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Paying it Forward

Tina Mansukhani Garg, participant of the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, shares how her U.S. trip motivated her to build a better world. 


Traveling to the United States can be an unforgettable experience, especially when you get to meet some of the country’s best and brightest women. For Tina Mansukhani Garg, participant of the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, her first visit to the United States in June 2016 was life-altering, both for herself and those she strives to serve in her company, Pink Lemonade.

Garg is the founder and the chief executive officer of the communications agency based in Bengaluru. She manages a team of 60 people, and works with large and small brands like Microsoft, Allstate, Tata Coffee and GE Healthcare. “We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver communication solutions to all kinds of clients—be it start-ups or large corporate houses. We’re as committed to good work as we are to putting women back to work. It is my strong belief that when you empower a woman, you empower a community—and so, we’re always looking to hire and retain women at Pink Lemonade,” says Garg.

It’s obvious from the moment you meet Garg that she’s very serious about her work. She was one of 13 women chosen to be mentored by one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders from companies like Time Inc., Google and Wal-Mart Stores, etc. During the three-week program, Garg traveled to three different U.S. cities—Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York. Over the course of this period, Garg took in as many sights and sounds of the United States as possible, starting with her flight.

In Washington, D.C., Garg attended workshops, listened to inspirational talks and met various top government officials, including ambassadors and senators. When she finally had a moment to explore the city, she found herself surrounded by impressive buildings and temperate weather, “comparable to Lutyens’ Delhi.”

The next stop on the program had her traversing the country to the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful city of San Francisco, with its iconic Golden Gate Bridge. “And of course it wasn’t golden, like I knew!” laughs Garg. But its golden charm inspired her nonetheless. A week into the program, Garg noticed she was developing a deeper sense of what women face in this world, both those who are at the top of their fields and those who are struggling to make ends meet. “Every woman is inherently strong and has a natural tendency to give, sacrifice and love. That just comes back when you’re out there struggling to achieve something for yourself; you find the favor being returned by those around you.”

Over the course of the trip, she developed strong friendships with the other participants, who are also considered leaders in their respective fields. “It was amazing to see how everyone was so different—even the three of us from India have such diverse personalities and diametrically opposite businesses.”

Fortunately for Garg, her trip was not all work and no play. Her friends from San Diego met her in San Francisco and took her around the more artistic, antiquated neighborhoods in “The City,” as locals put it. Garg also visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

From San Francisco, she flew back across the country to New York and visited the U.S. House of Representatives, the International U.N. Headquarters, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum. But for Garg, her favorite part of New York was not sightseeing, but witnessing an opera in the home of photographer Alice Kendall. Hosted by Estée Lauder, it was “a fabulous event and a wonderful closure to the entire experience.”

When it was time to fly back to India, Garg felt freshly motivated to continue her mission to lead and empower women. “This trip cemented in me the desire to pay it forward and support other women to get ahead, no matter what it takes,” she says. Back home, she has started a program allowing her employees to take half a day off to volunteer in organizations that focus on children and education.

A month is not a long time to spend in a country as vast and diverse as the United States, but for Garg, it was just enough to continue on her path to change the world around her.

 

Megan McDrew is a professor of sociology at Hartnell College. She is based in Monterey, California.