BHs’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Komal Naik
As we continue our Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) series, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to continue to showcase women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society. Hope you enjoyed the first WoW article on Beth Ferris Sales. We are excited to feature Komal Naik as the second woman for our series. Please read what inspires our Berkeley Heights resident and neurologist and how she inspires others.
Born: Flushing, NY
Raised: Flushing, NY
Resides: Berkeley Heights, NJ
Works: Berkeley Heights, NJ
Komal Naik was born and raised in Flushing, NY. She grew up in NYC enveloped in different cultures and enjoyed the diversity. She lives in Berkeley Heights with her husband and 2 daughters. She has been working in Berkeley Heights for the past 11 years as a neurologist at the Summit Medical Group. She has been serving on the Berkeley Heights Board of Health for the past several years.
How long have you lived or worked in Berkeley Heights?
I have lived in Berkeley Heights for eight years and worked here for 11 years. It is an amazing town with great people and I am happy to be part of such a wonderful community.
What inspires you?
My children. I have two amazing daughters. They are strong, independent, self-reliant and kind human beings. They make this world a better place, and I am humbled to be their mother. I believe in leading by example. I try my best every day to be a role model for them, and they too, are my role models. They teach me things everyday and make this world a much kinder and safer place to be.
If you were to provide one word about yourself, what would it be and why did you choose this word?
I think my friends and family would describe me as compassionate. I feel a natural pull towards people and a strong urge to help and care for them. My career choice is certainly a great fit for my personality and I genuinely find it rewarding to help my patients.
What is your favorite song and why?
While I do not have a favorite song, I love Bollywood music. I grew up listening to Bollywood songs. I find these songs transport me to a different world. The melody is beautiful, the words are poetic, and the beat is captivating. I grew up dancing to this music, and when I hear familiar songs, it invokes a feeling of pure joy in my heart. I am so happy to see that my girls share the same love.
What do you do for a living? Why did you go into your profession?
I am a neurologist at the Summit Medical Group and working here was one of the draws to the town. I have had a strong pull to medicine since childhood, and my experiences and mentors have helped shape my interests and career in medicine. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of diagnosing a patient, but even more rewarding and gratifying is the time I spend with each patient by talking to them, understanding them, and walking down the path of healing together.
What key skills do you need in order to do what you do?
A career in medicine can be very daunting but at the same time extremely rewarding. I believe foresight, hard work, a passion to help people and of course, an interest in the sciences makes for a great formula to be a physician.
What is one fun fact that you would like to share?
I love to travel. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that I start planning my vacations the minute I return from a trip. I love exploring different cultures, languages and traditions. I grew up speaking three languages - English, of course, as well as Hindi and Gujarati. I also learned some French, Spanish and Latin in high school. I am so happy Berkeley Heights has a Diversity Council and I am beyond thrilled our community is so diverse and embracing.
Who is one woman everyone should know about?
Malala Yousafzai is a brave and courageous young woman that is an activist for women's education and basic rights. The Taliban attacked her at the age of 16 for being vocal about women's right to education. Despite the attack and death threats, she has continued to work hard at getting her message across to millions of young women around the world. She is a very admirable human being and is a true hero. She has shown that a single voice can have an impact at any age. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and is a great role model for young adults everywhere.
Who was your female role model growing up and why?
I grew up admiring my middle school science teacher, Rita Volpe. She taught me to think for myself and ask questions about how and why things worked. She encouraged my inquisitive personality and helped me improve my public speaking. We would have these fun science fairs in middle school, where we used the scientific method to test our hypotheses. I remember working on the experiments for weeks. I loved science - the content, the science fairs, and the activities - mainly because of my teacher, Rita Volpe. My love of science sparked in her class during my most impressionable years.
How can you set an example for young women?
I’d like to think I could inspire women to have it all. I want girls to know it is possible to find the balance between career and family. Of course, there are sacrifices that need to be made along the way, but women do not need to sacrifice their dreams of having both a rewarding family life and satisfying career. I am living the dream right now, and I hope that I can inspire all women, young and old, to believe that they can have it all.