Headshot of Ishita Rustagi

Ishita Rustagi

Analyst, Business Strategies & Operations

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Ishita Rustagi is an Analyst at the Berkeley Haas Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL), where she supports the development of resources, tools, and thought leadership for business leaders looking to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ishita recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and English at UC Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, Ishita co-lead the student organization Berkeley Women in Business, and spearheaded several campus-wide initiatives to promote equitable workplaces.

How have your lived experiences influenced your work at EGAL?

I grew up in India, with parents who casually subverted traditional domestic gender roles and actively pushed for me to succeed in the traditionally male-dominated industries I wanted to pursue. However, even as a child I could see that my microcosm of gender equity was a privilege, and often didn’t mesh with the more rigid social, political, and economic systems we operated within. I encountered similar disparities in the States, while studying at Berkeley — amplified by the intersections of race and gender. My upbringing and awareness of my privileged position had made me a staunch advocate for equitable businesses, and my personal definition of leadership started to look like what is now formally known as Equity Fluent Leadership. I carried that drive into endeavors I took on as an undergrad, and the work I’m now doing at EGAL!

Which EGAL initiative are you most proud of and why?

EGAL’s mission resonates so deeply with me, and all of the Center’s initiatives align so well with it that it’s practically impossible to single out one initiative! That said, I am excited and grateful to be involved with building EGAL’s Equity Fluent Leadership Playbooks, which help me combine my two fields of interest (Economics and English) to bridge the gaps between academia and industry and push for positive change. Having an impact on the business community seems to me like such a tangible way to further our mission.

Who is an Equity Fluent Leader that you admire?

Michelle Obama