Going Against The Grain: Gauthami Vemula


Gauthami Vemula is the Founder and Managing Partner of Color Me Safe, LLC, a family crisis consulting firm committed to protecting children and families of North Texas by offering guidance and solutions for child welfare and protection issues. Gauthami’s previous experience as a child abuse investigator and department manager at the Department of Child Protective Services made her realize that working with children and families was not just part of a job but more of a calling. She was one of only three investigators hand-picked from Dallas County for a special pilot program, the Skilled Response Team, which investigated more than 40 child abuse cases a month. She was also selected as one of the few in Texas to train new CPS Investigators. In addition to her work in the field, Gauthami was integral in co-authoring Dallas County’s policy and procedure handbook used by all CPS Investigators. She also helped to create a systematic method called ‘Tips, Tools and Tactics,’ specifically utilized by newly trained CPS Investigators. After a decade of working within the system and becoming aware of its shortcomings, Gauthami invested her knowledge and expertise in founding Color Me Safe with the intention of bridging a connection between the families of North Texas and the CPS System. Now, as a Child Welfare Consultant and activist, she passionately works towards raising awareness about child abuse/neglect and advocating for families going through child protection issues.

Gauthami is actively involved in the community, serving on the boards of Hope’s Door and Empowering Women As Leaders. She serves as a mentor for high school girls at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and also the sponsorship secretary for HEAL, an international organization working to provide education and health care to children in poverty. Since 2002, Gauthami has been an active volunteer/teacher at Chinmaya Mission of DFW, where she educates children and reinforces spiritual and cultural values. Gauthami has a passion for music and loves to play and teach piano in her spare time. She recently completed a children’s book and awaits publication. Gauthami also studies voice under opera singer/performer, Ronana Gales. Gauthami will be making her debut as a singer this year. She values her family who have encouraged and supported her littlest adventure to her greatest venture. In her spare time, she enjoys participating in a wide array of activities from dancing to blogging. Gauthami is the author of Wheatish Complexion.com; a blog that puts a satirical spin on being a first generation, Indian American woman balancing two different cultures. As an individual guided by her compassion and optimism, she hopes and strives for a commitment where all children are safe, healthy and provided a fair opportunity for a bright future ahead. Gauthami is also the recipient of the Dallas Women’s Foundation 2014 Maura Helping Women Award, which recognizes exceptional leaders who have have/are pioneering the way to improve lives for women and girls.

Full Name:
Gauthami Vemula
Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA, raised in NY and Hobbs, NM as a child. Residing in Dallas, TX since 2001.
Current City:
Dallas, TX
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
To me, “Going Against The Grain” means to defy convention to make room for innovation and progress, to forge one’s own path, to scale new heights and expand the horizon of what it means to be human.
What made you decide to pursue a career in this industry?
I have always been conscious of giving back to society, especially being a first generation Indian American. Even as a student I actively devoted my time and energy volunteering for various social causes. During that time, I became aware of my passion for child welfare and working with families. With Color Me Safe, I had the opportunity to put my passion into action.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
As an Indian American, there was always a pressure to follow the stereotype of becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer. I started out with the intention of attending medical school, but life took a turn and brought me to the doors of community service and philanthropy. Service to others or SEVA as it is called in the ancient Indian language, Samskrit, was an integral part of my childhood education. And yet it was not expected to be my primary vocation. It was a challenge to pursue my career, as it was not the norm for an Indian girl, lacking financial security and prestige. But I knew my conviction and followed my heart. These challenges and experiences have taught me that my personal happiness and security was not going to be defined by societal norms and pressures.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
 I believe my biggest accomplishment was/is to pursue an unconventional career and not only be good at it but also to earn respect from doing it. While I was facing my challenges, I was determined to leave a legacy for the next generation of Indian American girls that defying societal pressures and forging your own path can also lead to success and happiness.
What’s up next?
While expanding the sphere of Color Me Safe and bringing color in the lives of more families, we are currently working towards turning Color Me Safe into a non-profit organization. In addition, there are also some new projects in the works, but I can’t tell yet…
Quote to live by: “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” – Maya Angelou
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Snake and Aquarius
Passionate about: Family, friends, travel, learning about different cultures and my DVD collection of Charles In Charge
Favorite food: Whatever Mommy cooks and does not ask me to learn
Can’t live without: My baby nephew, oxygen and water in that order (wink, wink)
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