My ultimate vision is to help skilled immigrants achieve their American Dream.
Meet Anjali Nair, an immigrant coach who wants to support 10,000 immigrants by 2022.
Anjali Nair is the founder of ‘Desi Girl in US’ — a learning platform and community for immigrants in America. When she is not mentoring immigrant women, you can find her spending time with her husband and pup, gorging on Indian food, and living the Florida life. She also works as a Marketing Planner at a corp firm and volunteers as a mentor to aspiring Marketing enthusiasts and new immigrants at 2 organizations.
Tell us why and how you started your journey as an immigrant coach and blogger?
I moved to the US for the first time in 2017 after getting married. My life took a 180 turn as I struggled to adapt from India’s big city busy life to a far more relaxed, touristy vibe of Florida. My initial few months were all about admiring and exploring the new city I have to call home. During my first 18 months in the US, I went through all the phases a new immigrant faces — I became a homemaker by default. I had to pick up some essential life skills like making new friends, driving, and making small talk after quite a few embarrassing situations. As I sat unemployed, watching Netflix and scrolling through job portals, I promised myself to help other new immigrant women develop skills and be prepared before entering the job market.
I started microblogging on Instagram to share my journey. As I received good responses and started meeting other new immigrants, I wrote long-form blogs on my website ‘Desi Girl in US’ on topics that helped many as they planned to move to the US. After helping +200 women through pro bono consultations in 2020, I officially started coaching immigrant women to restart their careers and develop skills to navigate life in the US better.
You have launched a program to help immigrants integrate culturally and into the workforce. Why is this initiative/project important? (please support this with numbers if possible)
After speaking with +100 women in 2020, I narrowed down two main problems that the new immigrant community faced.
1. After a career break, they didn’t know how to get back into the workforce.
2. They faced challenges integrating culturally with the locals due to limitations in communication, exposure, and soft skills.
I personally went through these challenges in my first two years of living in the US. Except for my husband, I didn’t have or know anyone who could teach me everything related to life in America. If I had a mentor/coach, I would’ve learned how to handle all the roadblocks of starting a career, socializing, and developing the skills necessary to feel independent in a foreign country.
I wanted to bring in a solution that did not exist before. After building a tight community of +5k immigrant women under ’Desi Girl in US’, so I built a holistic program that could be taken in person with me and a group of other immigrants as peer support OR can be done in a self-paced way for their specific challenges like communicating in American English..
‘Foreigner To Local in 80 days’ — a 12 week, live group coaching program where I teach women how to develop soft skills, integrate with the culture, regain confidence and land their first job in the USA. One of my students landed her first job within eight weeks with +$14k upwards of what was offered, and another student made two new friends by applying the communication and social skill modules. And the waitlist for the summer cohort is now ready for the new intake.
For people who can’t join the live training and want to learn at their own pace, ‘The American Dream Toolkit’ currently has four toolkits covering Restarting Career, American English Communication, Social Skills, and Regaining Confidence. I want these downloadable toolkits to reach thousands of immigrants looking for professional guidance, and hence we’re giving out all four toolkits at 25% OFF.
Why do coaching and mentorship matter — especially for immigrants?
I’ve had women who’ve spent a decade living in the US tell me how hard things were when they were new to America. It took them YEARS to develop essential skills, and there are still many things new to them! Imagine moving to a new country and starting life all over again with no network, no family, guidance, or support. Immigrants feel like foreigners and are codependents for a long time. The sudden change in culture, lifestyle, halt in their career takes a toll on their personal and professional lives. They take solace in hanging out with their familiar community and don’t spend time integrating themselves with the American culture that offers numerous opportunities.
And finally, when they get their work permit, they don’t get employed due to a lack of skills and training.
The right coach or mentor is someone who’s been through those exact situations and figured out solutions to overcome them. Having a mentor to guide you accelerates learning by 10x, and you have someone looking out for you! I wish I had someone like that when I moved here to onboard me. As a coach to immigrants, I want to save them time because I’ve done all the research and work. I want to help them achieve their American Dream because I know I’ve made it possible for my students.
Who are your mentors?
I strongly believe in the power of mentorship and have seen the value in it personally. My husband is my first mentor who instilled new skills like socializing with locals, picking up American vocabulary and professional networking. Then I met Arjita Sethi, who’s also my role model, and she helped me channel and strategize my vision to empower immigrant women. I also got constant support from my family and ex-bosses from India and the US.
What is your larger vision, and where do you see yourself in a few years from now?
More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the US each year. With the American Dream Toolkit and F2L program, I want to support 10,000 immigrants by 2022 and 100,000 by 2026. By onboarding new immigrants rightfully and equipping them with the skills to land their first job, my ultimate vision is to help skilled immigrants achieve their American Dream. If you’re a new immigrant looking to join the workforce or plan to move to the USA, I’d be happy to guide you!
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- Reducing gender inequalities in tech and closing the pay gap by democratizing skill-based education for women and girls.
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- Re-engaging women (especially moms) back into the workforce post the COVID-19 crises.
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