Name: Alka Pateriya

Current Role: Vice President, Tripod Education Partners

Length in Current Role: 2 years, 3 months

Favorite thing about what I get to do everyday: Work with school and district leaders to help them understand how to use Tripod survey data to improve teaching and learning for their students.

Spirit Animal: These days, Lin-Manuel Miranda is my spirit animal. His relentless drive, over seven years, to bring Hamilton to the stage is inspiring.

What’s your superpower: I think it would have to be making a list and checking it off. As LMM writes, “Immigrants–we get the job done.” I learned a strong work ethic from my parents, and it serves me well.

Best lesson learned from a mentor or someone I admire: I’ve learned to pursue my dreams and know my worth–don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and deserve. All the while, don’t compromise who you are. I’ve learned this from a variety of folks with whom I’ve developed great friendships after first meeting at work.

What I do to make lemonade out of lemons on my toughest days: I remember that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. So, even when there is a tough hour or day or week, I focus on the mission of our work. I know that good days always outnumber bad days.

What education equity means to me: Making sure that every student, in every school, in every ZIP code, has access to an effective teacher, a safe school, and is inspired to learn and go on to do great things.

My favorite thing to do to relax and rejuvenate: Spending time with friends, usually over a great meal with some wine.

The practices/habits that help keep me grounded and maintain perspective when I’m feeling stressed, overworked, or unmotivated are: I return to my to do list and prioritize it. I also make sure to check in with co-workers, as if I’m feeling these things, they might be also. My job is not only to get my work done, but also ensure that others are equipped to be successful. I am learning that sometimes stepping away for thirty minutes can help me to re-focus and de-stress.

Who I turn to for advice or guidance when I need career direction: There are a few friends to whom I turn. Alicia is definitely one of them — she offers the perspective to know what is out there. Katie and Helen really know me, and can offer guidance on what will be fulfilling to me and my drive. I’m grateful for these friends who can provide such insight.

The advice I’d give to someone trying to find their career sweet spot:Think about what you want to be doing day-to-day and also what impact you want to have longer-term. Seek an organization that matches your beliefs. Being around the right people, doing the right work — it makes such a difference to me.

Learn more about Alka’s work at http://tripoded.com and connect with her at alka@tripoded.com.