We had the good fortune of connecting with Uma Srivastava and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Uma, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m an Asian American and a proud Mississippian – those two descriptions often times do not go in the same sentence but I’m very proud of my heritage and my culture! I was born and raised in a small town in MS and this allowed me to learn about the state and its residents in detail; my classmate was the granddaughter of James Chaney – we didn’t need history books, the folks surrounding us told us the stories from the past. With my Indian background, we grew up celebrating every holiday and every tradition! Through this fusion background, I have a better appreciation for folks from all walks of life!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I thought I had it all when I got my first job in DC, working at the NIH – I was taking the metro to work every day, checking out monuments at night or on weekends but something was missing — my friends/family! I was in Bethesda/DC while my familly and friends were in Birmingham and Mississippi. I moved back to Birmingham and joined a start up healthcare company; I had a great 6 years there. My parents were very apprehensive about me leaving a comfortable job and joining a start up company, where most start ups fail in the first year! I was 23, independent, no student debt so I took the jump! Through this job, I found KultureCity and that shaped the rest of my career. I’ve faced several challenges throughout my career; at first glance, folks always brush me off — how can a young, Asian woman know anything? How can she lead the meeting or command the room? I had to learn to prove those skeptics wrong! Today, I’m the Executive Director of KultureCity and present at international conferences and meetings!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a new resident of Nashville – I moved during the pandemic so haven’t had much of a chance to explore..however our favorite spot is Lou/Na – an amazing rooftop bar with incredible views of Nashville! If friends are staying longer, we’d also take them to the Parthenon for a picnic!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is dedicated to Dr. Julian Maha and Dr. Michele Kong! These two mentors have not only guided me throughout my professional career but have become family! Julian actually officiated our wedding in June 2020 when no other priest was available! Both individuals are doctors and have a family but they always find the time to check-in and ensure that all is well! They have never said no, just smiled and helped along the way!