that runs your tests to tell the doctor what's wrong!" My job is very behind the scenes but at the end of the day, very humbling. It's a job that caters very well to my personality and the kinds of things that interest me. So my biggest advice is find your interests and passions, and go for it! It will make work feel less like work and more like a hobby (that you're getting paid for!)

How do you measure your success?
In terms of the COVID19 pandemic in the laboratory setting, I measure success in getting test results out to our patients in a timely manner. Tests can fail, so being able to recognize that a test is working and physicians are going to get their answers ASAP for the sake of a patient, is how I currently measure success in the lab. At the end of the day, fast and accurate results could potentially save the life of a patient. In terms of life, I have small daily goals and bigger life goals. I measure success if I work towards those goals everyday. Gym regularly, read regularly, eat healthy, drink enough water, practice mindfulness are just a handful of personal goals that I try to work towards everyday. I'm not perfect, but they say that practice makes perfect. So, I may falter at these goals every now and then, but overall if I'm at least trying, then I consider that a success. In terms of bigger life goals, I maintain health in all areas of my life - including mental, physical, relationships, and career. I never enjoy doing the bare minimum. I try to go above and beyond my call of duty - so if that means checking up on a friend I haven't spoken to in awhile or picking up an extra project at work to enhance my career, I consider that success towards my life goals.

Be sure to follow Nikita on instagram, @nikita_amin to stay up to date on her future discoveries at VCU!

Herleen Mokha - February 2020 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on February 27, 2020 at 2:14pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am a second year veterinary student at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Kappa Phi Gamma sorority, Inc. gave me the push I needed at such a critical time in my life to adopt the confidence I have today. If you asked 17 year old me to speak in front of a crowd of 200 students it would be unfathomable. But in just a few short months of becoming a sister my freshman year of college, I was doing exactly that. This sorority taught me to ask for help when I need it, to work smarter not harder, and that nothing good comes easy.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
If you google “whitest job in America”, can you guess what profession you would see? By far the biggest challenge I had to overcome in my journey to veterinary school was to simply comprehend that being a veterinarian is actually within my realm of possibilities. I had never seen myself represented within the field growing up, and although my parents in retrospect say that my love of animals and science as a child should’ve caused them to push me towards veterinary medicine as well, they never considered it either. It was not until that I was almost in my last year of college that I chose this field; and it was simply because I was walking to class and saw a friend scrolling through snapchat and click on a story of a woman working in an animal hospital. I noticed she also had a Punjabi name. It only took seeing a 10 second video of someone who represented me to change my entire life. On top of school and extracurriculars, getting the variety of animal experiences necessary to apply can be grueling at times. What makes the challenge a lot easier is to constantly have an curious mind; as long as you genuine enjoy figuring out ‘why’ things are happening, the ‘how’ of medicine wont feel as exhausting.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
I love the flexibility in the type of medicine I can practice as a (future) Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. In any given day I can be a surgeon, dentist, general practitioner, be providing palliative care for a geriatric patient in one exam room, or helping a new mother give birth to her pups in the next. No one day will ever look the same for me, and I enjoy the creativity involved in providing care for various species, each with specific anatomic and physiologic needs.

What is your work/life balance?
At the moment, being a student is my work and my life. It’s hard to even think of the two as separate entities. Whenever I’m not studying I am spending time with my dog or with friends. We try our best not to discuss school, but the topic inevitably always comes up.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. is an amazing family to have while going through one of the most formative times as a young woman. There has never been a moment where I have felt alone since joining. Learning to balance your personal and professional relationships with sisters are skills that are applicable to every future profession a woman might have. Event planning, collaboration with other organizations, and professional development are skills the sorority opens you up to gaining. Often time you gain these skills a lot earlier than you would in any other organization, at least in my experience.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Reach out to me. I can’t recount how many times I have been confided in by members of the South Asian community who have said things like “I wish I went through with it”, “I feel like it’s too late now”, or “My family wouldn’t support it”. The truth is, you spend more time at work than anywhere else. It’s important not to let anyone else dictate that decision. If you have a true passion for medicine you owe it to yourself to explore veterinary medicine as an option before writing it off simply because you have not seen representation within it before.

How do you measure your success?
I’m not a very regimented person. I measure success in small goals; If I stayed awake in all my lectures, made it to the gym, studied, and remembered to call my mom; I consider that a success. In order to measure emotional success, every time I am going through an upsetting period in my life I tend to journal it. Inevitably, every time I go back a few months later, I laugh about how ridiculous whatever it was that upset me the last time I decided to write in the journal. In all, if I am learning a new skill each month that I had known nothing about the last, it signals to me that I am doing something right and that I am successfully moving forward in life.

Star Gilani - December 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 30, 2019 at 3:43pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am the CEO, Founder & Lead Tour Guide for Best Bites Houston, a Food Tour Company focusing on the diversity of Houston's food & culture. Through my food tours, I get to showcase the delicious eateries in Houston and also share different historical, architectural and cultural significance's of various parts of Houston. Most importantly, I'm able to give my attendees a behind-the-scenes look at some of Houston's best chefs, mixologists, and restaurateurs.
Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. gave me the chance to revive Delta Chapter and re-start the sorority at the University of Houston. It also helped me develop as a leader, professional and as a woman. Without my time at Delta Chapter, I would lack the confidence and can-do spirit that is essential for starting any business.

Why did you choose to start (Business/Company)?
I felt that entrepreneurship was my calling but I couldn't figure out what I was passionate about the most or how I would find fulfillment in my work. While I was the Tourism & Marketing Manager for the City of Sugar Land, I won an award for a tour I provided for the Texas Travel Information Counselors. This award served as an epiphany and that's when I decided to combine something that I loved (food) with something that I was naturally good at (giving tours). My journey was definitely not easy - it took me a full year to start my first tour and even longer to establish credibility in the market place. I'm so thrilled that I stayed on track to start Best Bites Houston no matter the obstacles. I hope to continue my entrepreneurial journey with perseverance and share with visitors and locals alike why Houston is a city like no other.

How did you come up with the name/logo/concept of your business? (If owned)
It was all trial and error and it didn't happen over night. It took me about a year to work with the right designers to create the logo and imagery for my brand and another six months to collect photos and videos. I'm thankful for all the creative professionals I have worked with an owe a lot of my success to them.

What is your work/life balance?
My main goal in life is to tenaciously pursue balance. This can be quite challenging when you are running your own business but I make it a point to schedule alone time, gym time and family time every week. Without it, I feel burnt out and extremely unmotivated.

How do you measure your success?
Success is measured differently for all aspects of my life. I try to make it point to reflect on my week every Sunday to see what I have accomplished and what I needed to get done the next week to be closer to my goals.

What advice would you share with someone else who might be interested in starting something of their own?
JUST DO IT - I can't say this enough. Do everything with great intent and be tenacious in your pursuit. Don't let anyone or anything stop you from achieving YOUR dreams. JUST DO IT!!

 

Be sure to check out Best Bites Houston and follow her business on Instagram!

Dani Matias - November 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 1:23pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I recently finished a Chips Quinn Fellowship (a program for diversity in journalism) on the News Desk with National Public Radio in Washington D.C. My older KPhiG sisters prepared me for my future by setting good examples and showing me what it takes to become successful. Through dedication and diligence, I mirrored their work ethic and earned my dream job for the summer. 

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenges were learning how to navigate the adult world, overcoming imposter syndrome by believing in myself and staying motivated while planning my next career move. Being far away from my family was difficult but it helped me step out of my comfort zone, grow and be more independent. These struggles have shaped me into a better, more open-minded reporter.  

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
I love talking to strangers because they help me see the world differently. I talk to people with firsthand accounts in order to successfully gather information and provide facts in my reporting. My favorite part about radio journalism is being challenged and strictly producing content with sound. I strive to introduce topics that make listeners reflect, acknowledge inequality and promote change. This stems from my passion of diversifying the news and giving marginalized communities a platform to share their experiences. Aside from learning from others every day, I enjoy translating complex material into interesting, easily-digestible stories the public will remember and learn from. If you think about it, I am paid to be nosey! 

What is your work/life balance?
While at work, I focus on what I can control -- my attitude, reporting/writing and schedule. In order to unplug and unwind, I prioritize my mental health by taking breaks and treating myself once I feel accomplished. If I am overwhelmed, I read, workout, journal, listen to the Jonas Brothers, watch a Spanish show or hang out with my beautiful family to escape from a hectic, 24-hour news day. It also helps if you have a pet to come home to, and my cat Flacko is my entire world.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
The benefits of joining KPhiG are creating life-long, healthy friendships, learning about a new culture and having amazing role models to look up to. The sorority taught me how to equally balance my educational, professional and social life, be more self-aware, kind and confident in my own skin. The women I met in KPhiG were some of my biggest supporters. I am very thankful to have met a unique group of women who loved and embraced me in spite of our differences. 

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
If your passion for storytelling is solid and genuine, don't allow other opinions and experiences to shape your own career path. Our job is difficult and exhausting, but what we do is unmatched and very rewarding. We are responsible for informing the public and holding those in power accountable for their actions. By giving a voice to the voiceless, we make a difference and change lives with every story that is published. Set goals for yourself, find poc allies/mentors and have an active voice in the industry. If you ever feel lost or unsure, remember to prioritize your needs and never forget the reason why you started writing in the first place. 

How do you measure your success?
I measure my success with happiness! My family has always said that as long as I am happy, they will be proud of me

Shelina Velani - October 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 1:10pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently the Division Administrator at Baylor St. Luke's over the Gastroenterology & Hepatology practice. My leadership role helped me prepare for this.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
Biggest challenges including finding my own skin & being vocal.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
Making a difference

What is your work/life balance?
Work takes most of my time, but I manage to have a good balance over the weekends.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
You learn a lot about yourself, as well as how to deal with others, in a leadership role. You also learn to be professional, organized, and candid.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Be yourself. It's hard to find that in the beginning, but be honest and courageous. Don't let anyone take that from you. And always, always, keep trying.

How do you measure your success?
Happiness.

Ajuni Choudhary - September 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 1:06pm

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
Currently, I am a first year medical student at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepared me for this career path in many ways. First of all, I was confident when presenting myself to members of the admissions committees during the interview process of applying to medical school. This was possible through the situations I encountered as an active soror. I was constantly speaking in front of others and learned to be confident when presenting myself to others. Furthermore, I developed many professional, team-building, and leadership skills while being an active soror of Kappa Phi Gamma.
Working with professors, faculty members, and fellow classmates aided to develop my ability to work well with others and react appropriately in situations I may not have been prepared for. Also, I learned how to manage my time well during my undergraduate career and this skill helped me obtain my Master in Public Health Degree while working, volunteering, and taking care of familial obligations. Currently, it helps me to make sure I study efficiently and take care of myself at the same time. Moreover, I was able to make many networking connections with sorors across the nation who have gone through medical school and are practicing physicians. These connections will certainly help me as I transition into my clinical rotations and apply for a residency program.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
Personally, I am not a strong test-taker. This serves as a great obstacle because tests/examinations are utilized to evaluate medical students and physicians for the entirety of their career. Also, this obstacle made getting into medical school even more challenging than it already is because I had to tackle the Medical College Admission Test, commonly known as the MCAT. I used multiple resources available to me and advice from current medical students in order to boost my score. Through practice examinations and making sure I confidently know and understand the material I learn, I have been able to improve my test-taking skills. However, I still work hard to continue to get better at taking tests - it’s an ongoing process.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
I have wanted to be a doctor to help others for as long as I can remember! For me, just being a medical student and being on the path to becoming a practicing physician is an amazing feeling!

What is your work/life balance?
Honestly, I don’t have much of a life as a medical student. I study in the majority of my free time, but I still make sure to take time to take care of myself and still pursue my hobbies/passions. Staying in touch with my loved ones also keeps me sane!

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
The benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma are endless. First of all, I gained a second family on campus while I was away from home. My sisters became my closest friends and still are to this day. Furthermore, I gained a sense of belonging on campus and attained a pride for my school. I knew I earned my right to be a sister and be a part of an amazing organization. In addition, the philanthropy of spreading cancer awareness truly makes a difference in the community (especially during C.A.R.E. Week). Lastly, I gained many skills such as professionalism, time-management, team-building, leadership, clear communication, etc.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Don’t give up! If you have the passion and dedication to become a doctor, then you can definitely do it! The journey is strenuous and a continuous process, but with the right mindset and guidance it is an achievable goal.

How do you measure your success?
I believe success is relative to an individual’s goals and aspirations. Everyone has their own journey to reach their full potential and it is 100% an ongoing process. However, I think self-reflection is essential in order to grow and continue to make progress toward a goal. I ensure that I re-evaluate myself in terms of how I perform on examinations in school and implement different methods to make sure I am effectively learning the critical information I will need to know as a physician.

Dhanvi Sandesara - August 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 1:00am

 What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
Today I do hair and makeup under my company name Ilume Artistry Co. This was started in Houston, TX but my team and I travel worldwide for hair and makeup. I also own a line of cruelty free mink eyelashes which I sell both domestically and internationally. Kappa Phi Gamma taught me how to work with others and take leadership. I am able to focus on building relations with clients, customers, and my very own employees.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenge was maintaining my work life balance. There is no such thing as clocking in and out, my business is on my mind 24/7. I had to figure out how to turn my brain off and focus on different parts of business and my own life.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
My favorite parts of my position are meeting and working with different people. My job is to make others feel their best on the most important days of their lives, I love feeling fulfilled and sharing memories with them!

What is your work/life balance?
I’ve learned how to maintain a healthy work/life balance. The biggest thing that has helped me is listing out what needs to be done. Writing helps so much because I am able to figure out what needs the most focus/attention and therefore cross them off my list. 

How did you come up with the name/logo/concept of your business? (If owned)
Ilume Artistry was started when I was exiting a very dark period of my life.

There seemed to be darkness all around and at the time, I didn’t think there was any way out of it. I was lost, I had no idea where my life was going, everyone around me was successful and happy. I had to learn that I needed to stop comparing myself to others and most of all.. find what makes me happy. I decided to face my fears and pursue a dream, I named that dream Ilume because it was my light in the dark. 

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
My advice to anyone following any career path is this: be patient and do not give up on yourself. Always remember when there’s a will there’s a way. Do not compare yourself to others, instead, look to others for inspiration and guidance. Be kind to yourself!

How do you measure your success?
I pay attention to feedback from my clients and peers. Also, I look at my finances fiscally to see my growth.

Be sure to follow Dhanvi on Instagram, @IlumeArtistryCo, and check out her website to stay up to date!

 

Cinita Cyriac- July 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 12:59am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently a joint PharmD/MPH Student at Touro University California. As a Pharmacy Student, every day I learn everything there is to know about the infinite number of medications that are available for patients to receive. Having completed the Master of Public Health portion of my curriculum has definitely helped me learn about health threats around the world and the disparities in care for different groups of people. I think having this information helps develop knowledge but also empathy, especially when you are approaching your patients.
Being a part of Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. taught me all about management and service. KPhiG taught me how to juggle an array of leadership positions, work, and school and how to prioritize, but also, how to learn everything I needed to in a timely manner that would actually stick with me for years to come. Also, giving back to the community with KPhiG through service events gave me the opportunity to work with many groups of people in order to best serve them.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenge is actually being so far away from home. I am originally from New York, so making a move cross-country to California for Pharmacy School was definitely a big change and it took some time getting used to.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
My favorite part of my field is seeing, communicating, and interacting with the patients. It helps put everything you learn in perspective when it's not about the fake patients on cases that you get on exams or SOAP notes anymore. It's about the actual individual in front of you, someone's parent, brother, sister, or child, that you are helping treat.

What is your work/life balance?
I have a 7-hour school day each day for 5 days a week. So once I get back home I like to take some time to hang out with my sister and FaceTime family and friends before I get back to reviewing the lectures I learned that day. And then on weekends, I like to catch up on work on Saturday, and then Sunday is my day to relax. It's when I go to church and spend time with my sister. We'll even try to go visit San Jose, San Francisco, or Oakland if we can cause we love finding new places to explore.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
My biggest benefit of joining Kappa Phi Gamma has to be my sisters. I have developed relationships with so many sisters who I am so thankful to have in my life. Whether it be my line sisters, my lineage, my kids, I feel like I always have someone to talk to every day when I need to vent, need some motivation, a study buddy, or when we just need a laugh. It's a great feeling just knowing that you have sisters that will always be there for you indefinitely no matter what.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
I would say that it is definitely not easy but it's also not impossible. It takes a lot of hours of studying, contemplating, and reviewing, but at the end of the day, the reward of knowing that you are making a difference in someone's life makes it all worth it. It is important to remember that you are the last and most accessible person a patient speaks to before they take their medication. You look over their medication history, advise them on which medication they should be taking, inform them on how to take it, what dose they should take, when they should take it, what symptoms they should look out for, etc. Clearly, your role is vital in protecting that patient's health. So yes, the process is hard, but with the right mentality and commitment it is do-able.

How do you measure your success?
As cliché as it sounds, I measure it by how optimistic you are. Everyone undergoes struggles and failures, that's just a part of life. But, I think the bigger success story is your ability to learn and be better despite that. Life will test you, many times, but it's critical to never give up on yourself or lose faith in your ability to succeed. I have come to learn that sometimes that positive outlook is all I need in the first place to make everything I want come true.

Be sure to follow Cinita on Instagram, @cinitaxx95, to stay up to date with her journey!

 

Khudai Tanveer - June 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 12:34am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently serving as the Organizing Director for a national non profit, NQAPIA, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. I started working with NQAPIA (first as an intern to now as director) my freshman year after crossing into ΚΦΓ and figuring out I was Queer. The road to accepting myself and being accepted in the community started from there.

What are some community engagement/volunteer services you have partaken with after undergrad?
During my time as External VP My first ever event was a women’s empowerment panel that brought out folks from different paths of life with politically charged backgrounds. That event was the first time I had Organized something and facilitated it too by myself. It required outreach, facilitation, development and most importantly, relationship building.

Are there any initiatives you started yourself within your community?
Not something concrete but existing as a queer Muslim Person in itself and choosing to live Out & Boldly is a dangerous initiative. It requires me to choose my happiness and my identities over my safety. Not for myself but so that we can shift our communities for the future generations. This initiative is not for just now but for every queer Muslim kid after me. It’s about giving us the right to exist in our fullness.

What is your work/life/hobby balance?
Terrible. My job is to work for the betterment of queer & trans API folks. I work from sun up to sun down. Sometimes I work from my bed and make calls all day and some days I’m in front of ICE offices protesting. When your work is the betterment of your community it doesn’t ever stop. Whether that’s consoling a kid who’s just gotten kicked out of their home for being gay or fighting for a trans man about to be deported to a country he doesn’t know. There’s no work life balance. You exist is consistent care and love for community. So we cope by learn boundaries. Boundaries allow us to make the decision we need to do that we can be around for the long haul and not the short burn.

What advice would you share with someone else who might be in your situation?
You don’t have to be liked. Stick to your values. Until my professional life started I was often labeled as the troublemaker, the rebel, the one who was always making things harder than they had to be. And I am so so so so glad for everyone that encouraged that fighter spirit because we gotta change the world. We have to call our folks out. We have to get uncomfortable bc uncomfort means we are entering the realm of newness and learning. We have to do better and better. So ya’ call your LS, president, little, bit etc out on using the n word. Call’em our for everything you know if wrong even if everyone in the room turns to look at you weird.

Be sure to check out the NQAPIA website to see all the advancements taking place!

Jaimie Joseph - May 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 12:30am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
My journey to dance was a bit off the beaten path. As first generation Americans, my parents came to the US in hopes to have a better life for their family. Born in the south side of Dallas, Texas I was raised with my head in the books and hobbies coming dead last. Growing up I would watch episodes of Soul Train and dance around the living room trying to learn the latest dance moves. My passion for dance grew from sneaking into parties with my sisters and dancing the night away as often as possible. After getting my Masters in Accounting and working up the corporate ladder, I always found myself daydreaming about dance and yearning more from life. It wasn’t until a good friend knocked some sense into me and asked, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you want to do?”. My gut response was dance and from that moment I never looked back.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest challenge switching careers in my late 20's was starting from scratch all over again. I was in a new industry surrounded by women who have been training since they were kids. Starting dance so late in life made me realize I had to work that much harder and smarter to keep up with my peers. The first two years in my training program was definitely the hardest. Mentally I was surrounded by so much self-doubt and physically my body was not ready for the demanding schedule. That experience really made me realize how strong my passion for dance was and how I knew I would not give up that easily.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
My favorite part of dance is being able to perform for the audience. The thrill of being on stage is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Some of my happiest moments in life have been on stage performing for my loved ones. It's a single fleeting moment when I feel most alive.

What is your work/life balance?
That's a tricky question lol. So one thing about dance is that its All or Nothing, which is one of my favorite quotes in life. I have sacrificed a lot for my passion and I have no regrets about that. The best thing about it is the fact that my family and friends have been along for the ride since day one and give me nothing but love and support.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Looking back on my life I have realized my college years were some of the most formative years growing up. I learned so much about myself in college and that has shaped who I am and who I have become. The benefits of joining K Phi G during this time of your life are the relationships that you build and learn from. You are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with. Surrounding yourself by women who are hustling just as hard as you will push you beyond your limits and level up.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Dance is more than a career, its a way of life. The journey is a roller coaster filled with ups and downs and constant rejection. But in the end you come out a stronger person because of it and build one of your most important relationships - which is with yourself.

How do you measure your success?
In life I measure success based on the goals I set for myself. Every year I create a vision board and I come back to it every few months. On my vision board I have artists/choreographers I want to work with, fitness goals, places I would like to visit, creative projects and visuals I would like to produce, etc. Having a clear and defined vision of where I would like to go helps me measure how successful I am toward reaching those goals.

Be sure to follow Jaimie on Instagram at Jaimie_Joseph to stay up to date with her career!

Sharon Cherian - April 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 12:30am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently in medical school at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. I was in the new member education program when I had been going through medical school interviews, and the program taught how to carry myself through out the interview in terms of professional language and manner, as well as how to present myself in general. The "sell yourself speech" that we had done in the program was extremely helpful in guiding my interview.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
My biggest struggle was building my portfolio to apply to medical schools because I had applied while in undergrad, which is difficult to do. I kept pushing myself to do what I could to build it while in college such as doing leadership opportunities, volunteering, but more importantly doing things that I am passionate about outside of the application itself.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
While in first and second year, it consists of mostly studying the books and exams, I am looking forward to my third and fourth year where I can apply that knowledge in the clinical setting and be able to connect with patients.

What is your work/life balance?
If I am not studying all the time, I am usually relaxing by watching Netflix, dancing, or hanging with friends.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
Networking - I got to meet other students in medical school, mostly in DO school which was even more helpful. I used those connections during my application process. Also having a life long support system from sisters all over the country is really beneficial, especially if you permanently move like I did, to WV. I also appreciate the bonds I have with my line sisters, who always check in on me everyday.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Be patient, and don't be so hard on yourself or rush the process. Medical school is not easy and isn't supposed to be an easy path. Be persistent and keep holding on to your passion and you will make it through.

How do you measure your success?
I just measure my success as growth. Instead of looking at something like grades/exam scores as evidence for success, look at progress and improvement from where you started and where you are now. You'd be impressed with how much you've accomplished.

Be sure to follow Sharon on Instagram, @scherian, to stay up to date with her journey!

 

Ankita Roy - March 2019 Spotlight
Posted by Zehra Valani on December 12, 2019 at 12:30am

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?
I am currently a Physical Therapy student and personal trainer. A lot of my daily responsibilities require me to take risks, push my limits and utilize inter professional skills. All of these would not have been possible if I had not been a sister of Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. Kphig gave me an opportunity for growth and to get involved with my community and pursue my passions while having a strong support system.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
Just taking the first step and believing in myself. Also explaining to my parents what PT was and why I wanted to go into it.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?
Physical Therapy/being a fitness coach gives you the unique role where you can empower people to believe in themselves and crush their personal doubts. Sounds cheesy but it is honestly one of the things that makes me jump out of bed in the morning.

What is your work/life balance?
Currently I’m in Physical Therapy school, work at a gym and run a fitness Instagram business. It’s a plateful but all of these things align with my passion and purpose so they hardly feel like work.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?
EVERYTHING- The personal growth, the connections to some of the coolest people, confidence, professional skills, a platform to make a change and some of my lifelong friends. At the end of the day Kphig gives you a safe place where you are surrounded by people who are driven, bold and always have your back. In this day and age, that is one of the most valuable possession someone can have

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?
Follow what sets your soul on fire. It might be scary, you might doubt yourself, you might be scared of what people might think but at the end of the day-the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter. It just takes one step everyday to look back and realize you’ve climbed a mountain.

How do you measure your success?
Am I helping others-are they happy? Am I happy? At the end of the day if I am living out my passion and able to help others that makes me the most successful person

Be sure to follow Ankita on Instagram @ankick_it to stay up to date with her journey!

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