While my friend Michael Blake, Dr. dt Ogilvie of Rutgers University, myself, Michael Skolnik and others get a lot of credit for the successful launch of the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Forum series earlier this year, there is one person who without whom, without a doubt, the series would not have taken happened. Of course, President Barack Obama is the natural answer, and we all thank the President emensely for giving Michael Blake, Ari Matusiak and others the bandwidth to get this important initiative done. But I was actually referring to my new friend Reshma Saujani, who not only had a special hand in the first full summit in Newark, NJ, but also helped to make the Forum in the Bronx a reality. I am proud to call her a new friend, and wanted the world to know about this amazing, passionate public servant.
Reshma Saujani is the Deputy Advocate for Special Initiatives at the New York City Office of the Public Advocate and the Executive Director of The Fund for Public Advocacy. Her role as Deputy Advocate and Executive Director is to promote civic engagement and government accountability while spearheading public projects that focus on citywide job and economic growth, small businesses, public empowerment, environment-friendly infrastructures, and social/technology innovations that vastly improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.
Reshma has worked to increase political participation among South Asian Americans and has volunteered with community organizations to register young voters across New York City. She has provided free legal counsel to immigrants in Queens, and her pro bono work as an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell included asylum cases to ensure representation for the most vulnerable defendants in New York City.
Reshma was also the Deputy General Counsel and the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Liquid Markets division at Fortress Investment Group.
Reshma earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois, an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
And making her even more special and smart, Reshma is a fan of my now bestselling book, LOVE LEADERSHIP: A New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), so how could I not admire her leadership approach (smile).
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama.