We are incredibly honored to highlight Nima Vadgama as the newest #WomanofHouston. Nima’s recipe for success is work, play, and family. Nima is a Marketing Specialist at BDO USA, LLP, avid salsa dancer, and proud aunt. Nima earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a major in Advertising and a minor in English from University of Houston – Central campus, received a Certification of Achievement from Dale Carnegie, and is a licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor. You’ll find the secret ingredient to her success is that she does all things with love.
Can you tell us about your role and responsibilities at BDO USA, LLP? I started at BDO in early March 2016 as a Marketing Specialist. Currently, I am responsible for creating proposals for all of the partners on the Assurance team (about 18 people total). Another major part of my role includes planning and coordinating our marketing events for the Houston office.
How did your love for salsa dancing begin? My love for salsa dancing began during the summer of 2008 when I studied in Guadalajara, Mexico for six weeks for a study abroad program. I received two foreign language credits while being able to live in a foreign country on my own, meet new people, try new foods, and go sight seeing! I love all types of dancing, and salsa dancing was one of the extra curricular activities the school offered. So, of course, I signed up, and fell in love with the style of dance that I had to continue salsa dancing when I came back to Houston. I found several different salsa instructors in Houston and took classes with most of them. Through the salsa dancing community in Houston, I’ve met so many wonderful and talented people, stepped out of my comfort zone as a dancer, grown as a person, and had the opportunity to perform at the Houston Salsa Congress, twice (in 2014 and 2016)!
You’re a proud aunt to two adorable boys. Please tell us about your nephews. Jahan (8) and Deven (4), my older sister’s two boys, are intelligent, curious, and energetic. Every time I go to Austin to visit them, I learn something new, whether it is their new favorite movie, new favorite food, something new they learned at school, or the most recent funniest thing one of them has said. It’s amazing to see their personalities develop every few months based on their interests, friends, and what they learn in school. Jahan shares the same personality and quirks as my sister, and I feel Deven is more like his awesome aunt.
You received a Certification of Achievement from Dale Carnegie. Tell us more about this and how it has benefited you. I took the “Dale Carnegie Course: Skills for Success,” which is an 8-week business professional course that I’m very fortunate to have on my resume. This course taught me to be more positive and confident in myself and the decisions I make, how to adapt better to change, and how to be more empathetic in the workplace. The course teaches effective communications skills, essential human relationship skills, which is key in any career, as well as how to be more enthusiastic, motivated, organized, and inspiring to others at work. I recommend this course for anyone who is seeking more fulfillment in their job, career, or themselves, who wants to add value to their company, excel in their role, or who wants to become an impactful and supportive leader.
You are also a licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor! When and where can we take your classes? This is actually a work in progress. I received my Zumba (basic) instructor license in February 2015, but have not formally taught a class yet. I hope to be a Zumba instructor on the side soon. More to come on this later!
Passion: Dancing, dogs and cats, my close friends, cupcakes and brownies, my nephews, trying new restaurants, and traveling
Style (stores/colors/must-haves): My favorite color is turquoise. My favorite clothing stores are Express, Macy’s, Target, and Marshalls. My must-haves are my cell phone, my portable cell phone charger, tissues and my allergy medication, lip gloss, umbrella (because Houston), and water.
Work: At work, I usually dress professionally, wearing slacks and an Express “Portofino” blouse, which I have in almost every color. I switch between flats and heels depending on my mood, outfit, and the weather.
Non-work: Outside of work and on the weekends, I’m usually in a t-shirt and jeans, or workout attire and my running shoes, because if it’s the weekend, I want to be as comfortable as possible if I’m out running errands.
Beauty (products/tricks): I’m a minimalist when it comes to beauty, makeup, and hair. I’ve learned that everyone is very different, so what may work for me, may not work for someone else. When my sister or girlfriends try to give me advice on skincare, makeup, or hair care, majority of the time, whatever they have recommended does not work for me.
Makeup: All oil-free products. My daily makeup routine for work consists of a Neutrogena moisturizer/sunscreen, foundation, concealer, eyebrow pencil, black eyeliner, and mascara, in that order. For special occasions, I’ll add bronzer, highlighter, and maybe eye shadow and false lashes if it’s a big event like a wedding, salsa event, or my birthday!
Hair: I try not to wash my hair every day, but this changes daily depending on how lazy I’m feeling. Most days, I only just blow-dry my hair straight. I don’t even flat iron it anymore. On my really lazy days, I embrace my natural curls, and add Sebastian’s Whipped Cream, which is like mousse and is my favorite product for my curls because it doesn’t leave my hair sticky, crunchy, or stiff. Then, I let my hair air dry. After it’s dry, my hair usually looks dry, frizzy, big, and poufy. Although I’ve received several compliments on my natural curls, I’m still trying to perfect this look.
Skincare: I have oily/combination skin so all of the facial products I use (moisturizer, foundation, sunscreen, night cream, etc.) have to be oil-free. My go-to facial products is anything from Neutrogena, because their products are so gentle, non-comedogenic, and most of their products are dermatologist recommended (which I’m hoping is true and not just a sales pitch). My favorite is their Fresh Foaming Cleanser (comes in a light blue pump bottle), which I’ve used for years, and is a makeup remover and cleanser in one. I’m actually looking for a new skincare product because I’ve been breaking out lately and have many post-acne scars.
Nails: I love getting my nails done! This is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. I get a manicure and pedicure about every two to three weeks. I’ve found that regular nail maintenance has really strengthened my natural nails, and it helps that I never get solar, powder, acrylic, gel, shellac, etc. Fun fact, I’ve done some hand modeling for different projects at two of my past jobs. I think this would be fun to pursue in the future if the opportunity presents itself.
Food (restaurants/preparations/must-eats): I don’t really like or know how to cook, although I’m trying to teach myself. Ideally, I’d like to meal prep each week so I’m not spending too much money on eating out.
One very underrated restaurant in Houston is Riva’s. It’s a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in the Montrose area (1117 Missouri Street, near Niko Niko’s). The décor is very 90s and simple with Christmas lights, but the food is delicious! The best part is you get so much food for very little! I’m never disappointed when I go there.
Breakfast:Usually a Nutri-Grain bar, some fruit, and tea (English breakfast). I don’t drink coffee because it upsets my stomach, unfortunately.
Lunch: For lunch during the week while at work, I’ll typically have either a sandwich, salad, wrap, or soup. I love places like Panera Bread, Salata, Jason’s Deli, Zoe’s Kitchen, Corner Bakery, and La Madeleine. I’ve recently discovered UberEats, thanks to my coworkers, and it’s amazing! So quick and easy, and so good! I have to limit myself to one meal once a week.
Dinner: I’m trying to be more health conscious and not eat heavy meals for dinner, so I usually try to keep it light with a salad or soup, or sometimes I’ll even have my leftovers from lunch. But if it’s the weekend and I’m going out with friends, it’s either Mexican food or Italian food most of the time. Hey, I’m allowed a cheat day, right?
Fitness (Exercise): Now that it’s summer and I’m a bridesmaid in two upcoming weddings, I’m trying to workout about 3-4 times a week at least. Cardio is my preferred workout, but I’m slowly adding in strength training to lose fat and gain muscle faster. I love Zumba and I go salsa dancing occasionally, so I get my cardio in there. I also like to run, which I need to do more often.
Career: I majored in Communications/Advertising from UH. My goal is to expand my career in advertising/marketing. My dream is to be the CMO of a major company one day. Why not CEO? I want to be the bridge between the CEO and the marketing team and focus on marketing communication and event planning. I’d like to lead a team of amazing, talented people. I want to work with them on their vision and the CEO’s vision to better the company and help execute their ideas. I aspire to be a mentor and problem-solver and guide a team from point A to point B.
Challenges: Learning to work with people who have different personalities or work ethic than you
Rewards: Knowing a project was successful and being recognized for all your time and hard work. Sometimes, a simple and sincere “thank you” goes a long way.
- Blue lace dress – Marshall’s Long gold necklace – Charming Charlie’s Brown/gold watch – Fossil Brown wedges – DSW (brand: Guess)
- Black top – Express Black and white skirt – Agaci Gold necklace – Express Nude strappy shoes – Express
- Gray floral top – Express Jeans – Express Nude pumps – Macy’s (brand: INC International Concepts)
Photos are unfiltered and unedited. Photography by A. Pham