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5 leadership qualities tech entrepreneurs can learn from Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, took centre stage these past couple of weeks. However, the Vice President, Kamala Harris, attracted global attention. Harris is the first Asian-American woman to be vice president-elect of the USA and is America’s highest-ranking woman in its 244-year existence. The 56-year-old US Senator from California recently shared, “I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Kamala Harris has inspired millions by making history and to say she faced significant systemic barriers would be an understatement. Unlike high-growth entrepreneurs, her achievements result from perseverance, grit, unhinged vision, determination, and the ability to pivot. Here are five entrepreneurial outtakes from Harris’ life, which can genuinely help entrepreneurs in their journey.

A drive to create a better world 

When she was just 13, Kamala led a protest at her apartment building against a policy that banned children from playing on the lawn. Even from a young age, Kamala portrayed an innate drive to better the world around her, which stems from her mother, Kamala Harris’s wise words, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something.” 

Some of the most successful businesses stem from a founder entrepreneur’s needs to create a better world. Like Kamala, many top-tier successful entrepreneurs have an insatiable drive to impact the world with their offerings positively. 

Aim for disruptive digital leadership 

In this day and age of digital living, one needs to be fairly acquainted and comfortable with online tools. Being in a leadership position, Kamala quickly understood how important it is to establish yourself in the digital domain and how to utilise the tools at her disposal to make a difference. This was reflected during election campaigns, wherein Trump, a digital powerhouse with more reach and online influence, was bested by Biden and Harris’ team. 

Strive hard to achieve your goal  

Harris set her eyes on goals that once would’ve been deemed out of reach. However, she persevered through difficulties to achieve her set goals and this was achieved via relentless hard work. Harris studied economics and political science at Howard University, giving her the baseline mindset of an entrepreneur. 

Additionally, she favours progress over perfection. Harris failed the bar exam on her first attempt, but she picked herself up and retook the test to pass the second time. In college, she amassed experience and raised her potential by working at various entry-level positions at the FTC, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the office of former California Senator Alan Cranston.

Remember your roots and be proud of it 

The only way to move forward is to accept yourself. Kamala embodies this phrase with her refreshing quality of embracing her roots and grounded approach to life. Despite being the most powerful woman in the US, the Vice President-elect always remembers where she came from.

Kamala was born to a Black father and an Indian mother, and she grew up embracing her Indian culture and taking great pride in it. Kamala has never been shy of her Indian connections, as well of her Jamaican roots. While, her South Asian mother raised her, her Black heritage wasn’t forgotten.

“My mother understood very well that she was raising two Black daughters,” Kamala wrote in her autobiography. “She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as Black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud Black women.”

Don’t let people decide for what you’re capable of doing  

Kamala paved her way in this world, and like an entrepreneur, she too was heavily criticised for her actions. ‘I have in my career been told many times, “It’s not your time”, “It’s not your turn”. Let me tell you; I eat ‘no’ for breakfast. So, I would recommend the same,’ Kamala declared.

Kamala has proved that confidence and grit go a long way when you’re striving for the impossible. Back in 2019, she told the Washington Post, ‘I’m who I am. I am good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it.’ There are few things as empowering and important than accepting yourself.