Why I believe in SALUTE

By Era Ray

For me, SALUTE (South Asian Ladies Unite to Empower) has been 3 decades in the making.

I started my career in IT implementation for financial services institutions, and today I work in strategy for a prestige beauty company.  Quite the jump.  Like many of us, my career has been a journey, with each step further developing me as an individual and bringing me closer to my passions.  And at each step, critical for me was having support from strong women – peers along with those above and below – to support me.

These relationships have manifested in many ways – a mentor sharing learnings from her journey, a sponsor creating opportunities, a colleague making an important introduction, a junior providing constructive feedback, a friend listening as I vented about a tough week.  Each of these meaningful connections has been a building block to who I am today – personally and professionally.

It has been proven that success is correlated with the strength of your network.  The challenge is how to build these meaningful connections in the first place.  Most of us have networks from our education, extracurriculars, jobs – but there’s one very powerful network that many of us do not leverage enough.

The truth is:  South Asian women are bada$$es.  We are in some of the most influential positions across industries – from politics, to business, to the sciences, to the social sector.  Even as I look at my own circles – I’m inspired by the impact that my friends, family, and colleagues are having in their companies and in society.  Despite this, there are few forums that help South Asian women meaningfully connect with one another.  Plus, we are not doing enough to celebrate our successes, and there is an untapped opportunity for us to unite and learn from one another.

The founding team of SALUTE felt this gap when we started testing the idea of SALUTE with other South Asian women. We found we were not alone.


This made us realize even more just how much South Asian women were looking for opportunities to connect with one another.

I mentioned above how success is correlated with the strength of your relationships.  Success and fulfillment are linked to how much one gives back in these relationships (shoutout to the work of one of my brilliant professors and thought leaders, Adam Grant).  SALUTE was started to create that opportunity — to build an empowered community of South Asian women who support one another and help each other grow.

We know that South Asian women are individual leaders in their fields.  Imagine how powerful we can be together.  That’s why I’m excited for SALUTE.

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