Portrait Project


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mantazh Khanna

I will not let go of my yellow work boots and hard hat.

Manager Tan gave them to me at a power plant in Singapore as he proudly showed me around his magnificently built facility. Crisscrossing shiny steel pipes. Towering black furnaces. All supporting the needs of a population, including Mr. Tan's. I stared in awe, unable to fathom this seemingly miraculous structure, indeed man-made. A humbling experience for a starry-eyed girl who only wanted to green the world.

In my boots and hat...
...I am real. I see the challenge. I realize that every dollar bill can't be printed in my shade of green. My leadership will have to speak through tough decisions that offer consequences I have to face.
...I am hands-on. I attempt to hear every backyard voice. I search for every plant manager's missed perspective. I am not satisfied with distant assumptions.
...I fight for balance. Shifting as it may be. In my mind. In the mind of others. Between today and tomorrow.
...I sweat. I toil to continuously learn how each process links to another. I stop, now and then, to wipe the sweat off my brow and look up. But I don't give up.

Yes, I may wear a suit on the outside. But in my mind, I will always have on my yellow boots and hat. And in my heart, they will be painted green.

— Mantazh Khanna