Rita Kakati Shah

Rita Kakati Shah

Founder and CEO of Uma | USA

Rita Kakati Shah is Founder and CEO of Uma and has been a dedicated advocate for diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace. She started Uma to empower individuals returning to work after a career break or transition through networking events, confidence building workshops and curated job placements. Through Uma, Rita is creating an international movement by identifying pain points and challenging the status quo. From income disparity to paid family leave, she is not afraid of asking tough questions and making bold suggestions to help companies retain their employees. With offices in New York, London, and San Francisco, the community continues to grow every day.

Prior to Uma, Rita lead Business Development globally at a CNS clinical trials service provider. Rita began her professional career at Goldman Sachs in London, where she was awarded the prestigious Excellence in Citizenship and Diversity Award for her outstanding contributions during her 10-year career at the Firm.

Rita graduated from King’s College London with a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Management, and an M.Sci. in Financial Mathematics. She is an active member of the King’s College London Leadership Mentoring program, women’s empowerment mentor to the King’s Entrepreneurial Institute, and an expert coach and mentor to senior female ACP Veterans who are looking to enter senior executive civilian positions after active duty. She also sits on the Women in Legal Profession Committee of the New York City Bar Association, Chairs the IYC Parenting Committee of the JCC of Manhattan and is an Oversees Ambassador to the London Bihu Committee. She is also a trained and accomplished classical Indian dancer and oil painter. She has been featured as an expert on gender diversity and inclusion issues on TV Asia, TV BRICS, various podcasts, and been interviewed and quoted in various publications, such as Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Dell Technology, and is a contributor to Working Mother Magazine. Her speaking accolades include High Water Women (New York), Young Women in Politics (Los Angeles), Woman Who Matters (Moscow), Women Entrepreneurship Conference (Sochi) and Women in Finance (London) to name a few.

I have always been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion issues in the workforce, a global citizen, an entrepreneur and former finance and healthcare professional too. However, what ultimately lead me to start the global platform Uma, which is empowering women and changing lives every day, is my own personal journey of motherhood.

You will find there are times where you will need to go against the status quo. However, stick to your beliefs and have patience. Most importantly, believe in your mission, believe in yourself and nothing can stop you from succeeding.

After a successful decade in the male-dominated world of finance, I transitioned into the healthcare industry, relocated to New York City and took a career break of close to 4 years to raise my two children. There were many challenges when trying to resume a professional career, so I started Uma to empower women around the world, looking to return to work after a career break or transition.

We started our journey of empowering women close to 3 years ago in New York, and now have a presence in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and London. Not only has our outreach to women around the world grown, but we are gaining traction everyday with partner companies and have successfully educated management and teams on retention strategy as well as diversity and inclusion best practices.

The challenges we see come from companies, cultural norms, societal values as well as women themselves losing confidence. However, when taking on an important task whose outcome can change society, where the thought process goes against the grain, you have to remain steadfast. Remember your passion for the cause, pick up that courage inside of you and use your voice. When the work a mother does to raise her child is recognized as valuable part of our society, such that it is a quantifiable part of a country’s GDP, we will have made progress.