Becoming an entrepreneur and the owner of your own business is never easy especially when you’re 24 and just a few years out of grad school but that never stopped Smita Shah from going for the gold. So how has she managed to have this type of success without losing sight of who she is and while dealing with the responsibility of being the head honcho? Well, she recently sat down to discuss these issues with David Cochrane. When she was growing up, she couldn’t help but notice she was one of the few girls in her math class and the only one who was not caucasian. Ever since then, she has been driven to promote diversity throughout the workplace and advocate for minorities to be given equal treatment in both their personal and professional lives.
One of the ways she attempts to fight back against this trend is by trying to hire as diverse a staff as she can. Even though she is the owner of her own company, she has still experienced instances of bias occasionally but she is quick to brush it off as she understands that it’s usually just a big misunderstanding. When she was matriculating at Northwestern University, she quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the best students in her class. Upon graduating, she then enrolled in MIT to pursue a master’s in civil engineering. She not only had to work on her thesis paper but also complete an internship with the white house chief of staff.
After she had concluded her academic studies, she was offered the opportunity to work at SOM and she accepted the role of a structural engineer. However, after just a year of serving in that position, she realized she was ready to strike out on her own and established Spaan Tech towards the end of 1998. Due to the discrimination, she has experienced over the years, she is constantly encouraging females in the workplace to help and support each other whenever possible to help them advance in their respective fields. When she was first putting this new company together, she had no idea if it would take off which is why she wasn’t that invested in how the company fared in the long run but she was aware of the following. Learn more: https://cee.mit.edu/tag/smita-shah/
If the business ended up tanking, she could always find refuge under the roof of a different company but, if it ended up becoming a big success, she would have a terrific story she could use to inspire the next generation of aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs, especially those who are female. So you’re probably wondering what exactly the company does. Well, they specialize in connecting the world by building new bridges, superhighways and parking decks to help people get where they need to go. They also provide the lighting for various fixtures such as streetlights, lighthouses and the red light you see on an emergency call box. So we wish them the best of luck.