Location: University Union, #333A
Rashmi Airan grew up with high expectations and a strong desire to succeed. When she unexpectedly landed in prison her dreams may have been temporarily shattered, but her perseverance never ceased. Come listen to her story on May 2, and see why she now is the voice for ethical vigilance.
Listen to Rashmi here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAbBRzTueaA
Rashmi Airan, a first generation immigrant of Indian parents and the oldest of three daughters, was raised with high expectations to achieve. She had both professional and personal pressures. Rashmi’s father came to the United States with just $8 in his pocket to attend school and achieve the American dream for the hope of a better life for his family. He obtained a masters degree and a doctorate degree in engineering and is now on his second career after obtaining a juris doctor and masters in law degree. In the Indian community, there is a strong desire to achieve good grades, go to the top schools, win awards, get hired by big companies, and make money.
In addition to being a mother of two, Rashmi was a successful lawyer who graduated with honors from Columbia Law School. After working for several major corporations, she launched an independent law practice in Miami, Florida. During the housing boom, she was recruited to work with a local real-estate developer who later engaged in questionable ethical business practices. Rashmi’s drive to succeed financially and to give her children the best life possible created an ethical blind spot for her. She chose not to question her client’s behavior despite her inner voice screaming “ask questions!” Her involvement resulted in a six month sentence to Federal prison, alongside a $19M judgment against future earnings, required community service hours, and 3 years supervised release.
Before beginning her sentence, Rashmi’s community of friends and family embraced her. Though previously believing only a high level of success would make them proud, she now felt for the first time the true power of what building strong relationships meant. A close family friend remarked quietly “You will eventually learn that this is not happening to you, it is happening for you.”
In prison, Rashmi felt shame and remorse for her decisions. Taking in six months of federal prison life, Rashmi came to a place of peace and self-forgiveness. While being immensely humbled by this life-changing experience, she emerged with invaluable lessons learned both personally and professionally. Rashmi Airan, ethics speaker, shares her emotional development of living with remorse, but not letting it define you. She is determined to create a culture of conversation around ethics and compliance and to integrate ethics into all aspects of our lives.
Rashmi continues to tour the country as an ethics speaker, sharing her story to illustrate the ethical perils that can result from a drive to succeed and the blind spots created when we are pursuing our goals. She mines her vast legal and business expertise to address ethical issues in business. Rashmi tells her powerful story to deliver game-changing messages to universities, law firms, corporate teams, and trade associations around the United States, redefining what it means to be successful in an American culture where success is often obtained by any means necessary.