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#43 "So grab your harness and helmet and get climbing!"

Blog #43 is about Rita Kakati Shah. She is the CEO and founder of UMA.

When Rita was a teenager, she was ambitious and a go getter. She shared that as a teenager she went “against the grain” of the unwritten expectations for girls and boys. Rita was not concerned about what society expected. She instead focused on what she liked to do - hiking, outdoor adventures and mountain climbing. Mountain climbing takes determination, and Rita had plenty of it.

She graduated high school, went to college, and leaped into the world of investment banking. Her determination continued to take her places that few people, and even fewer women, have ever been. For example, she worked at Goldman Sachs on the equities trading floor in London. After ten years as a banker, she left her job, moved to the United States and helped develop a new business in the pharmaceutical industry. 

By the time Rita got married and started her own family, she had built up an impressive resume. When she had children, she decided to take a few years off of work to raise them. Rita believes that raising her children was the hardest she had ever worked in her life. Long hours of investment banking was tough, but it just did not compare with the challenges of being a mother. 

After the short  career “break”, Rita decided she wanted to return to work. She was shocked by the feedback she was getting from potential employers. Everyone was completely focused on the “gap” on her resume, rather than her remarkable experience and credentials. That four years of her life that she was working the hardest was somehow considered a deficit. 

Rita was now facing another mountain as she tried to climb back into the workforce. It is no surprise that she used her go-getter attitude and started climbing. She decided to create her own company naming it after the Hindu Goddess of mothering, Uma, known for her determination and courage. Her personal experience helped her build a company that empowers women returning to work after a career break or transition through networking events, confidence building workshops and curated job placements. Uma focuses on helping mothers who are trying to find work after having children. She knows every woman is like Uma, and Rita helps them see that. Check out their website

So, what can we learn from Rita? We can learn to look at our difficulties as mountains to be climbed. Whether it's a literal mountain, challenging a stereotype, getting through a difficult time, recovering from disappointment …we need to get climbing. So grab your harness and helmet and get climbing!

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