When Madhavi Akella landed in LAX, she was seven months pregnant. She had left her family, her friends, and her doctor in order to pursue her dreams.
Ms. Akella was born Hyderabad, a city in southern India. Growing up, her parents were very supportive of her academic ventures and encouraged her to complete post-graduate studies. Since many of her family members had gone to the U.S. for their education, Madhavi dreamed of doing the same. She completed her MBA in India and was accepted to the University of Illinois. Unfortunately, Ms. Akella’s student visa was denied; her application coincided with the September 11 terrorist attacks. For the moment, Madhavi put her dreams on hold and started her career in India.
The possibility to immigrate arose when Madhavi’s husband was transferred to a bank in Los Angeles for work. After she moved to the U.S., one of the first obstacles she faced was finding a doctor to assist her with the pregnancy; she went a month without a checkup. Back in India, Madhavi had lived in a beautiful home but gave it up to live in a small apartment in California.
After her daughter was born, Ms. Akella and her husband moved to Wisconsin. She discovered that her Midwestern community was not as welcoming as she expected it to be and decided to return to California. Currently, Madhavi lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.