In a world that seems to grant men respect simply by their gender, pioneering women have always had to take risks to claim what’s rightfully theirs.
For Shital Pital, that stand happened in October of 2019 when she underwent a makeup transformation to become a man in the Bravo network series, “In a Man’s World.”
Throughout the season’s 4th episode, Shital wears a full-body cast that changes her entire look. She even takes movement and speech lessons to walk and talk like a man to help create the full experience. With her disguise, she then stages a dinner with her father, and unbeknownst to him, they engage in an impassioned conversation where Patel’s father shares his personal dreams and passions that he’s never shared before with his daughters.
Days after the staged dinner, Shital then confronts her father with a video of their conversation and asks him why he has never shared those parts of his life with her. He responds by saying that the culture in India is much different, but that this process has changed him, and now, She has someone she can talk to about anything. He shares that he’s proud of his daughter and loves her very much.
Overall, Shital wanted to be a part of this experience because she has a passion for making positive changes in the world. Whether that involves pushing boundaries with loved ones or helping clients meet sustainability goals, Patel is a genuine leader that others can take inspiration from.
Finding Her Career Path
Growing up in Edison, NJ, Shital Patel never lost touch with her South Asian background.
“I think coming from a South Asian heritage, core values such as work ethic, being driven and not taking no for an answer has always been the foundation for me. Having these strong values has helped me excel in my career,” Shital explains.
In fact, after getting her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Maryland, Shital shares that her uncle was a huge mentor, helping her launch a career in the energy industry where she works today.
“My uncle worked in the energy industry and gave me an opportunity to work at our local utility upon graduation. He has guided me professionally throughout my career.”
Currently, she works in strategic sales at an energy company where she helps customers with their sustainability goals/managing their overall energy budget.
“I was actually pre-dental in college due to pressures coming from an Indian background to go into medicine or engineering. However, once I graduated, I realized I wanted to do something customer-facing in the corporate world,” says Patel.
What Keeps Shital Patel Inspired
Alongside advocating for stronger family connections and working with people, Patel explains that “she genuinely feels good when [she’s] able to help clients reach their sustainability goals.”
“Not only is this a benefit to the customer and their business,” says Patel, “but also for the environment.”
In her personal life, Patel loves to travel and experience different cultures, which explains why she’s so passionate about the world and pushing the envelope for all genders and cultures to find success and happiness.
“I have been to over 15 different countries and counting! I try to make sure I carve out time to take planned vacations and spend time when I can with friends/family to avoid burn out. Also, outside of my 9-to-5 job, I am also involved in charitable causes as well as my own business that I am launching next month. It is a line of raw, organic snack bars. I have a checklist of what I need to accomplish within each month and I try to follow that as closely as I can in order to stay on track and not fall behind.”
As you can see, Patel’s drive for excellence and giving back to the world is an ongoing commitment that she hopes to extend to others looking to make a difference.
Words of Advice from Patel
When asked what advice she has to share with young people throughout the world, Patel is all about being a trailblazer.
“I would say to keep pushing the boundaries and not give up. When I started out, I was one of four female sales professionals at my company and even now, although the female salesforce has grown, I am still the only South Asian on the sales team.”
More importantly, connecting back to her experience with Bravo and the show, she explains that “spending quality time with family and strengthening those bonds is the most important thing.”
“Coming from a conservative background where my parents always focused on settling down vs excelling at work, was something that was tough for me growing up. I was able to show my parents through the show that I have achieved a lot of success in my career and although I may not be settled in the way they want me to be, I still should be valued for my accomplishments. At the end of the experiment, my parents really did understand and appreciate that.”
You can follow Patel’s journey and check out the full Bravo episode of “In a Man’s World” by clicking this link.