Society / Profiles

Dallas Lawyer Bina Palnitkar Patel on Her Dream Career and Why She Gives Back

The NorthPark Ambassador’s Secret to Having it All is Being Happily Imbalanced

BY // 01.28.22

As NorthPark Center embarks on its fifth year of celebrating its Ambassador program― an idea spearheaded by Nancy A. Nasher and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman― a spotlight shines bright upon Dallas’ top influencers and the nonprofits they support.

Hand-selected for their philanthropic contributions, each year-long ambassadorship offers the opportunity to partner with NorthPark Center and its retailers for various events and initiatives to benefit their respective charitable organizations. This year’s Ambassadors are threaded together with a solid commitment to the community. Events that support causes important to them are united in the ultimate spirit of fashion, art, and stylish philanthropy.

Today, we catch up with Bina Palnitkar Patel, as she champions the mission of the Methodist Health System Foundation. The Foundation presents an impressive portfolio of medical professionals and hospitals which serve Dallas with excellence, honor, and duty. Her husband, Nimesh Patel, is Chief of Neurosurgery for Methodist Health and has dedicated his career to providing the best care for the patients of Dallas. So this initiative and partnership with NorthPark have a deep-rooted personal connection for her.

Why are you passionate about this charitable organization?

Bina Palnitkar Patel: The Methodist Health System is a fantastic portfolio of medical professionals and hospitals which serve Dallas with excellence, honor, and duty. My husband Nimesh Patel is Chief of Neurosurgery for Methodist Heath and has dedicated his career to providing the best care for the patients of Dallas. The Methodist Health System prides itself on providing the highest standards of care, no matter the patients’ economic status, and works with the Methodist Health System Foundation to raise money to provide access to the outstanding medical facilities and services for all members of the community. I support them in this endeavor and also as a volunteer.

Your favorite NorthPark memory.

Palnitkar Patel: As far back as I can remember, going to NorthPark was a weekly trip with my parents. But first we always stopped at our bank, NorthPark National Bank (a building that is now part of the mall). I always had fun with the employees and their candy, and it looked like a very fancy bank from a movie. I still have some ballpoint pens from the bank. A more recent memory was when I was 16, and I had a job as a cashier at Gap in NorthPark, across from a Sbarro. My mom would pick me up after my shifts at the Gap, and we would eat pizza and then walk around the mall together aimlessly. Those were the best times. 

How would you describe your own personal style?

Palnitkar Patel: Contemporary classic with a pinch of edge.

Who are your role models?

Palnitkar Patel: My mother and my husband. My mother loved everyone for their best qualities and never saw the bad in anyone.  She was an eternal optimist. My husband is an evolver. He is always seeking ways to better himself and to grow as a person, as well as grow all the things and people around him into something better. 

What keeps you driven?

Palnitkar Patel: I recently lost my mother as well as a dear young friend, which has shifted my perspective immensely. I no longer loathe a birthday and dread another year of getting older. Instead, I find a sense of gratitude for being able to spend another year with my family and community. I am driven by the fact that we never know when our last day is here, so we must try to make every day meaningful in some way.

What are two fun facts about you? 

Palnitkar Patel: After college, I was working as one of three women in options trading on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, alongside about 500 men. During those years I learned all the guy movies and how to quote them, as well as how to bet on just about every game in Vegas. It was a thrilling time.

Today I’m like the Lincoln Lawyer, but in an SUV with car seats. I have to run around with my kids and other commitments all day, every day, but I have to keep on top of a busy career. My fun fact is that I keep a set of all my current cases and documents neatly organized in the front trunk of my car, like a file cabinet. I am always prepared to pull over at any cheer class parking lot, pull out binders and negotiate a case with opposing counsel, sitting on a sidewalk outside looking into 20 crazy girls. 

How do you find a moment of balance while getting it all done?

Palnitkar Patel: Still working on that one. With three young girls and four careers between two people, it’s not happening right now. And that’s okay, we are happy and imbalanced for now.

The best advice you’ve ever heard?

Palnitkar Patel: Be the exception to the rule. 

On the importance of giving back. 

Bina Palnitkar Patel: When we leave this world the only thing that matters is what we did for others and how we impacted people’s lives. How much we had or where we lived will fade, but the chance to change or to save someone else’s life will ripple on well after our time. Lifting up others is a priority for our family. 

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