This episode features an interview with MAJ Nargis Kabiri ‘10, Field Artillery/FA 58 at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
MAJ Kabiri is currently an Army Marketing Officer and a mother of three who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan in 1986. She enlisted in the Army at age 17 and would later get recruited to play basketball for West Point. In 2010, she received her Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering and commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer, becoming a litmus test for the Army to lift the Combat Exclusion Policy in 2012. In addition to her military experience, she founded Zanbazan, a revolutionary nursing apparel startup, and co-founded Athena Angels, providing educational programming and mentorship opportunities for West Point women entrepreneurs..
In this episode, MAJ Kabiri talks about the trials and tribulations of growing up as an Afghan American in the United States, turning to sports as an outlet during her time at West Point, and how her journey as a commissioned Field Artillery Officer transpired into a path towards entrepreneurship.
“I was the litmus test for allowing women in combat arms in 2012. And you know how they chose me? Because I was physically fit. That's what it came down to. They didn't care that I had the technical and tactical expertise. What they did care about was that I could do, you know, 11 pull-ups and that I could run. All they cared about was I could ruck run. I could do everything with the guys because at the time, this was back in 2012, the number one argument was that women couldn't hack it out physically. And so that toughness, that grit, that never quit mentality, it was always there because you bet every single day, every single morning for PT, eyes were on me.” - MAJ Nargis Kabiri
“My dad told me three things, and I remember it to this day, even though he passed away many, many years ago. His three things were, work hard, get an education, and I even say that education piece goes back to being competent in your area. You don't have to go around getting PhDs or collecting master's degrees, just be smart in your area. It doesn't take a lot. Constantly read and work on self-improvement. And, the third thing he would say is, never give up. And how true, right? How true. Never give up. And I'm going to add the fourth one, and we kind of hit on it, but the fourth one falls in line with character. Be kind and be humble along your journey because you just never know who you're going to run into and who needs your kindness. Being humble and being grateful for those around you. I know I’m in so much gratitude for so many people that have impacted my life so far.” - MAJ Nargis Kabiri
(02:41) Attending West Point Military Academy
(04:55) Turning to sports as an outlet in life
(11:19) Growing up as Afghan American in a small town
(20:09) Choosing field artillery
(33:20) Nargis’ entrepreneurial journey
(49:52) Women in entrepreneurship at West Point