US Presidential Award winner Rita Kakati-Shah shares her passion for volunteering
Rita Kakati-Shah (Mathematics & Management, 2001)
King’s alumna, trailblazer and activist Rita Kakati-Shah (Mathematics & Management, 2001) is inspiring many through her volunteering and mentoring efforts. In fact, Rita recently received the US Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong commitment to such endeavours. In this chat, Rita discusses her journey at King’s, her passion for serving and her new book The Goddess of Go-Getting: Your Guide to Confidence, Leadership, and Workplace Success.
How does it feel to receive the US Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award?
It’s an amazing feeling! I was overwhelmed when I received the news, and pleased to learn that it was in recognition of volunteering and giving back to the community – because although that’s part of who I am, it’s the last thing I would have ever thought of being acknowledged for!
King’s champions a lifelong commitment to service. Can you discuss how that influenced your humanitarian efforts?
Throughout my time at King’s – and now as a proud alumna – putting community first and giving back was a formative part of my student experience. I still remember my first day at the Freshers’ Fayre meeting my ‘mums’, who were second-year, fellow Maths & Management students, serving as my role models and buddies to navigate my early days as a student. Similarly, I would also make the effort to offer guidance to other students, no matter which faculty they were in. One of the best parts of being an alumna is mentoring students, alumni and members of various clubs worldwide.
What advice would you give to King’s alumni who are interested in serving?
Do get involved! You have many experiences throughout your life that you can use to impact someone else’s and make a difference to a community. There are several ways of serving. It could be mentoring students or other alumni or taking part in King’s annual Global Day of Service, where you can join fellow alumni and participate in several in-person or virtual community projects to make an impact.
What’s next for you?
I released my new book, The Goddess of Go-Getting: Your Guide to Confidence, Leadership, and Workplace Success on International Women’s Day (8 March). I’m excited about the book, as it’s full of personal and professional anecdotes to enable individuals and corporations alike to relate to the vast and multidimensional themes of diversity, inclusion and gender equality.