Finding Your Voice

If you know Aarti Shahani, she jokes, it’s as “the Indian IT lady on NPR.” For years she brought America a steady stream of breaking news on Google, Facebook, Uber, artificial intelligence and disinformation. But, even though Shahani got to speak to millions of people at one time, she didn’t feel like she was speaking with her own voice. She felt she was hiding who she really was.

In Here We Are, her debut book and bestselling memoir, Shahani shares her life before it got fancy: growing up undocumented in New York City, and having a childhood defined by extreme ups and downs. Not for the faint of heart, her story includes a drug cartel, prisons, kidnapping, prep school, deportation and ICE.

Last year at SXSW, Shahani interviewed Democratic presidential candidates and moderated a panel on flying taxis. This year, she returns to tackle questions close to her heart: Who really belongs in America? How do you turn passion into real-world impact? Can you be close to your family without being trapped by them? Does Imposter Syndrome ever go away? (And – here’s a life hack – how to write a book in six months.)

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Aarti Shahani
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