Every year, the Austin Under 40 awards brings together the most influential Austinites from different industries to honor and celebrate Austin’s emerging professionals and their mentors. The awards span 16 different categories, ranging from energy to financial services, and the night always culminates with the ultimate honor: naming the Austinite of the year. Past winners span the likes of Kendra Scott, Michael Dell & Dan Graham, and most recently in 2018, Sujata Ajmera was added to that list.
Sujata is a graduate of UT Law, who says she “kind of fell into my career.” Her first job at a small immigration firm was what helped her find her passion for immigration law and led her down the path to corporate immigration work, working with clients of all sizes to hire and retain foreign national talent. As the daughter of immigrants, she is all too familiar with these types of situations and loves that she now gets to help people secure status in the US as someone did for her parents years ago.
Her personal interests in diversity and inclusion span not only her professional life, but her personal life as well. Sujata co-founded the South Asian Bar Association of Austin after recognizing the lack of representation with the state and local bar. They are now affiliated with the National South Asian Bar and are a thriving group within the legal community. She also sits on the board of the People’s Community Clinic, which provides holistic health care services to everyone in our city – including our immigrant communities.
“I’m proud to work with organizations that help uplift our most vulnerable community members.”
Sujata’s rise to the top didn’t come without support along the way. She credits a mentor very early in her career – a strong attorney she worked under who was her champion for the better part of a decade. And because of this impact, she is a huge believer in the power of women helping women. She is also a firm believer in the power of authenticity; the idea that people want to work with those they trust, and if they do not know you they can never fully trust you.
“The moment I started embracing my authentic self and presenting that to the world, great things started happening for me professionally.”
Winning an honor like Austinite of the Year has propelled Sujata forward even more within the local community. She is recognized by leaders in the community and has discovered new opportunities both personally and professionally that probably wouldn’t have been there before.
“I am also floored and humbled daily by the powerhouse women that I have gotten to know over the last year. I’ve never felt more motivated and inspired than I am right now. What a journey it has been!”
As we build up towards the 2019 Austin Under 40 awards, we are presented with 80 of Austin’s finest emerging leaders. And while only one will eventually be named Austinite of the Year, her advice to our finalists is simple.
“Enjoy this time! You will rarely be in such amazing company, for the same purpose, at the same time – so open up! Meet and speak to as many people as you can, and keep in touch with them regardless of the outcome. You will not regret it for a second. Have fun and know win or lose, you’ve accomplished something incredible by making it this far.”
The 2019 Austin Under 40 Awards are presented by Loewy Law Firm. Tables for this year’s event are on sale; reserve yours today!