Nina Godiwalla was a University of Texas at Austin student who was a woman, a second-generation immigrant, a middle-class suburbanite and a Texan – and the first freshman to intern at a top-tier Wall Street firm. Unfortunately, those defining qualities would work against Godiwalla – not only during her Wall Street internships, but also at her eventual employment with prestigious powerhouse Morgan Stanley.
Fortunately, Godiwalla’s two-year stint trying to survive as a successful financial analyst in an unrelenting and unethical workplace led to her becoming the author of the 2011 internationally acclaimed bestseller Suits: A Woman on Wall Street, and the first minority woman to write an insider’s account of the investment banking world from an outsider’s perspective.
Godiwalla grew up in a north Houston suburb, the third of four girls with Persian-Indian parents who expected their daughters to achieve no less than their version of The American Dream: an exceptional education and a prosperous profession. Godiwalla didn’t disappoint, with her BBA from UT Austin, as well as scholarships for two Ivy League master's degrees – an MA from Dartmouth and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business – combined with her Wall Street encounter and almost a decade working for Fortune 500 corporations.
But at Morgan Stanley, Godiwalla found the reality of the job less than dreamy. Extreme hazing, public humiliation, relentless testing of her willingness to do more – from all-nighters to cancelled family vacations – were de rigueur.
It was this disillusioning and demeaning Wall Street experience that served as the catalyst to Godiwalla’s real success – her book and her current company, MindWorks. MindWorks provides leadership, diversity and stress-management training to corporations and other organizations, teaching managers the importance of mindful leadership and inclusion in the workplace. Godiwalla believes corporate cultures can improve with education, and has turned many around – from running on fear and failure to empowering and inspiring their people.
Godiwalla is often sought as an international speaker on leadership, diversity and women in the corporate world, and is frequently featured in national media as a business and women’s issues expert. She serves as an industry leader for the White House and The Wall Street Journal Executive Task Force for Women in the Economy, a writer for Wharton Magazine, and a wife and mother. Godiwalla is also a leadership instructor for UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business MBA program, which includes Suits as required reading.