Imagine being a shy young girl from a traditional, conservative family in India. At 16, you were sent to boarding school to learn English, and at 17, your marriage was arranged. Soon after, you moved to the United States where you began working in a family lodging business, even though you had no prior training or formal education.

I don’t have to imagine that story; it’s mine.

Fortunately, my story didn’t end there. Thanks to a few kind people who saw my potential, I was given an opportunity to progress, grow and lead, culminating in a nearly 40-year career in hospitality.

Now I want to help inspire other young women to do the same.

I created Saaheli.com, an online community that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment globally, to engage, educate and encourage women to become independent and realize their full potential.

And later this month, I’ll have the opportunity to share my story at the EMPOWERED – Women’s Leadership Summit to bring greater awareness to this cause, and hopefully, inspire others along the way.

On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. Let’s not forget those who helped champion us and light our paths, and help today’s young women be tomorrow’s leaders.

Post Author: Sima Patel

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