It is my absolute pleasure to present the Leader profile of the day – Kamala Devi Harris!
It is a happy coincidence that our theme today is Radical Candor. The two pillars of radical candor are “challenge directly” and “care personally.”
Kamala Harris began her professional career as a deputy district attorney for Alameda county. She went on to become San Francisco’s district attorney and Attorney General of California before she was elected into the US senate in 2017. Throughout her career as a prosecutor and as a member of the senate judiciary committee, she was known for her pointed questioning which left no room for those being questioned to get away by hedging, equivocating or dodging. She quite literally made a career out of challenging directly.
It’s important to note that she not only challenged her opponents directly but also challenged the norms to become the first black and asian American in many of those roles.
The now vice president has also shown over the years that she cares personally about “fighting for the little guy”. I was particularly touched by the “Back on track” program she launched as a district attorney. “Back on track” was an innovative re-entry program that diverts young, non-violent, first time drug offenders from prison back into productive lives. The program paved the way for offenders to be reintegrated into society while staying accountable for the crimes committed.
To me, there was no other clearer display of radical candor than the “That little girl was me” moment in the democratic primary debate. She challenged Joe Biden directly about the bussing program she cared about personally. When Joe Biden picked her to be his running mate, most people were surprised that he did it in spite of that challenge, I’d like to believe he did it because of it.
Radical candor generates respect and trust between individuals, and it paved the way for Senator Kamala Harris to become Vice president Kamala Harris who we must all celebrate today!
Written by Madhumitha Sridhara, member of women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters