These are the values by which I live and work.
Through my workshops and initiatives, I inspire and cultivate a culture of:
“Therapy is for crazy people!” I used to think. But after several sessions several years ago, I finally realized therapy keeps people from going crazy. 😊
In a world where it is more important to look fine than to be fine, many are being held back by unacknowledged and unhealed wounds. I believe in healing ourselves and allowing, encouraging, and enabling those around us to heal. Hurt people, hurt people, so healing is essential to my mission of building bridges. My approach to inclusion, diversity, and equity is trauma-informed.
I create safe environments that allow people to connect with their pain and inspire them to pursue healing and facilitate others’ healing journeys. It takes courage to heal, and healing breeds empathy!
“If I can do it, anyone can!” That’s the myth of meritocracy I believed when I was blind to my own privileges and the enormous systemic challenges other brilliant and hardworking people have to tackle daily. I used to think empathy was just about putting myself in others’ shoes, but finally realized it’s much more complex, for we do not have the same feet or walk the same terrain for the same period at the same level of re-occurrence etc. We may never know the whole story, but context and history matter! They help foster empathy and contribute to the right solutions!
In my earlier years in the USA, I had a hard time believing racism still existed because of my positive personal experiences. Through sustained effort, I eventually recognized how my individual experiences colored my perceptions of the broader reality, and understood how individual experience does not always equal group experience. Since then, I have been leveraging my experience and expertise to build bridges, helping others see what they couldn’t see and strive to become part of the solution.
In a highly polarized society, rampant with misinformation, developing empathy for those we do not know well or disagree with can be challenging. I take the time to inquire, learn, build relationships, and enlighten others as needed. I always seek to understand and empathize with my clients, partners, and the communities I serve, to ensure that we develop the right solutions for the right problems.
I build empathy by exploring, facing, and sharing the truth, even if uncomfortable, but helpful. I creatively help people see problems they couldn’t see on their own. I help them channel the knowledge and sometimes resulting discomfort into curiosity, growth, empathy, and solutions; thus, transforming hearts, minds, systems, and behaviors. As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Developing empathy for others and ourselves helps create a sense of belonging!
“I have been here for 14 years and never seen anything like this. It has been quite refreshing for me to be able to wear my cultural clothes to work every day. Embracing and sharing my cultural background makes me a step closer to bringing my whole self to work.” Said Sarath, an engineer at one of the organizations where I led diversity, inclusion, and equity.
In environments that emphasize cultural fit (which focuses on what a person is lacking) with little to no consideration for cultural add (which focuses on what a person can bring to the table), many people leave huge chunks of themselves at the door as they try to fit in at work. This breeds group think and stifles creativity.
Creating a culture of belonging across the various forms of diversity is one of my priorities and strengths. Being inclusive and ensuring equitable practices drives belonging and enables us harness the power of community. I cultivate environments where people feel valued for who they are, and supported as they grow and thrive. An environment that brings out their best selves. The safety of belonging encourages authenticity!
“Your body is just not meant for dancing!” exhaled my friend, after hours of attempting to teach me ONE dance move. She wasn’t the first to make such statements about my dancing, singing, or anything I attempted besides Math and Physics.
I grew up feeling limited to fit only in the “nerd box”. In adulthood, I dared to break free, embracing my multi-facetedness and finding synergy in all the different parts of me. Today I’m still a nerd, but also an acclaimed performer, singer, song-writer and much more. Those who used to make those statements now stand in awe.
In a society where we’ve been socialized to see certain characteristics as the right way to be despite the plethora of positive human characteristics, it can be hard to be one’s true self. I take pride in living authentically; embracing all of who I am and balancing vulnerability with discretion. It enables healthier connections and relationships, and helps one leverage one’s full potential.
I help people find their authentic selves and allow others to be their authentic selves. I nurture environments where people can bring their whole selves. Authenticity inspires creativity.
“That’s impossible!” Sighed Adam, one of my engineering team mates, after I suggested we present our final project as a skit, in an effort to motivate the team members to get more excited about completing the project.
A month later, while other teams did PowerPoints that caused some to doze off, we presented an interactive skit that kept people at the edge of their seats and made them remember what they had just learned. We received thundering applause and scored 98%.
I am passionate about problem solving and creativity. I allow myself and others to be curious, take strategic risks, make mistakes and learn from it. I start with seeking to understand the problem that needs to be solved and the desired outcomes. By maintaining flexibility, curiosity, grace, and problem-solving skills, I cultivate creativity and innovation.
Healing breeds empathy, which breeds belonging, which breeds authenticity, and leads to truly empowered, resilient, and creative communities.
I inspire and cultivate a culture of healing, empathy, belonging, authenticity, and creativity, which help breed self-actualization and maximize human potential and well-being!
Cultivate a culture of healing, empathy, belonging, authenticity, and creativity!