Welcome to the Princeton Club of Washington - Member Spotlight: Nalini K Pande '93

 

Member Spotlight: Nalini K Pande '93

Meet PCW Member Nalini K Pande,’93, a health policy consultant and PCW Princeton Women’s Network (PWN) Chair.

   

As the first person in my family to be born in the United States, I grew up with a sense of purpose. I started volunteering at a young age. In high school, I worked as a volunteer for the TEDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf) as well as a summer camp counselor for mentally and physically challenged children. I also kept busy with a variety of extracurricular activities, including serving as the Senior Editor for our high school’s literary magazine and as a Teacher’s Aide. During my senior year of high school, I was honored to receive the Congressional Award for my volunteer service.


When I was visiting colleges the summer before my senior year, I fell in love with Princeton. Touring the beautiful campus and learning about Princeton’s rich history and academic rigor only strengthened my resolve to apply. I was absolutely overjoyed and honored to be accepted to Princeton. Getting Dean Hargadon’s “Yes!” letter was one of the happiest moments of my life. As my mom and I drove through the Washington Road Elm Allée (the stretch of Washington Road lined with Princeton Elm trees), I felt as if I was about to embark on a wonderful new chapter of my life. 


I am so grateful for my Princeton education. I am most grateful for my experiences, the challenging academic opportunities (majoring as an undergrad in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs), and the meaningful extracurricular opportunities (including serving as Forbes Council Chair and SVC volunteer for Best Buddies, working with autistic children, tutoring at a prison, and helping the homeless). At Princeton, I made lasting friends and gained a strong sense of intellectual curiosity, and inner confidence. Most importantly, Princeton’s longstanding commitment to service, and Princeton’s informal motto — Princeton in the nation’s service—has often guided me throughout my life in my continued focus on volunteering as well as working to improve access to, and quality of, healthcare in the United States. 


After graduating from Princeton, I worked for a year at a small policy think tank in DC and volunteered as the Princeton Club of Washington Young Alumni Chair. I then went on to Harvard Law School where I focused on health law/policy. After graduating law school, I worked at two law firms as a health law associate and also worked at a health policy think tank. I then shifted to health policy consulting, focusing on health reform efforts, Medicare, Medicaid as well as health payment and delivery system reform. 


When I decided to launch my own health policy consulting firm in 2014, I also began serving as the Princeton Women’s Network (PWN) Chair. I volunteer as the Princeton Women’s Network DC Chair because I believe in creating a community of women who support each other and I want to give back to Princeton in a meaningful way. When I’m not planning PWN events, I love to rock climb, paint, travel, and take pilates and ballet classes. 


One of my most memorable PWN DC events brought together alumnae of all ages, including alumnae from the first few years of Princeton’s co-education. In April 2017, the DC PWN sponsored a book talk and dinner with Princeton’s Professor Nancy Malkiel, author of "'Keep the Damned Women Out': The Struggle for Coeducation". At our dinner with Professor Malkiel, the alumnae attending shared their experiences as women at Princeton starting with alumnae from the earliest classes at Princeton (at the beginning of co-education) to the more recent classes. It is no surprise that the PWN project I’m most proud of is our charity drive in 2016, 2017, and 2018 supporting Doorways for Women and Families, a Northern Virginia-based non-profit creating pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault for women and their families. In addition to buying much needed supplies for the shelter, PWN DC members wrote letters providing support to the women at the shelter, letting them know we were thinking of them and offering words of encouragement. Often, this type of support is the most important to those in need. My favorite quote (by Leo Buscaglia) captures this sentiment beautifully: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”


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