Uma Gupta shares her personal story


When we go through a traumatic event, we are often forced to explore our perspectives, our assumptions, our core values, and our abilities to "press on." It is not a choice. It is a force that pushes you to rise from your fall, to persist, to stand tall. When someone experiences trauma, they don’t say, "Oh! let me now check my perspectives!" Instead, when we are swept off our feet by trauma, by a difficult event, by a divorce, a betrayal, an unjust act, slowly, but steadily, those strong at heart seek the T word – T for tenacity. We shift our perspectives from individual hurt to leaving the world a better place; to ensuring that what happened to us does not happen to another. Talent combined with tenacity is power.

Yes, this world is not always fair or just or sane or loving, but we as individuals have a choice to take the high road, to be tenacious in our belief that good will overcome well, not-so-good.

When I was the President at Alfred State College, I had to make a tough personnel decision about two employees. They started an anonymous blog filled with lies, slander, and libel. As a leader of an institution of higher learning I had a choice to make: write to the blog and address the lies (ump into the dirt) or take the high road. There were days when it was tempting to jump in, but friends reminded me that true power lies in refrain. Graciousness has unequaled elegance.

Tenacity – to keep going when the going gets tough. Tenacity is like the oak tree that sweeps with the winds, but keep its roots hidden so firm and so deep that those who wait for it to fall will have to wait for a long, long, time.

Tenacity – to believe in oneself. After all, it is easy to believe in oneself when it is smooth sailing;

tenacity is believing that truth will prevail; that this too shall pass; Tenacity – is to look back so that we learn about human frailties and follies, but then to focus on the future – to know that a great future is yours because you are well, you.

Be tenacious. Talent and tenacity is power – not the kind of power that you have when you are an anonymous blogger – but the kind of power you have when you are an oak tree with deep roots or when God is driving and you are in the passenger seat looking out the window!

About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

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