Sangeeta Mudnal finds the intersection of technology, fashion, and philanthropy

01 Mar 2020

New York
Sangeeta Mudnal finds the intersection of technology, fashion, and philanthropy

I reached out to Dona to ask if there was anyone I should connect with after moving to NYC, and she immediately put me in touch with Sangeeta. We organized a chilly sunset shoot for the end of October, but Sangeeta loves summer outfits so much that she braved the cold to show off some of her favorite dresses. This is the first NYC post going up on the blog - check it out!

Tell us a little about you

I am Sangeeta Mudnal, originally from India and spent many years in Seattle before moving to New York last year. I am very passionate about 3 things in my life - Technology, Fashion and Philanthropy.

I love to explore the city with my husband and 2 sons. I am currently a Group Program Manager for Responsible AI at the Microsoft New York research office. When I am not busy with work or with my family, I love to attend fashion shows in Manhattan or go shopping in the world-famous shopping paradise and artist district in Lower Manhattan - Soho!

What are you working on at the moment, and what do you love about it?

Currently in my role as a Group Program Manager, I am helping define and lead strategy for influential new scenarios at the intersection of business, technology, artificial intelligence, and social good.

AI has transformed from vision to reality, creating tangible benefits for people and enterprises around the world - but like any great technological innovation it poses complex and challenging questions about the future we want to see. That’s where responsible AI comes into picture: because AI systems designed by humans are trained using data that reflects the imperfect world in which we live they may reinforce or even amplify biases.

I love my job because the topic of gender fairness is very dear to my heart and working on mitigating biases in AI systems and technology is one of the best opportunities in a lifetime. It motivates me to do better each day so that future generations don’t have to suffer the biases that women currently have to!

What do you love about this outfit?

Dress: PrimaDona, Sangeeta Salsa style! Shoe: Jimmy Choo

With all my outfits, I love to wear bright colors and showcase happiness, positivity and liveliness. I love the Prima Dona outfit because one of my lovely and dearest friend Dona Sarkar made it. I love the frills and the wrap around style. The best part is the pockets though, now I think that every women’s dress should have pockets!

How did you land where you are now? Did you have a plan? Could you have predicted it?

Shoes: Guess

I didn’t know that I would land up in New York! But overall I always knew that I wanted to be an engineer and be very successful in my job and career. So I am very happy where I am now and I want to do even more!

I could not have predicted that I would be doing a photos hoot in this visual masterpiece landscape that we are in today - Central Park in NYC!!

How do you choose what to wear each day?

Dress: designer dress from Indonesia Fashion Gallery in Manhattan

It’s completely ad-hoc. With 2 kids, I don’t have the luxury of having a lot of time to get ready before work. I usually have a pattern that forms in my head while I am getting ready and I just mix and match. If there is a pattern in the dress, then I pair it with a plain jacket or vice versa. I also love to wear contrasting colors like pink with orange, green with blue, red with black and so on.. For my shoes, I love wearing high heels so I do that all the time. In the city, now that I have to walk a lot, I carry a change of shoes!

For work vs personal, it’s a little different. In my personal style I wear a wide variety of dresses and many of them are too outrageous to be worn at work!

What is a piece of non traditional advice?

Life Advice: Start doing charity at a young age. It makes life more meaningful and makes you happy, so even starting out in small steps will get you set on the right path

Career Advice: Never let a thought of politics at work get into your head, always assume positive intentions in the organization.

How has your style evolved to what it is now?

I have now realized that I had a very unique style ever since I was very young. I remember going to parties in India as a 13yr old wearing my dad’s tie! People used to wonder how I am wearing my stuff so confidently even though it was so non-conventional. And really in those days nobody made fun of me but because it looked good - they used to ask me how I put it together.

Today my style is still very unique, I like to wear boutique style, asymmetrical style, styles with bright colors and all of these have to be fitting very nicely!

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

There is a misconception that the nitty gritty work that you do as a student in high school or college for STEM classes is what you will end up doing all your life, which turns a lot of people off.

But today the world is a very interdisciplinary one and in your job you will be working on many aspects - design, coding, engineering, statistics, economics, social science and much more. So STEM fields are much more fun than ever before.

Anything exciting coming up on the horizon?

I might run a marathon this year, or write a book that I have been planning for a long time now.

But let’s see how it goes. Not sure if I will be able to devote time to it since competing priorities in the job or family might pop up!

What is the best way for people to connect with you?

You can find me on LinkedIn - Sangeeta Mudnal

Fingers crossed that this is the year Sangeeta writes her book - I’d love to read it! Please reach out to Sangeeta over LinkedIn if you have any stories of paring down your wardrobe - she’d love any tips!

As always, if you know someone who’d be a great fit for the blog please email me at hello at bethcrane dot com ✨