Looking to find passion in your daily work? Meet Savita Bharadwa, a generous and courageous Fairygodboss. Savita took a big risk to make a change in her career, moving from Wall Street to the public education system. Her experience is a great reminder that we can all seek out work that makes us feel fulfilled, and Savita’s incredible work is helping millions of children at the same time.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Savita Bharadwa
Senior Manager of Strategy, Office of Strategy and Innovation - Newark Public Schools
FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
SB: I had a bit of a windy path to get where I am! I started my career in Management Consulting at Deloitte, where I worked on strategic advisory projects across multiple industries. I decided to pursue my MBA at Columbia Business School and when I graduated I took the plunge into finance, working as an institutional salesperson on the Deutsche Bank trading floor.
After a couple years in banking, I realized I wanted to transition to a career that allowed me to make a difference in the world, so I took a role at the NYC Department of Education under the Bloomberg Administration working on the city's school reform efforts. After the mayoral transition, I moved to a small nonprofit taking a litigation-based approach to education reform. I now work at Newark Public Schools supporting the Superintendent and Chief Strategy Office, working to support the district and charter schools of Newark.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
SB: In NYC, I was able to open many new district and charter schools to provide high quality school options to all students regardless of their zip code, ethnic or socioeconomic background. Seeing these schools thrive is my greatest accomplishment.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
SB: The move from Finance into Education was an incredibly daunting transition. To start from scratch in a brand new industry filled with young graduates (and as a woman in my 30s!) was scary. It was a steep learning curve in a very complex political and bureaucratic environment. Being able to progress my career in a short period of time was difficult and incredibly rewarding, particularly being able to take on my current role in Newark.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?
SB: Drink wine, hang out with my 2-year old and husband, run, and SLEEP!
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
SB: Jennifer Aniston. I don't know why but I LOVE her. She seems to have gone through so much personal and professional adversity, and takes on everything with humor and grace. I would love to sit down, have a meal and laugh.
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
SB: Hold On by Wilson Phillips
FGB: What is your favorite movie?
SB: Quality Film: Shawshank Redemption
Guilty Pleasure: Love Actually
FGB: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
SB: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
SB: Fancy wine glasses! I love them to be big and in all different shapes!
(Savita is a true Californian -- through and through.)
FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss?
SB: Rebecca Rawlins! Rebecca was my manager at the NYC DOE, but more like a thought partner and now a best friend. We were pregnant together at work and still face daily challenges as working mothers, even though we're in different workplaces now. Finding a trusted ally at work makes everything more bearable.
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share?
SB: Don't be afraid of change!! It takes some time to find your true calling, and it's never too late. I was someone who never thought I would find passion in my daily work. I have found that despite the frustrations, I absolutely love coming to work every day. I feel so lucky that I took a chance on a completely unknown industry and job and was able to find my passion.
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career?
Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.