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    Meet Seema Nanda: The CEO of the body that runs the US Democratic Party

    Synopsis

    She became the first Indian American to reach the helm of either of America’s two federal parties.

    Agencies
    Nanda says a major challenge in her journey has been the male dominance within the political sphere in the US and women facing discrimination and systemic barriers.
    When Seema Nanda took over this week as the CEO of Democratic National Committee, the organization that governs the US Democratic Party and dates back to 1848, she became the first Indian American to reach the helm of either of America’s two federal parties.

    A lawyer and member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Nanda says a major challenge in her journey has been the male dominance within the political sphere in the US and women facing discrimination and systemic barriers. “To have my peers and colleagues look to me, a woman of colour, with the same level of respect and regard as they would anyone else, is something I have had to fight for,” she told ET Magazine in an exclusive interview.

    For her success, she thanks her mentors and role models; one of whom is DNC chair Tom Perez, for whom she served as chief of staff when he was secretary at the US Department of Labor under President Barack Obama. Nanda sees the present situation, after the 2016 presidential elections, as the most challenging time not just in her career but also in the history of the US and her party.

    “The 2018 mid-terms are the most important elections of our lifetime. We are working to elect Democrats at every level of government,” she said. Beyond the 2018 elections, the DNC, under her, is committed to an “every ZIP code” strategy.

    “Our grassroots organisers are speaking on issues that keep Americans up at night, whether it’s paying rent or finding affordable health care,” says Nanda, who in one of her previous roles led the office of employee and immigrant rights in the civil rights division of the US department of justice.

    She admits that the Democrats have underinvested in the infrastructure of the party. The strategy now is to invest more than ever in the states and to recruit and train diverse candidates to run and mobilise voters rather than wait for presidential elections. As a role model for the next generation of Indian-Americans, Nanda hopes that growing up they will see more people like them who are elected officials.

    “We have an obligation to ourselves and to future immigrants to keep hammering on that ceiling and create a better future.” Others too feel that Nanda, along with of other Indian American women in political leadership including Senator Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, will help energise Indian Americans aspiring to careers in politics and public service.

    “She is one of our community’s most talented leaders. As the first Indian American to serve as CEO of a national party, she will instantly be a role model,” says Gautam Raghavan, a senior advisor in the Obama administration, who now leads the Indian American Impact Fund, a political action committee.

    4 Comments on this Story

    J. Stephen Schiavo391 days ago
    The online campaign for money from Dem candidates is way out of hand! I get dozens of emails (and texts) every day asking for money, most from jurisdictions where I have no business sticking my nose in! Ihave given a lot of oney so far, for a retired school teacher, and i expect to give a lot more, but I'm concerned that you're wearing out your welcome with many erstwhile eager supporters. Igot an email from Nancy P toay, saying "We don't need your money, we need your input", so Itook the lame childlike survey, and indeed it wrapped up with a plea for yet more money.
    I long for the day of publicly financed campaigns when it'll be ILLEGAL to solicit or acept ANY privat contributions.
    srl garber394 days ago
    Shame on you and your party-not one comment about the recent anti-Semitic attacks especially in New York. Nothing from schumer or your beloved aoc.
    Larry Brown540 days ago
    The issue that keep Americans up at night is Donald Trump.
    The Economic Times