Naeha Prakash ’03
When did you come to Waterford and why did you choose Waterford as your school?
I came to Waterford in 9th grade, after attending another private school in Utah. My parents really liked the program at Waterford and thought it would give my sister and I great educational opportunities.
What has been the most meaningful impact that Waterford has had on you?
I would say that the greatest impact Waterford has had on my life is the life-long friends I gained during my years at the school. I still stay in touch with a number of people – including Emily Conrad, Samantha Ferrell and Jane Shuput – who are some of my closest friends. Even though there are many other people with whom I’m not in touch as closely, I feel like we all have a bond having spent time at Waterford together. It is a wonderful feeling to have that shared experience, and when I see people from Waterford from time to time, it’s like nothing has changed, which is something that I think is unique to Waterford.
What passions did you find at Waterford that you may not have discovered elsewhere (photo, theater, dance, robotics, birding, Shakespeare, ceramics, tennis, outdoor, lacrosse, etc.)?
I would say my love of poetry and music. Waterford let me try (and sometimes fail) at many things, including photo, improv, dance and tennis – but I think it helped to be exposed to many different activities and made me appreciate the beauty and difficulty of those things in a heightened way. It also taught me that some people are amazing at certain things that I really am not.
Did you have a favorite teacher or more than one? Why?
A lot of favorite teachers: Mr. Van Arsdell, Mr. Rosett, Mrs. Morris, Ms. Sorenson and Mr. Ralphs, to name a few. They were not only great teachers, but great people – and I think after all these years, I’ve come to appreciate that more.
Did Waterford prepare you well for college and life beyond?
I think it cultivated certain qualities in me that have been helpful as I’ve gotten older – things like finding a passion, enjoying learning and working hard.
Where did you go to college?
Georgetown University and University of California, Davis School of Law.
What was your first job after college?
I worked for the Department of the Treasury doing risk analysis for national banks, right around the time the U.S. financial crisis began.
What culminating experience(s) helped you select a career?
It was a combination of things that helped me decide that I wanted to become a lawyer. The first thing was my college majors in Economics and English and Georgetown’s focus on public policy. The second thing was working at the Treasury during the financial crisis and witnessing the legal changes that arose out of that time, including the Dodd-Frank Act. It helped me realize that I wanted to practice financial services law, and how the law, in some ways, can have a more direct impact. I really enjoy taking complex scenarios, drilling down into the issue and making it easy to understand – and since so much of the law seems to involve those kinds of situations, it seems to be a good fit so far.
How has your career evolved?
I’ve taken the approach in my career that I always want to be learning, even though I’m still focused on financial services law. I’m currently an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, where I practice consumer finance and banking law, and prior to the firm, I was at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was the new agency created by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Both of these opportunities have been really terrific learning experiences: the CFPB was a completely new agency, so a lot of my time was spent learning the workings of the new agency and building new processes, and at the firm every day brings new questions or issues from clients that we have to address.
Where do you live now?
Words to live by?
“They say the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. So, water it.”