The Other Side of Pratima
Interviewer: Tiffany Liao
Interviewee: Pratima Mangar
“Pratima Mangar is our current Executive President in Women In Business. This is the first part of the interview I had with her so we can learn a little bit more about her personally. There will be two parts, so stay tuned for next week! I hope this interview will help you understand that being an executive or regular board member does not distinguish us from the rest of WIB. We simply took an extra step before you to run for a position and take WIB’s matters into our own hands.”
- Tiffany Liao, VP of Publications
T: The purpose of this blog post is for readers to know who Pratima is outside of WIB. Can you tell us a little about yourself:
I am involved in many activities outside of WIB and I think it is really important to stay grounded and not to have work all the time. If I was only a part of WIB and did not participate in other extracurricular activities, I would not be the person that I am in WIB. I am currently an executive intern in Target which is really awesome! My internship is about to conclude and I will be starting as a full time in September. I was able to expand my leadership skills and develop myself as a better leader by exploring my strengths and flaws. I am currently studying Human Resource management. Another way for me to become a better leader is to always study it all the time, and put it into action.
I love going to the gym to work out. I know people beat themselves up and think that it is a burden to work out. It is the same for me, but I like it as a hobby. It is not about losing weight or getting fit, but if I don’t work out it is like I am not doing anything for myself. I also really like arts and crafts. I love coloring and doing a lot of things that I did when I was younger. It could be like playing with my little cousin or little kids in general, it could be baking. I love cooking and just anything where I can give off a creative drive, and that is just my way of getting a release.
T: Did you always have a set plan for yourself or do you let things go naturally?
In terms of career, I think it is important to have a plan. However, recognizing that things may not go the way you want is equally as important. There was a time when I really wanted to do HR as a full-time commitment. I learned that you can’t do HR for a company unless you know that company and employee culture back and forth. After I was set for HR, I aimed for Higher Education Administration, and I really wanted to pursue student life full-time. It has been a huge part of me since I’ve started college, so that is what I wanted to do after college, getting a master’s in HEA.
Then, I got a great offer from Target that I couldn’t turn down. There were offers that were not comparable to Target so I decided to go with it to see how it is like. It was like nothing that I had ever done before and I loved it! That is when my plan changed. I told myself that I have this whole thing planned out. I knew the schools I would be applying to -- and keeping my GPA at a certain level to get into those schools, I was ready to send those applications out, but the internship changed my mind. Nothing will stop me from pursuing this company full time.
It doesn’t mean that I would change my course within five years and say this is not for me anymore. I could also say in five years that I am working in Target and I love it. I can also be staying in the same place as I was before or I can be pursuing HEA again.
In regards to working out, I have to have a set schedule for when it would happen. If I don’t tell myself that I have to, let’s say leg workout or back workout, then I won’t have time in week to do it. If I don’t plan it, it won’t happen.
T: You mentioned that you baked, what is your best baked good?
The best good I love to bake -- and people are always amazed by this. Whenever I do it, they would get astonished, I would bake brownies and put cookie dough over it so it would be cookie dough brownies. One day I didn’t want to make both the brownies and the cookies because I was lazy, so I decided to put them together and it was great.
T: Many members know that you were a transfer student from Hunter. What was your major there? Was it related to HEA?
I was an economics major in Hunter. Before I graduated from high school, I received a full ride to Pace University in Manhattan and my sister was going to Pace in Westchester at the time. I really loved the school at Westchester. I really wanted to go away for school, but I also wanted to check out the full ride to Pace. I checked out the school and I really loved it.
I knew I had to maintain a certain GPA level or the scholarship would get wiped out completely. I also did not have financial aid. It would have been a really tough path for me if I did lose my scholarship so I talked about it with my parents. If I did not keep the scholarship, I could not stay at the school. You don’t want to get loans, at least not for your undergraduate years. At the tender age of 18, I was faced with the decision to give up the dream of going to school that I am really comfortable with. I also did not want to deal with the problem of transferring my credits from a private to public school later.
It was late August at the time and the only school with classes open was Hunter. I just took whatever major they gave me or major that pertained to my interest at the time, consequently it was economics. I was hoping that I would like it, but it was a liberal arts approach to it and not a business approach. I just couldn’t take it anymore and I didn’t like the environment of the school.
It’s just not Baruch, I knew I had to go by the end of September. I was faced with another decision: if I should start a new application to transfer schools, which is really hard. I respect transfer students or anybody who has to move around a lot for school, it’s so hard to jump out of your comfort zone like that, but I did. I started Baruch in September, 2013.
I thought about everything I did in Hunter and I knew I needed a new start. The environment in Hunter was where no one talked to each other and club life was shut. Seniors didn’t know what they wanted to do yet, and I was like you know what, I just can’t do that anymore. There aren’t people like that in Baruch. There are some who doesn’t have the same drive with the people I surround myself around with, but thankfully 80% of the students in Baruch have that drive. Always knowing what to do all the time and some knowing they have to be flexible with their plans -- and to even have a plan, and I love that.
T: What are your thoughts on gender inequality and when you have to fight gender discrimination in business or at work?
If you want to make strides against something, you have to believe in yourself. I am not saying that gender discrimination or inequality doesn’t exist. I would pretend that it doesn’t exist. If I am in a class full of men, it is not going to stop me from what I usually do because I was the only woman. I know some situations are overbearing where people can be super obnoxious and try to take over to do the things that they do. I think just pretending that it does not exist is the best solution.
In any group project I would assume the position of a leader. I love hearing about other people’s ideas, but I also want them to know what I think we should do. People would listen to me sometimes and I would still do that with a group of men. I wouldn’t let that stop me and if I have a very womanly idea, I would still say it. They might just like it. It would be the same thing in meetings. Pretend that there is no glass ceiling so there will be no glass ceiling effect.
I hate jokes about women in school and in work. It happens a lot in male dominated groups and women do it too. In the past, people would think the WIB board could not even function because it was comprised of a board of women and that they will not get along with each other. There are times in an organization or company that people don’t like each other. It is not because they are women, it is because people will disagree and people may not get along with each other. Every time someone makes a joke or stereotype, I feel the need to stand up for myself and for my gender.
WIB has made me very comfortable in calling myself a feminist. I want to share this quote that shows my exact point of view. By calling myself a feminist, I want women to feel comfortable with the word:
“If you believe that man and women have equal rights, and then someone asks you if you’re a feminist, you have to say yes. Because that’s how words work. You can’t be like,
‘Yeah I’m a doctor who primarily does diseases of the skin.’
‘Oh, so you’re a dermatologist?’
‘Oh that’s way too aggressive of a word, not at all, not at all.’”
- Aziz Ansari
There was a time last year where the marketing committee created an Instagram hashtag, #FeministFriday, in an effort to get people more comfortable with the word. I remember in the anonymous feedback form that someone said we should stop playing feminism into WIB and that we should stop using feminist Friday. People will be more attracted to our posts if the word feminist is not on it. They wanted us to host the same events just without the words relating to female empowerment on it, but why?
It is basically saying women. Why is it so bad that WIB does not have men on the board? Women are the ones that need to be empowered and are the ones being oppressed. Why is it such a big deal to have one club that empowers women? There are no clubs that exist to empower men because men were never oppressed. What is wrong with the word feminist if you believe in the equal opportunities between men and women, what is so hard about that?
T: What if men want to join our club?
Men can totally join our club and become inducted members. They just can’t run for board. One of my really good friends, Tasnim, was in WIB for a couple of years because he was really good friends with Tina and I. He was in another club, but he would come to our events all the time.