This month the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Spotlight features Commissioner Shweta Bhatnagar, member since 2015 and passionate about government relations, her family and Elvis. The format of the Spotlight has been modified to reflect a "25 words or less" summary. Meet Shweta and all her fellow Commissioners at the Women's Leadership Conference on March 24th at Cañada College!

BASICS:

Place of Birth: Las Vegas, NV
Raised: Las Vegas, NV (Viva Las Vegas)
Professional Background: Government affairs and public relations working in the public and non-profit sectors with diverse stakeholders from all levels of government on issues related to transportation, water, environment, renewable energy, land use, green sector businesses, workforce development, education, and housing.

WORK:

Job(s) held that is most unlike what I currently do now: Put together the mannequin display windows at Calvin Klein
Field: Government and Community Relations
Years of Experience: Over 20 years
Title: Associate Director of Government and Community Relations
Organization: Stanford University
Significant Learning:  People who engage in government and politics are often very passionate and rigid in their beliefs. This can be challenging if they think your project or beliefs threaten theirs. I have learned that I don't need to change people's beliefs to be successful at my job. I only need to get them accept the possibility that what I am proposing may not be as bad as they think. That is the first step in working towards a mutually beneficial outcome.
How would your colleagues describe you?  Passionate, funny, engaging 
Career Advice: Choose a career in a field that you are passionate about, think about where you want to be 15 years from now and work towards that goal.  Don't be afraid to ask for what you are worth and pursue positions that you think may be out of your reach. 

PERSONAL:

Significant Accomplishment: Taking a chance and moving to the Bay Area. Left home and my friends and family to try my hand (note the Vegas poker reference) in a new career field in a new city and state. Best decision ever!
Significant Learning: Learning to step outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to experience new things... and has made me more brave. 
Life Advice: Explore the world, don't put off your adventures for a later date, do it now - there will never be the "perfect time".
What is a woman’s issue that stands out most for you? Gender equality in the workplace - women face so many challenges when it comes to employment (salaries, promotions, sexual harassment, work/life balance).
Other causes you support? Clean water and health care access in developing countries.
Most admired people/role models (excluding parents): Malala Yousafzai - Her bravery and dedication to stand up for what she believes in is a major inspiration to me and all the little girls in my family.  

LIFESTYLE:

What are you happiest doing when you are not working? Spending time with friends and family - especially my silly little nieces and nephews
What do you want to make sure you do before you die?  Travel to Egypt
Finish this sentence, on a Sunday morning you will find me: sitting on the sofa with coffee, flipping the TV channels between HGTV and the Food Network
Who has been the biggest influence in your life: My crazy large extended family - think my Big Fat Greek Wedding only with Indians.  They have shaped who I am and given me confidence to live the life I want to live.
Something about me that may surprise you: I'm pretty sure I am the reincarnation of Elvis Presley

  • Family

  • Having fun!