C-Suite Pics is honored to introduce Alka Pateriya to you today! Alka is Vice President of an education-focused company that helps schools and teachers provide the best educational experience for their students and communities. As you read, be sure to note her favorite Anatole France quote--it is a great one!
What is your "day job"?
I work as Vice President at Tripod Education Partners, an education company based in Cambridge, MA. We provide actionable feedback to teachers and school leaders, based on surveys of students and teachers about their perceptions of the teaching and learning environment in classrooms and schools.
Who were your heroes, or mentors?
My mom and her sister are definitely my role models when it comes to working hard, pursuing my passions, and speaking my mind. They taught me the value of being independent, strong, committed, and pushing to reach my goals. They both also showed me how essential family and close friends are to one’s life and the pursuit of one’s goals.
When did you decide that you were an education executive; that this would be your journey?
I spent seven years as a teacher and an administrator, and then nine years working in an educational research organization. Mid-way through my time there, I had the opportunity to work on a landmark study of teacher effectiveness. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to pursue a leadership position in a company that valued what I had to offer— my drive for success and my experience working in and with schools and school districts across the country.
If you weren't an education executive, what would life look like?
I think my work life would be focused on supporting a variety of organizations as a consultant. I have the great fortune to work from home, so I think the rest of my life would be largely similar— perhaps with more travel and adventures outside of DC.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?
I think I would have been more confident in my decisions along the way. I likely would have pursued independent consulting sooner than I did. I think I would have definitely found the time to take a four-to-six month sabbatical at some point to travel throughout India and really explore the places, people, and history I studied as an undergraduate student.
What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?
Spending time with my nieces, and watching them grow into amazing young ladies, is my greatest joy. Outside of that family time, I find rejuvenation from spending time with close friends, over good food and a glass of wine. Of course, I also enjoy taking time for just me, reading a book, cooking, or baking.
What would you like your epitaph to read?
One of my favorite sentiments about teaching was included in a book that changed the way I viewed the teaching of American History: Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen. The quotation is from Anatole France: “Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them.”
If you were only given one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?
Is there anything else you wish I'd asked you?
I wish you had asked if I had advice to young women starting their careers. I would tell them to be themselves, be assertive, and pursue their passions. I remember early in my career being called bossy, opinionated, and overly independent. Because of how I was raised, I took all those as compliments, though they weren’t meant to be. I think some of that thinking has dissipated, but not enough of it.