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Abha Rai, PhD Student, University of Georgia

abhaAbha Rai is a social worker and a doctoral student at the University of Georgia. She is interested in understanding issues pertaining to intimate partner violence among South Asian immigrant communities. Due to her extensive international community experience, she continues to consult with several Indian and U.S. based non profits.

Degree/Institution: University of Georgia.

Number of years in management: 3-5 years.

Tell us about your path to management:
My community experience in India as a program manager with a consulting firm allowed me to work with several non-profits. This opportunity enabled me to train myself in the art of creating sustainable community based programs beneficial to both donors and recipients.

How do you motivate your team members?
Having worked for community projects, I have had the fortitude of working with both small and large teams. I have kept them going by always delegating work and allowing everyone to contribute to the decision making process.

How has networking impacted your career?
I have always viewed networking as being extremely positive and useful. I was always told that I was great at making connections and this has always worked in my stride. A lot of consulting projects that I have been referred to, have been through my networking efforts and I am thankful for it.

What are you reading and/or following now (e.g. book, blog, social media groups, etc.)?
I am currently a Phd student at the University of Georgia, Athens and my reading mostly concerns my research these days. So, you will see me with a lot of peer reviewed intimate partner violence journals.

What advice do you have for those beginning their professional journey or who are already in leadership positions?
I think it is important to recognize that each step in the journey is equally crucial and important. Every life experience in the path to success; is something we should all learn from.

Do you have an initiative or project you would like to tell our readers about?
My area of research for my doctoral education involves working with South Asian immigrant women residing in the United States who face intimate partner violence. We may think otherwise, but there are several women experiencing this form of abuse and I am keen on creating an intervention that could help curtail or rather eliminate this problem from the community.

What do you wish you had known before you started your career?
I wish I knew the challenges that non-profits in a developing country such as India deal with. I always thought that the biggest challenge they face was the dearth of funds. But now I realize that more than a paucity of funds, they are confronted with a lack of capacity building support. This realization helped me better understand them and create community based programs keeping in mind the deficits that they had to cope up with on a regular basis.

Share a mistake or failure that provided the most growth in your career.
I do not think of this as a mistake but rather as an experience that I learnt from. I believe, it is essential that one does not underestimate anyone based on their background, qualification or the level of experience they carry. One can learn from anyone around them and it is important that no one’s contribution be judged merely based on whether they are an entry level or managerial level employee.

To contact Abha Rai for any inquiries please email her at

The views expressed herein are those solely of the author and not necessarily endorsed by the Network for Social Work Management.



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