Naga Lakshmi’s Intro in her own words:
Lawyer by profession, dancer by passion and blogger (The Dancing Lawyer.com) by hobby who enjoys being a teacher and a home maker.
How did you come to the US? For studies or as a dependent?
My masters in University of Pennsylvania Law School brought me to the US (Philadelphia) initially in 2014. After graduation, I went back to India for a brief stint before relocating to Seattle in 2015 with my husband whose job needed him here.
What were the challenges you faced during/after your transition from India to here? How did you overcome those challenges?
I am one of the lucky few who had a comparatively easier transition into the student and professional lives in the US. I started my master’s in 2014, after my marriage. So in a way that was my biggest transition being back to a single life after 1+ years of married life. But I had a good support system at home and in my college, which got me through.
After my master’s I moved back to India for a short time when my husband got an opportunity to move to Seattle for his job. Both of us felt that this was the right move for our careers in the long run, and decided to relocate together. I faced the usual challenges of setting up a home in a new city, however once we moved past it Seattle has been very kind to me. I have met some great people, travelled to a lot of new places (one of the perks of being in the Pacific Northwest) and overall got lots of opportunities to explore new ideas and environments.
What did you do your Masters in? How do you think this education has helped you in your career?
I did my masters in Law (LLM) from the University of Pennsylvania. This course is offered to the legal professionals from outside the US. I totally fell in love with the education system at the university. I experimented with the teaching methods in choosing my courses. I selected courses to enhance my knowledge of law and this also aided me to hone skills as a legal professional. Working with amazing law professionals from different parts of the world added to the enriching experience at Penn. Apart from the learnings from here, my education at Penn is helping me settle as a legal professional here in the US.
What do you attribute your success to?
I believe that path to success is on-going. There are many people who helped me, encouraged me, and sacrificed for me all the way long. As a child, I owe my success to my parents. I am very glad that my parents dreamt big for me. They laid the strong foundation and paved the path for me to achieve it. I have to thank my stars as my marriage added to my support system. My husband has been my biggest encouragement to pursue higher education in a prestigious school and my in-laws supported us. I am always surprised with his trust in me and my potential which challenges me and keeps me going stronger each day.
What were your student days like and what did you learn during those days?
My days as a student in ILS Law College Pune were the best. It was five long years of self-learning and self-motivation. I learnt many important lessons of my life here, both personally and professionally. I learnt how to make mistakes and learn from them, taste success and not fall for it and finally be competitive and not lose the spirit of competition.
Days at University of Pennsylvania Law School were very different. My main objective at Penn was to make the best use of the course and the time. The one year course work was fast paced and rigorous. The course experience coupled with the diversity of people gave me a new perspective to law and the working world in general. I learnt to prioritize things in life, balance personal and professional life.
What were your initial days in your first job like? How did the experience in your first job help you along your professional career?
My first job was with Infosys Limited as Associate Corporate Counsel and I believe that it was the perfect start for my professional life. It gave me an opportunity to work on rotation basis in different teams which helped me pick the area I wanted to specialize in. The work environment was mid-paced and was perfect for a fresher to understand the work, improve performance and deliver on time. My area of specialization is commercial contracts and I am now an Associate Contracts Manager at Amazon.
What does work-life balance mean to you? How do you maintain it in your life?
For me, it is about managing my time and prioritizing my time every day. I love doing multiple things and that brings me joy and energy. I owe this balance in my life to my mom, who made sure that I put equal effort in my dance and education as a child. This has in a way been the expectation, I set for myself in my life. As I always said, clarity of thought, zeal to pursue something and prioritizing commitments can help anyone maintain their work life balance without having to compromise.
Tell us about your journey as a dancer?
Kuchipudi dance has played a major part in my life. I am fortunate to have parents who recognized my interest in dance as a child and put me under the guidance of my guru Dr. Patnam Siva Prasad, who made me the dancer I am today. It has been a long journey of over 25 years and I feel greatly blessed to have imbibed this divine art form. In my continuing journey as a learner and in passing on the art form to the next generations, I started a dance school called “Purna Mudra” in Seattle area. I have about 50 students now and I am totally enjoying my role as a teacher.
What is your advice to the younger folks?
“I am always doing things I can’t do. That is how I get to do them” (Pablo Picasso), has been the way of my life. The only advice I would give is to keep trying new things, to challenge and surprise yourself. Make time for your profession, passion and most importantly make time for yourself.
Author: Naga Lakshmi Bhagavatula
Naga Lakshmi lives in the Seattle area with her husband. She works as a Legal Professional in Amazon. She is passionate about her career and dance. She is also the founder of a dance school called “Purna Mudra”, based in the Greater Seattle area. She is a passionate blogger and blogs regularly in her blog The Dancing Lawyer.com about everything that interests and inspires her!