Meet Shalini, Malini and Roshni Patel 

Shalini, Malini and Roshni are the spirited founders of Chicago’s newest all girls’ STEAM focused program: Inspire Girls Academy.  IGA strives to transform the lives of young girls by equipping them with leadership skill and the confidence to express their ideas and opinions through project based learning. Founded in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) concepts the girls discover their passion through approaching problems, experimenting and finding solutions through trial and error. They are creating an environment where girls can take risks, break-boundaries and cultivate leadership skills through our summer camps and after school programs. Shalini is the innovative educator, Malini is the bold marketing executive, and Roshni is the passionate pediatrician. Together, these sisters are changing the landscape of education in Chicago.



Who do you admire?
I admire Malala Yousafzai because she is so young and not only knows herself but also her mission in life.  She has impacted so many people by merely standing up for what she believes in.  Her bravery and resolve in the face of danger is unwavering.  I also watched the TED talk given by her father, and if my father could say even half the things Malala’s said about her, then I truly have found success.

Favorite quote?
My favorite moment is in the movie Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carey asks Lauren Holly what his chances are with her and she answers one in a million. He pauses for a moment then begins to smile and says with glee, “So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!”  Even recalling it makes me laugh; I love his optimism in the face of clear rejection.  The comical aspect of the moment is not lost on me, however, his positive outlook in a weird way is inspiring.

What do you lack talent in?
I lack talent in singing about as much as I LOVE it.  I have always dreamed of being good at it, I love singing in the car, at home, even sometimes quietly at work.  I secretly relish any karaoke outing with my friends, as it’s the only time people will sing along and clap even though my voice is terrible!


Aside from work and home, what else occupies your mind?
I believe that everyone has a role to play in the world and when I’m alone I think about what I will and should do in the world. Sometimes I find myself being hard on myself for being this far along in life and still not having the answer, but then I remind myself that trying is better than ruminating about it.  I’m not sure I have found the answer yet, but I have started down a path that may lead to it.  

What is you favorite expression or saying?
3+6=9 but so does 4+5.  There are too many times in life when people tell you HOW to do things rather than setting the goal and letting you find your own path to it.  I find that learning and stumbling along an unconventional path can be even more rewarding than just achieving a task that was prescribed.

What do you geek out about?
I geek out about the latest in fashion, accessories, the hot color this season, and new make-up trends.  I read Vogue, Allure, and Style like it’s my job.  I like to use what I see as inspiration so that I can find various ways to express who I am through what I wear.  I like to be trendy but I won’t follow the hottest trend unless I can figure out a way to make it my own.


What do you know for sure?
The thing I know for sure is that change is inevitable.  For the most part, these changes are positive.  As a type A person, I have always struggled with change and have had to learn with the help of my sisters that change is good and that I can and should embrace it.  I think I have gotten better at adapting to change, and although it’s still difficult for me, I have learned that my attitude makes all the difference.  Honestly, the worst-case scenario involves crying to my sisters and drinking some wine… not so bad when I think about it.

What is your favorite word?
It’s silly but platypus is my favorite word - mostly because it’s so fun to say, especially repeatedly.  But I also think that the animal itself is interesting - a blend of a duck, beaver, and otter.  If this kind of animal can exist, a blend of so many animals, then can’t people blend and co-exist in a marvelous and interesting way too?  I know, I’m a nerd.

What is something that really annoys you?
I hate rude people.  I truly believe that everyone should be treated with respect and courtesy.  I can’t say I am never rude, but if I am it is by accident and I feel badly about it and apologize almost immediately.  It may be old fashioned, but it takes no extra effort to be kind and it pays back in spades. So even if you can’t be nice because it’s right, do it because it makes your own life easier and better.

Want more? Learn more about Inspire Girls Academy here. Connect with them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Cloudspotter Technologies and Sean Su Photography