Hoya Highlight: Devi Sahny (C’15)

Devi Sahny
Devi Sahny (C’15) CEO & Founder, Ascend Now

CEO & Founder, Ascend Now

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

The best career advice I received was: "if people are complaining, you have an opportunity." So obvious! Jack Ma said this is one of his speeches that I was fortunate to attend, and it has been the foundation of my thought process ever since.

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?

Choosing to leave a career in finance to start my own education company. Our growth in only four months (from 2 students to 200, across 4 continents) validates my decision.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?

I wish I had taken time to understand my strengths and what career path would be best suit me. I pursued finance because that was the thing to do. I reasoned incorrectly but I learned a great deal from that experience. I encourage young graduates to reflect well before selecting a career. If you feel like you're not going to "work" every day, then you've made the right decision.

What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do professionally?

Taking risk with an unlikely outcome.

Who or what was your favorite professor or class at Georgetown?

This is a hard question. I was a philosophy and economics major. Tie between: 1) Fuad Hasanov, Economics professor and my life guru, and 2) Terry Pinkard, my philosophy thesis advisor who helped me evaluate Nietzsche's concept of eternal return (highlight of my academia).

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

There are too many! 1. The first day I walked into the campus with my mum - I knew this was the school for me. 2. Thursday night basketball at Yates 3. Making my two lifelong best friends.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Georgetown is a special place. From building lifelong friendships to learning what it means to be a citizen of the world, I owe a lot to my school. Not a day goes by that I don't think how deeply my four years at Georgetown shaped me as a person and entrepreneur.

Who is a source of inspiration and strength to you in your life and why?

My father. He built a company from nothing. He is my role model in every sense of the word and my source of inspiration whenever I feel down. I admire him not only for what he has achieved, but also for the family life he has built for my brother Kabir and I. He is the most disciplined person I know.

What is on your desk right now?

1.5 litre of water (hydration!), Belgian chocolate, picture of my grandma and my notebook.

What is one part of your daily routine you could not live without?

Exercise. I'm a great believer in the mind-body balance and not a week goes by without exercising. It is my way to unwind.

Who is your favorite author?

Herman Hesse because he is just so gifted with words. I tried to teach myself German to read his originals. (Still working on that one…)

What are your words to live by?

"Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it" Epictetus