Speaker: Aditi Chokshi

Embracing Hidden Opportunities to Enable Others: Life's Lessons With My Brother

Aditi Chokshi is a remarkable "love warrior" of depth and character in the ServiceSpace ecosystem.  A management consultant at Bain & Company in San Francisco, where she advises a number of social sector and retail clients​, Aditi has spent eight years working on grassroots global development at the intersection of gender justice, economic empowerment, education, and health, with a focus on adolescent populations.  While Aditi recognizes the need for social change on a large scale, she remains keenly focused on seeding the "small ripples" – which occur when no one is watching, and in the most intimate one-on-one settings – that power meaningful change the universe.

Raised in Texas, Aditi graduated from Columbia University and worked for three years as a management consultant at Bain in New York City before moving to her mother’s hometown of Ahmedebad, India. Through volunteer work as Director of Growth and Impact at a nonprofit focusing on sustainable livelihoods for poor slum women, Gramshree, ​Aditi found her passion for empowering women and adolescent girls.  After two years working across India – in rural Bihar and rural Rajasthan as well as in Ahmedabad – with an array of organizations whose core strength involved grassroots community mobilization, she pursued and received a masters' degree in international development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with a special focus on education in resource-poor settings.

In her pursuit of social justice on a large scale, Aditi stays grounded through small moments of intimate connection that allow her to help others reach their potentials.  She beautifully recounts how her relationship with her younger brother, who experiences certain neurological issues, keeps her focused on small moments of connection even as she works with people of different backgrounds:  "At my home, even mundane experiences such as pouring a glass of milk became an opportunity to build an environment where Anand could thrive.  When Anand was little, I would make sure one milk container was only a quarter full and at the front of the fridge.  The nearly empty container relieved my mother’s fears about another spill and kept Anand feeling confident.  As Anand reached for the container, I would remind him to pour over the sink and coach him on how to hold the gallon steadily with both hands.  With a little encouragement only a few drops would escape his cup.  One of the biggest lessons Anand has taught me is to look for the 'milk moments' of life – small opportunities to selflessly enable someone else to succeed. . . . 

"There is a deep reciprocity in 'milk moments,' where seemingly inconsequential acts allow us to discover the depths of our own character. . . .I believe big moments in life are the ones that grab us awake, the ones that force us to stand up for what we believe in, to deliver precisely when the stakes are high and many are counting on us. . . .[T]he big moments jolt us awake but what we do once we are awakened – I believe that is the true substance of our character. And I believe it is the small moments – moments that no one knows about, moments that no sees, moments when we know absolutely no one else is watching – that truly define our character."

Selected as the Class Day speaker for her graduating class at Harvard, Aditi was introduced as "an excellent economist, but what really shines through about her is her heart."  As Aditi reflected to her fellow graduates:  "No challenge is too insurmountable; no dream too big.  Yet we must not let our quest for the big become our singular pursuit.  I'm sure all of you have felt the tension:  Your dreams are so purposeful that in an extreme sense of justice, focusing on smaller moments could feel irresponsible.  But it is in this type of thinking that we often forget that it is in those smaller moments of true connection in between the campaigns and the ministries and the big positions that we become who we are.  . . . We will be prepared for our bigger moments because of how we are conditioned in these smaller ones.  As we eagerly walk across the stage Thursday conquering this big moment and onto our next ones, we can aspire to a style of service that's a way of being – where we fight fiercely for the big, while nurturing the everyday moments to selflessly connect – trusting the symbiotic nature between the two."

Join us for this Awakin call, to experience intimately the power –  big and small – that is Aditi!

 


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