Boss Lady Spotlight: Aparna Rae

At Armoire, we’re casting a spotlight on some of the notable, powerful boss ladies in our community, and what being a boss lady means to them. Read on to learn all about female-founder and Armoire member Aparna Rae.

Her Life:

Past:

I moved to the US at 14, after living in 4 countries and spent the first decade of my career in education. Everything from being a classroom teacher, to leading STEM programming in South King County, to launching a nationwide teacher education platform in India. When I came back in 2017, I decided to use my background to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations – ultimately starting 2 companies, Moving Beyond in 2018 and Future for Us in 2019.  

Present:

Working to advance the future of women of color and historically marginalized people, every single day! I love the strategy and evaluation work we do at Moving Beyond, shifting organizations and systems to create sustainable impact, and moving the needle for women of color through Future for Us’s platform. 

Future:

Thriving in a world that values women and sees the experiences of diverse voices as an asset. 

Her Career:

How she’s redefining women who work:

For starters, we’re redefining the kind of woman who works, especially at the highest levels across all sectors. Women of color in the US have been and been seen as ‘the help’ for too long – it’s problematic that at 20% of the population, WoC hold 50% of the lowest wage work. This has to change. 

Her biggest challenge:

The structural and cultural barriers are very real. Everything you read about a lack of flow of capital to WoC founded companies, micro/macro-aggression, having every choice being called into questions, living every statistic — it can make entrepreneurship even tougher. 

On the flipside, we now have language and awareness, and are in a place to have conversations about what needs to shift.  

Her secret to a work/life balance:

I have never believed in work-life balance. It’s hard, if not impossible, to build in a 40-hr work week. My advice is to know your values and priorities, and build a life grounded in those. 

What she wishes she knew 5 years ago:

There are no shortcuts to success and visibility, building mastery is important. 

Her advice:

There’s no such thing as work-life balance. Don’t feel guilty for occasionally taking work during vacation. Don’t feel guilty for skipping out of work early on a sunny day to drink lychee margaritas at Marination. You know what’s best for your life – go live it!   

Her Style:

Why she uses Armoire:

Armoire’s buyers and stylists have better judgment than I do. 

Her favorite part:

The speed at which outfits arrive – if I’m speaking at an event on short notice, it’s easy to find the right thing and have it delivered within 48 hours. 

Boss Lady Go-To:

This long sleeve black dress – I wore it to multiple galas, conferences, speaking engagements. I felt tall, confident, professional in it! 

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