Director Spotlight: Janisha Sabnani

Janisha Sabani LinkedIn

Who have been the most influential women or female communities in your life? How did they guide you in your professional choices?

The most influential woman in my life is my mother—she is still my biggest cheerleader. Her unwavering support shaped me into a confident and independent thinker.

I’ve been very lucky to have fantastic managers in my career at the law firm and at the bank, though they have not been female.  They have really cared for me, taken an interest in my development and personal life and I can always count on them for support, even though they don’t have the same lived experience.

How do you find community with other women in your current position?

Though there are so many female affinity groups out there, organic relationship building is the most effective and satisfying for me. Whether you are meeting other parents, colleagues, or longtime friends, cultivating female relationships wherever they come from is how I built my community. And I’ve always been like that, I have a network of women who I love, that are my close friends, that are professional relationships, and everything in between. I bring them together often, even though they may not know each other. I’m naturally a connector and someone who shows my care, support, and love in acts of service like hosting gatherings and creating space for people to make connections.

What do you feel is the next step in investing in women in the workforce?

Mentorship is key. I participated in my company’s mentoring program for several years as a mentor, as well as other formal and informal programs. For me, providing this access and mentorship to other women is most powerful way of influencing women in the workforce.

Having a leader to workshop ideas with, to teach you how to navigate a corporate environment, and to help you with your professional development is so crucial to any young person’s success.

Do you have any advice for young women entering higher education and the workforce? What do you wish someone had told you?

Always ask. The worst thing you will hear is “no”! The first person that gave me this advice was my mom. If I ever hesitated to ask for something as a child she’d say “If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it!”  She’s right – it is so important to ask for that new project you want to take on, that promotion you believe you deserve, or the help or resources you need to get the job done.

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The BASIC Fund is a privately funded 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to advance education equity for low-income families by helping offset the cost of tuition at private schools in the Bay Area.

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