Swati is an Advisor to a provincial cabinet minister, aiding in community relations for the Government of Ontario.
What is your morning routine?
I’m all about preparing in advance, so my morning routine depends heavily on how I prepared the night before. My daughter just started daycare and it’s important for me how she starts her day. Setting the right tone helps us all ease into a busy day, but the rest is quite chaotic. Just making sure we all have what we need for the day and getting out of the door on time is key.
Tell us about your career path.
I moved to Canada in 2010 as a published author and a journalist. Through the years I’ve worked extensively in digital media in India, Canada and the United States. My latest assignment was working on media relations for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Canada. My passion to work with communities for socioeconomic and political initiatives led me to my current job, where I work as an Advisor to a provincial cabinet minister, aiding in community relations.
What challenges do you or women face in your industry?
I think the women of 2017 need to work around the concept of equality. We’ve taken a lot on our shoulders while still holding on to our traditional roles. As a result, we’re burdened with proving ourselves in the workforce while balancing our domestic expectations. We need to step outside those boundaries and simplify our lives by letting go. The real challenge is to be inclusive and dignifying of everyone, from the ones breaking the norms, to the ones giving up everything to raise a family, and everyone in between.
As much as I’d like to say the idea of being a woman in a man’s world is outdated, it’s very much our reality. We’re well equipped to fight gender bias on the surface and glorify the ones who do it, but the deep-rooted prejudices still shadow us all. Mansplaining, sexual harassment, wage-gaps, parental leave divide or simply keeping your job during pregnancy are all real issues, and it’s a problem until they’re solved for all of us, not just a few.
What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?
Firstly, don’t get hung up on your expectation of how things should be. I’ve learned this the hard way, but do what works for you right now and not what should ideally be working for you. It’s vital to make that distinction and gauge each opportunity accordingly, however big or small.
Secondly, it’s easy to be intimidated by circumstances and get disheartened when people judge you too quickly or don’t see the real you. Don’t make it personal; it’s just how they’ve learned to respond. Carrying someone else’s psychological baggage is not your responsibility. Always believe there are people who will cherish you, uplift you, share your beliefs and be your best pals unconditionally. You will find your tribe!
How do you separate work life from your personal life?
I really can’t separate them from one another. My life is a sum total of experiences and perspectives that often blend and pour into each other. My professional life is driven by ambition and passion to make an impact in any way I can. On the other hand, my personal life is focused on deriving simple joys out of life, especially with my little one. It’s all about giggles and silly faces.
What inspires you?
My mom is my hero. She is a cancer survivor, lives on her own terms and is always leading by example.