This spotlight features Natasha Bijlani, who recently joined NeuroNav as a Service Navigator!
Can you tell us about your education and background?
I graduated from UC Berkeley with high honors in 2015, where I majored in Social Welfare. I advocated for students with disabilities on campus, and I worked to get ADA accessibility around campus for them. I was working two jobs at UC Berkeley since I also would type novels to be turned into braille for people who were visually impaired, whether low vision or completely blind.
After I graduated from Berkeley, I did a three-month internship for Kaiser Permanente. I helped make sure that people got the services that they needed. After that, I worked for the Social Security Administration, where I advocated for and helped individuals with disabilities get their benefits, whether it be SSI or SSD. Then I moved to San Diego in 2019, where I rejoined the Suicide Hotline. I would work the night shift and try to prevent people from committing suicide; I have a hundred percent success rate with that, which is something I'm very proud of. I had a lot of clients call back and say how much they appreciated me and how they just needed me to be there for that moment.
After working for the Suicide Hotline, I joined NeuroNav. I love that all my jobs have created a big impact because I am passionate about making a difference in people's lives. I think my ultimate goal is to serve, so if I'm able to do that for people, I feel like I've put my best foot forward.
What drew you to becoming a Navigator for NeuroNav?
Being a person with a disability, I can relate and can help our clients realize that dreams are possible. It's so important for me to make a difference, so I felt like I would be a good fit for NeuroNav.
What have you enjoyed about NeuroNav so far?
The fact that we have such a supportive and outgoing team means a lot to me. I haven’t had that in my other jobs. At NeuroNav, I know everybody has my back, which is very comforting—everybody's so supportive and welcoming.
I want to be a successful Navigator—I want to be able to put my best foot forward and change as many people's lives as possible; I just want to be able to help whoever I can.
What motivates you?
My family motivates me—they give me goals. I'm a caretaker for my family, and they have all been super supportive of me. I live to serve, whether it's my own family or other people.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to travel around the world when I can, and I love trying different cuisines. My latest hobby is cooking; I'm also really good at baking. I'm always looking for new recipes. I learned how to cook because of the quarantine. Before then, I couldn’t even hold a knife. So I've come a long way since!