Watch this short video on female entrepreneur Sheela Murthy, who battled for years to obtain her green card in US, and complete the information below about her.
Name: Sheela Murthy
Company: Law firm
Her love story
The process of becoming a US citizen
The principles underlying her law firm
Sheela’s husband’s advice to run the business
Mistakes she made at the early stages of her firm
Lessons she learnt from that
Should the business grow?
Giving back to the community
A big part of the reason that I became an immigration lawyer was because I went through hell in getting my own green card.
I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people and so I thought I’m gonna live the American Dream and start my own baby, start my own law firm and see where it takes me.
My mother was very, very strong as a role model, very, very powerful as a person, and extremely strong as an Indian woman. She said a woman is supposed to be subservient. A woman is supposed to tow the line and follow what her husband tells her to do, but not one single day of her life did she ever tow the line, or listen to my father.
My father is just very, very kind, caring, compassionate and generous to a fault. He was an engineer in the Indian army and he came from a really poor family so he had to work really, really hard. My father and mother are polar opposites but the one thing that both my parents were in complete accord and agreement over, which is that their three children were definitely going to excel in their education and become professionals.
I know for him it was love at first sight. He makes no bones about it. For me, I felt he was one of the nicest human beings that I had ever met in my life.
The process from the time I entered the United States till the time I became a U.S. citizen was about a dozen years. It was a long process, very painful, very slow, very stressful.
I thought “My law firm is not just gonna be about being an amazing lawyer but it’s really going to be about compassion and empathy and caring about people.”
I thought, “Oh my God. Is it okay to give away everything I own in this world, which is my knowledge, for free on the Internet and write answers for people?” And my husband actually said, “Trust me. It’s gonna pay off. It’s okay.” And what it did was actually made me see hundreds of real life cases, learn my knowledge, learn the craft.
We started making money but I kept thinking, “Oh gosh, the bubble is going to burst. This can’t be true.” So I was hiring part-time employees initially and then full-time paralegals. And making sure that I didn’t overpay people, which in hindsight wasn’t very wise.
I would expect so much and demand so much that three out of my four paralegals walked out within a week of each other. I think they were telling me, “Buzz off, Bozo. You’re stressing the heck out of us.” And I didn’t get it because I was like go, go, go, go, go like a machine.
That was a huge, huge, huge lesson in humility for me to have to take. I had to eat humble pie, because I knew the problem was me. I was telling them all the time, take care of the client but I wasn’t taking care of my own staff.
I’m always constantly divided between staying at this number which is very nice and comfortable and the natural urgent inclination to grow. I don’t need to have more money. And I don’t want more responsibility. But if the next generation decides that that’s where that’s where they’re going to take the firm, I will be thrilled and honored.
The firm is doing very well. And we do a lot to give back to the community. And I feel that my legacy is already in each family that we have helped to accomplish their great American dream of living and working in this great country. And I’ve been very blessed and fortunate that I’ve been able to do that in my life.