As the week of 4th of July approaches, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be an American. From the time I was a child I knew I would emigrate to the United States, because I knew my gender would not be an impediment, rather it could be an asset. I believed that if I worked hard, studied hard, and wanted to achieve, I could achieve.
The 4th of July thus has special meaning for me. The 4th of July is a day of possibility, a day of dreams realized, a day I cherish because I can. As a mother, wife, minority, immigrant, scientist, lawyer, and a women entrepreneur, one thing I never did, and never will, take for granted, is independence.
I salute all the women of this country who work tirelessly alongside me. Representing a women-owned business in a meeting, event, or a conference, I always remember that while I might be the only woman (physically) in the room, there are many more like me out there. This journey towards independence, which most women face, is not about any one person. It is certainly not about me. It is bigger than me. It is about all the women entrepreneurs who are continuously fighting against the odds to receive an equal platform to perform. Each day I am grateful to all the women who came before me, who have worked hard to create a society where women are not judged on anything other than their intellect. That we will be respected and taken seriously in leadership positions. Have we come a long way since our mothers were young? Yes. Is there a long way ahead to becoming truly equal? Yes.
What makes Raft different
Every day I teach my kids to be independent, to speak up when they see something wrong, to be honest, and to be confident rather than compliant. These are the same principles I have applied and continue to apply in building Raft. We, at Raft, are radically transparent, we understand making mistakes is a part of growing, and we are always learning. We have purposefully chosen to have a flat structure where there are no “bosses’’ and everyone is committed to a one and only one goal—improving the lives of our fellow Americans. When we hire, we make a conscious choice to increase diversity, and hire like-minded individuals who want to join a team of high-performing people, want to make an impact, and view the hours they spend at work as more than just a job. I am often asked what differentiates us. I always respond that our super power is our diversity and culture of team-work that delivers results. I am always proud to share the high percentage of achievers – who coincidentally are women and minorities in our workforce. We at Raft, have it in our DNA to be diverse. Diversity is not a hashtag for us; rather it is the way we do things because we know it is the right thing to do.
What differentiates us from the stereotypical beltway bubble is not just our focus on forward leaning technologies, but rather, the attitude of each of our team members. We don’t have A and B teams; we only have A teams. We check our ego at the door and we contribute; we roll up our sleeves, get the job done, and create impactful and accessible outcomes. We own our client problems and create solutions that embody our ethos, which is open-source-first, transparency, and collaborative contribution.
Looking to the future
We are grateful to be supporting the mission of our partner agencies who have trusted us not because of our network or who we know, but rather because of our technical skills and ability to deliver, and our record of delivery. At Raft, we devote ourselves to changing the lives of our fellow Americans for the better. I am proud of what our team has achieved and of our dreams to continue to make an impact.
Having built a growing minority woman-owned digital services company from an independent, one-woman show, I know first-hand how challenging it is to build a company. Although we, as a nation, still have a long way to go for providing women business the same platform, I am thankful that America has provided me a platform to help others. For that reason, every fourth of July is very personal to me. I am reminded of the sacrifices made and how we, at Raft, are fortunate to create a meaningful impact. I dedicate this note of encouragement and celebration to every American, as well as my dedicated team of “Rafters” who work hard each day to take our mission forward. I also dedicate this note to other women entrepreneurs, who may be a one-woman show right now, but are committed to being the driving force of the future.
Please take a moment to think about what drives you this Fourth of July. And enjoy your day of independence!
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