The under-representation of women in government has been an issue of public discourse across the world. While a whole lot of women are still struggling to establish themselves in the male-dominated political circle, a handful of them has broken through and this includes Nikki Haley. A brilliant Indian-American woman with an outstanding work ethic and unparalleled track record, Nikki became a prominent figure in US politics after proving her competency in various leadership positions. She is most prominent for being the first woman governor of South Carolina and the US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Born in Nimrata Randhawa to Sikh parents who immigrated from India, Nikki’s roots and ethnic origins have been in the spotlight for as long as she has been in public office. Haley is the first female Indian-American governor elected in the United States and the first female governor of South Carolina. Touted by many political observers as a potential Republican party Presidential candidate post-Trump, she is been thought of highly in many quarters.
How Stint In The Private Sector Led Nikki Into Public Service
Nikki started working as a bookkeeper in her mother’s women’s clothing company, Exotica International when she was just 12. Nikki, as she has always been called by her family, attended Orangeburg Preparatory Schools in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and graduated in 1989 before moving on to Clemson University from where she bagged a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
After graduating from college, Nikki Haley got a job with a waste management and recycling company named FCR Corporation. She worked for a while with the company before joining her mother’s clothing business and later became its controller and chief financial officer. As a result of her obvious success in the family business, Haley was in 1998, named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2003, she was named to the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and was also made the treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners. The following year, Haley became the association’s president, serving in different capacities on the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation, and West Metro Republican Women. Haley also served as the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (South Carolina Chapter) and chaired the 2006 Fiends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign.
She a Daughter of Immigrants With Indian Roots
Her parents immigrated from Punjab, India. Her dad Ajit Singh Randhawa is a former professor at Punjab Agricultural University, who was offered a scholarship by the University of British Columbia and as a result, he and his wife Raj Kaur Randhawa moved to Canada.
Upon completion of his Ph.D. program in 1969, he accepted a position as a professor at the Voorhees College, a private, historically black college (HBCU) located in Denmark, South Carolina, US. He then relocated his family from Amritsar District, Punjab, India, to South Carolina.
Nikki’s mother attended the University of Delhi from where she graduated with a law degree. After their relocation to the US, she bagged a master’s degree in education and worked as a teacher at Bamberg public schools for seven years. She later left teaching to start a clothing company named Exotica International in 1976.
She grew up In A Close-Knit Home In South Carolina
After the family moved to the US where Nikki’s father took up a job as a professor at Voorhees College, the family settled in South Carolina. This process of settling in was fraught with a lot of challenges, most of which stemmed from the fact that they were Indians.
They were subjects of discrimination, an issue she always seems to discuss passionately. She recalls how the family was denied access to housing by certain house owners because the owners wouldn’t take an Indian family renting their house.
What We Know About Her Siblings
Nikki is one of her parent’s four children. She has one sister named Simran and two brothers – Mitti and Charan. Her sister was born in Canada and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is the host of radio shows like 11:11 Talk Radio on VoiceAmerica 7th Wave and On the Lighter Side on World Puja Network. She is also into metaphysics and sees herself as a creative visionary, transformation catalyst, and humorist in the realms of metaphysics, spirituality, and motivation. She has authored two books titled Conversations with the Universe: How the World Speaks to Us and Your Journey to Enlightenment: Twelve Guiding Principles to Connect with Love, Courage, and Commitment in the New Dawn.
Her brother Mitti, served in the US Army Chemical Corps. During Operation Desert Storm he was a Company Commander on the battle front line. He retired from the military after 20 years and now works as a National Institutional Accounts Director for University Hospitals in the USA.
Nikki’s youngest brother Charan holds a degree in Computer Engineering and owns a web development company.
Nikki Haley Is Married to an Army Officer
She is married to Michael Haley, a US Army Officer in the South Carolina National Guard, employed as a federal military technician. Michael was born and raised in the United States and he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in business administration.
The couple met at Clemson University in 1989 and started dating during the governor’s weekend at the college. Despite being in different universities, they still managed to stay together and eventually got married in 1996, in both Sikh and Christian wedding ceremonies, though Nikki now identifies as a Christian.
Michael Haley became the First Gentleman of South Carolina when his wife served as governor of the state. He held the position from 2011 to 2017 and was the first man ever to be in the position in the state.
As South Carolina’s First Gentleman, he was the chairman of a foundation that oversaw the preservation and management of the Governor’s Mansion. Nikki and Michael Haley are proud parents of two children, a daughter named Rena and a son named Nalin. It is hard to tell what their kids are up to at the moment.