by Aniya Jain
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Shini Jain. I currently live in the Dallas, Texas area with my husband and twin daughters, but i was born and raised in Uttar Pradesh, India. I’m a technical program manager with AppDynamics, which is a part of Cisco Systems.
Tell me about your childhood and what it was like being a woman and gender-expansive person in your childhood town.
I spent my childhood in a small town living in a joint family home with uncles/aunts and many cousins. In India, on many festivals, it was considered a blessing to be a young girl because you were presented with many gifts, food, and love from family. One difference that I felt between me and my brother or male cousins was that they weren’t expected to do chores, while me and my sisters were doing things like cooking, decorating for holidays, and things like that.
Why do you enjoy and appreciate being a woman and gender expansive person?
The thing I enjoy most about being a woman is the supporting and loving community that all women are a part of. We try to lift each other up and give others advice, which is something I don’t think many other communities have. I love participating in female leadership programs whenever I get the chance. A few years ago, I attended an event called the “Women’s Leadership Summit” as part of a work trip in Boston. I had the chance to listen to many female leaders like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about women in leadership positions in various industries.
What is your passion? How does any work you do relate or align with your passion?
My passion is to lead and manage teams. My work does align with my passion for leading. I get to manage my team, meet new people, and do the things I love. I also enjoy learning new things on my own. For example, I like gardening, I am learning to play the guitar, and I like to cook different cuisines. I am constantly looking for new things and places to explore, and to maybe find a new passion.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I would say my proudest accomplishment is thatI immigrated to the United States, got my master’s degree, and built a family. I came to the United States in 1999 with my husband. It was a long process to get my citizenship, but I am ultimately happy with my decision to immigrate to this country because I am able to have better opportunities for myself and my family. Getting my master’s degree was a large milestone in my life. I not only learned about software engineering and team management, I met many people that I am still good friends with today.
Having immigrated from India, what do you feel is the biggest difference between the two cultures, and what were you surprised to know was similar?
The biggest difference I noticed when I first came here was the level of infrastructure and development. Roads and cities, even in 1999 were very advanced compared to what it was like back home. Of course, languages are different. Here the primary language spoken is English, but in India, language changes in every town you visit. Other differences include food, music, and style of education. One similarity was the diversity of the people. In America, you have people from all different corners of the world living in one neighborhood. While in a grocery store, you can see so many different kinds of clothing and hear multiple languages spoken around you. Many may not know this, but India is also very diverse. There are so many different languages, religions, clothing styles, and cuisines. It is impossible to pick one thing to represent the whole country.
How do you empower yourself?
I empower myself by learning new things whenever I can. Like I said before, I love playing the guitar, gardening, and trying out new recipes. I am always looking for new hobbies to pick up and new activities to try. I also empower myself by listening to other people’s stories. I love meeting new people and learning about their unique experiences and passions.
How do you empower people in your life and community/communities?
I empower others by volunteering in my community. If anybody needs help with anything, I will always drop everything to help them out. I also participate in my local Jain temple. I cook for monthly lunches and help prepare for poojas and special programs.
Do you have any advice for girls who are also trying to empower themselves?
The advice I would give is to stay focused on your goals and passions. Have patience and tolerance when dealing with people that have conflicting personalities. Don’t let anyone ruin your day.
How can the international community help you and your community in a legitimate way? Is there anything you’d like us to know so we can share it with our Global Girlhood community?
Global Girlhood is connecting so many women around the world by sharing stories. Keep up the good work!