THE BACK STORY
I was born in Washington DC, raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My parents immigrated from India with nothing in the early 70’s, hustled year after year, and built a mini empire of businesses. My parents owned the first Indian vegetarian restaurant in DC “Siddhartha”, a travel agency, and a grocery store (before my time). My dad did Bollywood concert promotions and invested in other businesses. My uncles and aunts ran their own businesses too...or worked with us in ours. I worked at the restaurant legitly starting at age 12 (child labor I know :)). I helped with caterings, ran the cash register, made the food, stocked the drinks and desserts, managed the staff on some nights that my mom or brother took off. The restaurant was doing really well for a long time--some would even say THRIVING….until it wasn’t. In the early 90’s, competition had no mercy with new Indian restaurants popping up left and right and, and after all that hard work, blood, sweat and tears the restaurant and traveling agency closed after 20 years. And, to make matters worse, my parents decided to get a divorce because of it and many other reasons.. Needless to say, it all left a lasting impression on me in so many ways. #lifelessons
During that same time, I started undergrad at University of Maryland, and decided to go to school to study the art of competition and fell in LOVE with MARKETING as a whole. Don’t you always wish you knew then what you know now. If that was possible, the restaurant would still be open and BOOMING
AS LIFE GOES....
When I graduated, I ran as FAR away from everything entrepreneurial and focused on getting a secure corporate job and got into Prudential’s leadership development program outside of New York City. #AwayFromItAll
I had a crazy first couple months in NY. I moved in June of 2001, three months later Sept 11th occurred (#unthinkable) and my dad passed tragically the January after at the mere age of 58 #NoWords!
Sept 11 and my dad passing taught me the one simple lesson that seems to be the theme of my life: live your life to the fullest--no matter what.
FROM STABILITY TO SIDE HUSTLE
Two years later I got married to the love of my life Kishan and he moved up to New York too. Prudential was so good to me for many years. Challenge after challenge, business after business (5 in total), I climbed and accomplished for 13+ years and graduated magna cum laude from Fordham university with my MBA (concentration in marketing) while working full time. I was an anomaly at my age to stay with one company for so long--but I did and was building a great reputation in the financial services marketing space and great income to show for it.
A few career highlights that played an integral role in my path was working with 6 Chief Marketing Officers to lead Prudential to become a truly World Class Marketing Organization which included the Rebranding of Prudential Financial w/ their “Bring Your Challenges” campaign as well as leading efforts working with world-renown behavioral gurus to create marketing campaigns to get people to save more for their future (in Prudential multi-billion dollar Retirement business).
Although I had a great run at my full-time gig, the entrepreneurial bug kept creeping (it was literally in my genes)... and so the side hustle was born 7 years into my corporate career. It ran the gamut from my husband and I running an IT consulting company, business / marketing coaching for small business, even dabbled into fashion, tea and health and wellness. We even pitched a TV talent show idea to Tommy Mottola after his stent as the head of Entertainment. #Hahah Thought I was so cool! I learned many lessons, had many failures, attempted many partnerships, and thank god for all those experiences--as they have brought me full circle now.
So what changed?
I had my first kid, Sareena, in 2009. Two years later, I found out I was pregnant again and within weeks, I had a miscarriage. As you can imagine, that was an experience I won’t wish any women to have (even though I now know how common it really is). Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, the inevitable happened. Eight weeks after the miscarriage, I was attending a Retirement Industry conference (where I really did not belong-but that’s a whole other story) for work in Washington, DC, and I got severely sick (aka: could not BREATHE) and got rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night. I found out after a tremendous amount of agony, that I had a Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot in the lung). No idea what that was when it was occurring...but to put it in perspective… it was so painful, I would compare it to natural birth and it didn’t stop there. At that point in my life, I was a corporate warrior--and all I could think about was getting back to my job versus taking time out to be better. I was in the middle of onboarding in a new business and all I could think about was getting back to work so I could work on my projects and make a good impression. And, so I did. Four days later, after the original episode, I rushed back to my job. The same day, within three hours later, my chest started hurting again (the kind of hurt that you knew something was really wrong). I ended up back in the ER in New Jersey this time. I was told by a very rude ER doctor that I could have been a “widowmaker” once again because the medication that I was given wasn’t strong enough to dissolve the clot. This episode in my life was the prelude to what I like to call my , “a mid-life awakening.” AKA: Let’s focus on what matters most and live a life I was meant and want to live, not one that I think I HAVE to live.
MY MID LIFE "AWAKENING"
After the PE, it all changed. My work become so blase; the bureaucracy was getting worse; I didn't feel set up for success, I stopped caring, and things literally just went downhill from there. Personally, I think it was the universe working in my favor...telling me that this is not it for me. Literally, a year went by and I let it all continue. My gut screamed at me every day---but I felt stuck. I was making good money, I had obligations. I felt so lost. I felt scared. So I asked the universe to help. I literally googled a mantra to help me get focused on my next steps and said it every day in the morning, at work, on my way home--literally 10-15 a day. I even taught it to my 3-year-old at the time and her and I still recite it together till this day.
During this time I even was honored by JFAM, as one of the top 20 Rising Stars in Financial Services marketing. I got to ring the Nasdaq closing bell, got my name and picture in lights in Time Square...what an experience, especially when I finally realized, I no longer wanted to focus my efforts in this industry and I wanted to move on -- on my own.
And then it happened...a good friend, who I have been informally consulting with for over 7 years on his health and wellness business asked me to partner with him to build out his supplement line and help amplify his lifestyle methodology to the world. This would mean, move from a townhome in New Jersey to a tiny apt with astronomical rent in Williamsburg Brooklyn, potentially transition out of my corporate job, all while knowing there would be no real salary as part of the initial phase as we are building. I knew I didn’t want to be a lifer at Pru (not that it’s a bad company at all, it’s amazing actually, but I was just ready to move on). However, my dilemma got worse, because I knew that I still needed to be able to financially support my family--especially as I just found out that I was pregnant with my second child.
But then as the universe goes (you see a theme), my husband randomly got offered a new job that gave him a substantial increase in salary and allowed me some leniency to take an extended maternity leave and work on the business (hiatus from corporate) to see where this business could take us.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE #NoOtherWay
I can’t tell you how much I learned that first year out of corporate. I mean there is no learning like full immersion learning. I studied Marie Forleo, Brendon Burchard, Jeff Walker, Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson, Ramit Sethi...and so many more. I spoke to countless previous informal mentors and people who were leaders it in my new industry. I listened to podcast after podcast, YouTube video after YouTube video, book after book--all of which I had never heard of in my corporate career, let alone have the time to really listen to and learn from. There were times I was filled with pure excitement from the freedom of my situation to fear to ensure I knew what I was doing and mainly to keep me accountable to progress (as no one was watching or reviewing me any longer).
I ended up fully resigning midway in the YEAR after I finally got the clarity on what I wanted to do for my life after corporate. #TrustintheProcess
I took my side hustle and made it my real hustle by finally OFFICIALLY creating an agency focused on growing and scaling businesses through a brand-led business transformation methodology. I love branding and strategy, I love business and I love seeing people thriving in business and life versus surviving. It’s what I am meant to be doing (period) and I LOVE it!
I AM A BUSINESS AND BRAND STRATEGIST AND I SERVE GROWTH STAGE ENTREPRENEURS AND COMPANIES
In conclusion, I would tell you that the ONLY way I could go through this mid-life awakening filled with fear, excitement, uncertainty, and finally clarity was having the most supportive husband in the world, Kishan. Without his trust in me as I went through this process, I would have NEVER been able to get here. I am so blessed and I will never forget that! Love You Baby!
Please contact me ONLY if you are ready to play big.