As one of the nation’s leading woman entrepreneurs, Sheela Murthy often is called upon to share her insights about the unique rewards and special challenges that await women bold enough to build a world-class business from the ground up. This is familiar territory for Murthy – something she knows firsthand, as founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm, an immigration practice with an international reputation for excellence.
Murthy was among a select group of top women entrepreneurs and executives invited to speak at the annual summit of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Women in Business (CWB), held in Washington D.C. on March 27, 2014. The conference discussed several issues of importance to women entrepreneurs, current and aspiring – in particular, the importance of tapping into supportive business networks, and the problems women typically encounter in getting access to capital, which the CWB describes as “one of the most common reasons why women’s business dreams lag in comparison to men’s.”
During a panel discussion entitled “How She Built It,” Murthy gave a lively account of her life in business, telling how she transformed her vision into brilliantly successful reality: the small solo practice she started on her dining room table is now an immigration law firm with more than 80 employees at its main office in Owings Mills, Maryland, and 20 more at its affiliate in Chennai, India, and with satellite offices in Seattle, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
Starting her own immigration practice was a way to live the American dream, Murthy said, even while she helped others to achieve their American dream of living and working in the United States. She attributed her success – at least in part – to the role models she had when she was growing up: strong women who instilled in her the confidence to trust her own abilities, to never let gender bias keep her from using her talents to the fullest.
Other panels addressed how to succeed in the global marketplace, financing options to start and grow a business, and marketing strategies to position a company at the doorstep of its customer base. Murthy commented: “It was really a good mix: inspirational, for those who want to found a business or take it to the next level, and full of practical tips to help you get there. I hope it gives more women the courage to follow their dreams, the way I did!”
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