"The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes"

Your Current Role: 

I am the Founder of The Curvy Yogi. My work involves bringing Diversity & Inclusion into yoga without diluting the essence of yogic philosophy. As a yoga teacher trainer, I also teach Yoga Anatomy, Ayurvedic Lifestyle, Meditation, and Holistic Wellness & Wellbeing.

 

Advancing Your Journey Forward:

My career began in the corporate world. I was young and enthusiastic and was willing to learn from all roles. I started off as a permanent Part-Timer with FedEx Express & soon enough moved into a Full-Time employee. Although my core functions were around Customer Service Excellence, I was assisting the Country Manager in operations & administrative tasks for the country facility as well as leading core projects. My leadership & project management skills started developing through roles, but I was aware of strong limitations that existed from a sense of unconscious bias times especially in the Middle East culture. At that time, I didnt complain because I was happy to learn & soak the experience. It has been the foundation of having an eye for excellence & perfection.

 

Overcoming Challenges:

One of my most defining moments have been around experiencing the pain of exclusion - both experienced personally and on behalf of my dear ones. My younger brother is deaf and as a child, he struggled with isolation and exclusion from education & experiences that his able siblings, peers and friends were privileged to have. As a family, we felt deeply for him but were restrained by the limited resources available to us in the Middle East. Even today, resources & opportunities for PWD are a struggle. I advocate for inclusion of PWD & other marginalized sections because as a community, Personally, I know the struggle of being a single parent, raising three children and balancing my own needs for sanity and mental clarity as well as personal fulfillment through meaningful work. Also, as a 4th generation NRI, of sorts, the need for belongingness was real for me. Being displaced during the Gulf War, brought me very close to the reality of being lost - of not belonging to my country of birth where everything I loved was on the verge of destruction. This took many years to heal from - to even understand that it was happening to me. But when I did, I knew why I leaned so strongly towards Organizational Culture, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging. Of course, overcoming these painful experiences didn't happen overnight. I trained, took up courses, programs, gave myself time to understand myself better (I still do - the learning never stops). I took my experiences seriously enough to use them for creating change. A teacher once suggested that we convert our karma into dharma - esoteric & philosophical, I know, but that is me. I took that lesson to heart. I recognized my skills and strengths and knew that organizations were communities that had access to being trained on how to deepen their human connection

 

A Turning Point In Your Life And How Did It Impact You: 

Recognizing my choice and staying in an abusive marriage for over 17 years. It impacted me physically, emotionally, mentally & definitely financially. It is not easy, knowing that my choices are limited and the obvious choice would be a very dangerous one. Yet, when things reached a point of no-return, every experience of the 17 years of living in danger showed me my own resilience. Bent but not broken is who I am. I understood the difference between sympathy and empathy. The deepest lesson has been one of being tempered through the fire. While I wouldn't wish this experience of practically being out of one fire and into another fire on any other person, I am very grateful for it. It taught me how to learn not necessarily forget (pain isn't that easy to forget, especially where children are concerned) but it has taught me to let go and focus on what I can do today. In the here and now, what are my options? I have understood that circumstances never remain the same and change is the indeed the only constant. Coming from a family of affluence, I have known what it was to make do with very little but still sleep peacefully knowing I have not caused harm to anyone. I know my children have had it rough for no fault of theirs, except for having been my children. I see the impact of my challenges as a person, a woman and as an entrepreneur in how they hold their heads high and are little agents of change themselves.

 

You Advice: 

Know your values. Know what you stand for and what is non-negotiable. Recognize where you are determined to create change for yourself and for the community at large, and be of service. Purposeful work steeped in values and ethical, authentic service (even through delegation) is the hallmarks of leadership, in my opinion. And of course, remember to know when to step back and look after yourself too.


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