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Profession: PhD student, Creative Strategist

Borough: Brooklyn

Connect: @donnakiran

Tell me something about yourself that people in your chosen industry would find interesting.

I find 'I don't know' a perfectly reasonable - and in many cases, preferable - answer to a question. We are all immersed in a culture that rushes to answers - and in that rush, we miss important nuance, deliberative power, humility, and curiosity, among other key elements of a respectful, fulfilling learning experience. I think this goes beyond my industry - which is now academia, but used to be brand strategy. I always have respect for people who are honest about not knowing - and being collaborative and eager to find the answers together, or learn from others about what they know. It's why I've made it a point to have no problem telling my students 'I don't know' myself and teaching them being comfortable enough to say it, too. Putting aside your ego is no easy task (especially because it can be a survival mechanism in certain spaces), but honestly opening yourself up to the realm of possibilities of what you don't know and putting both feet in towards its exploration can be incredibly rewarding for everyone. Plus maybe if everyone subscribed to this, we'd have significantly less dumbassery out in this world (and especially in the White House). 

Tell me about how you met Nur?

I can't tell you how I met Nur. It was likely through a friend of a friend, but at some point, she came into my life like an Acela train (fast, but sleek). I love her a lot - not just because she's an amazing source of support and love, but because she's really fun to look at, is always down for a drink, loves charcuterie as much as me, and laughs at all my jokes and antics (important!!!!).

Nur as 6-word story:


Most treasured way you spent time in 2018? 

Intimate dinners and hangouts with friends! The world is hostile as hell right now and my way of recharging my energy and restoring my sanity is through my community. They make space for me (and I them) to be completely myself, say the dumbest shit, get called out with love, be supported, encouraged, uplifted, and ready as hell to go shake some shit up like I intend to. Plus there's usually pasta or curry or sushi. 

What advice would you give someone who's leaving NYC to relocate to another city?

Moving is hard! There are so many competing thoughts and emotions happening simultaneously when you experience such a big change that your understanding of events can get muddied, and your feelings of unease misplaced and compounded. I found that it's important to take time to distinguish what emotion is coming from where to better deal with each on its own terms. Sometimes being quick to anger just means you miss someone and you don't know where to put your frustration. Sometimes constant annoyance at your new job is not just you getting acclimated to a new environment - your coworkers are in fact hella racist. Give yourself some breathing room and grace to compartmentalize what stimuli is leading to what outcome to give yourself - and your new city - the best shot. 

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