Spotlight on Commerce: Archana Sahgal, Director, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach

May242016

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Archana Sahgal, Director, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach
Archana Sahgal, Director, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to the Open for Business Agenda

My parents immigrated to Los Angeles from India in the 1970s as another example of people in search of more opportunity and a better life for their family; they left their community, family, and friends in hope for more opportunity and a better life for their children. Growing up, my parents encouraged me to study hard, think critically about current events, and pursue my passion of public service.

I was a first year law student in California when the tragic attacks of September 11, 2011 occurred. I remember the fear my family felt as my community faced a range of challenges from racial profiling to hate crimes to employment discrimination. I channeled this fear and anger into action as I crisscrossed the country working at myriad nonprofits in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Boston focused on economic and racial justice, immigration reform, and civic engagement. My legal background and over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors taught me how to work across the nonprofit, private, and public sector to create lasting change.

These lessons supported my desire to serve in the Obama Administration. Serving as a political appointee has been one of my most thrilling professional experiences. I serve as the Director of the Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach. In this role, I oversee over 20 advisory committees such as the President’s Export Council, the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, and the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. It is a privilege and a honor to play a role in expanding the U.S. economy that leads to sustaining economic growth and supporting and creating more American jobs and greater opportunities for all Americans.  Keeping America open for business is what we do within my office by ensuring that there is abundant customer input on design and development of our policies for more and faster economic growth and job creation in the U.S. for all communities.

“Vision without execution is just a hallucination" is a quote that has been a guidepost for my career. My advice to others who are thinking about their career is to seek out incredible teachers, role models, and mentors who will support, challenge, and feed your vision and to stretch yourself and try as many new experiences that will ultimately help you knit together a plan for how you want to live your life.  Finally, my advice is to build and sustain your support network. We all need our support networks at various stages of our career. I know I did as I made the leap to the Department of Commerce and am thankful, as I’ve been able to weave my passions, skills, and interests serving the Obama Administration.

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Last updated: 2016-05-27 15:24

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