At one point, I started to ask the question, “why do I exist?” After a long search, I concluded there was no real way to know because there are limits on human knowledge. In place of a definitive answer, I made my aspiration to help humanity reach a point when it might one day discover its meaning.
Today, I strive to make the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals a reality. I look for ways to make the economy circular and ensure environmental sustainability. I endeavor to get everyone equal access to opportunity so that the best ideas can flourish.
Both desires push me toward a career in Product Management, where I create products to achieve those goals. I am always searching for ways to effectuate efficient systems, accessible information, and universal health.
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Although I had a general direction, I was unsure about the kind of person I wanted to become as I navigated everyday life. Everything seemed much clearer when I was young; then once I left home, everything was thrown into question. I no longer had any distinct role model for the type of person I wanted to be.
Eventually, books became my guide. At their core, stories are illustrations of how admirable characters overcome adversity.
A friend of mine recommended The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand because she thought I reminded her of the protagonist, Howard Roark. There are few guideposts in life, but The Fountainhead is one. Howard Roark gave me a much-needed role model when I needed it most.
Later, I came across Plato’s Republic. It instilled values like work should always be done in service to others, doing one’s work without getting in another's way is justice, and leading a "just" life is a better life.
Elon Musk’s biography is where I discovered how to enact my values in a modern context. He took his desire to prolong human existence and created a viable business based on sustainability.
Many other books shape my personality, and I regularly find more. Lab Girl and Hillbilly Elegy present useful examples of how to gracefully shoulder stress. (If you’re curious, War & Peace, Letters from a Stoic, and The Inheritance Cycle are good as well.)
To understand me as a person, you can look at my role models.
These authors helped me contemplate big questions. I hope to bring some of the character traits I picked up to the other people in my life.
Discovering how to articulate my purpose has afforded me the ability to communicate my company's vision in a way that inspires my teams.