Lalita Tademy

Walking Away from the American Dream
"I was born in Berkeley, California, in a place called Castro Valley. We were actually the first black family to move to Castro Valley. The town certainly wasn't welcoming. It was a very isolating, fairly lonely environment until I could go back into my parents' house where I was safe. The people in the town were just determined to show us how much they didn't want us there."

"My childhood had a great influence in making me very determined to be independent and listen to my own voice. And that really put me in very good stead when I started my corporate career. I had built up my career, and I had climbed the corporate ladder. After a couple of decades, I had worked myself up to being a Vice President and General Manager of a Fortune 500 Company in Silicon Valley."

"But when I walked away from [Corporate America], I think that everybody was surprised. And I know that my mother very specifically was disappointed because she was proud of the position that I had attained. If I had quit that job to go to another job, I think maybe she could have suspended disbelief for a minute. But as it was, she just shook her head. But I felt that I was supposed to be doing something else."