Vandana Harris' legal career has spanned three continents and includes substantive management, private equity, M&A and cross-boarder experience. Recently, she was recognized on the "Super Lawyer" list as one of the top attorneys in Washington. Having grown up in Kenya, Harris has a passion for impact investing and philanthropic causes that benefit developing and emerging markets, with a particular focus on causes surrounding women, children and wildlife. She is on the board of the Nature Conservancy's Washington Chapter and an active member of the Boys & Girls Club of King County. The secret to her success, she says, comes from being tenacious in the face of the unknown and learning the impact of affecting change for others.
The Lesson That Changed My Life
Vandanna: The loudest voice in the room is not going to be the one that is heard. You need to be the impactful voice. I was born in Mombasa, Kenya which is one of the coastal towns. My family lived in Nairobi. So I grew up in Nairobi. Our family came to Kenya because my grandfather came in with the British Empire to build the railway in Kenya. And so this was one of the opportunities that were brought to a lot of poor families.
As I think, there was two lessons that really my parents taught me. And my mom and dad were two very different people. My dad, really, the lesson that I learned from him was to be tenacious in the face of the unknown. And I write that down often, especially, during times when you're making decisions, or things are going crazy and you're, like, you know, just nervous and anxious. And then my mom taught me that the loudest voice in the room is not going to be the one that is heard. You know, you need to be the impactful voice.
And with those two lessons and, you know, by being compassionate, the greatest impact that we would have is not our own self-wealth. It's not increasing our wealth, it's not increasing our power, it's not increasing our status. It is what we do for others, whether small or big to change somebody else's life in a way that can be impactful to your own life.