Hello, This is Sirisha, welcome to my podcast!
In snippets, we explore leadership, time management, productivity, returning to work after a career break, networking, upskilling and mentorship, We also discuss building a personal board of advisors, how to manage our money and successfully find the path to financial freedom. I am sure that was a lot to swallow in one bite, This episode is a "BIG THANK YOU" to our listeners and guests.
Look forward to seeing you in the 2nd year of the podcast as we deep dive into important, relevant topics of today like Diversity and Inclusion, Mental Health, Leadership and finding a seat at the table.
Come, let's #paintlifetogether!
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Each podcast has a few takeaways and resources on the website: www.womencareerandlife.com
Below is a transcript of the episode, slightly modified for reading.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPT OVERVIEW
[00:50] - Intro [Jump to section]
[10:28] - Snippets from the previous episodes [Jump to section]
PODCAST DETAILED TRANSCRIPT
[00:50] - Intro
Hello, everyone. I am so excited to be back in my hometown Chennai, India. And I am recording this episode, which is the one-year anniversary of the podcast. It is so exciting to reach this milestone in the women, career and life podcast. I would like to thank all of you for listening to the podcast and being able to share your stories and your journey as well on this. I also want to take time to thank the guests who have been generous with their time, their expertise, and sharing their intimate stories with us so that we feel like a part of a community and can engage together to learn from each other.
I'm sure you can hear the crows in the background and I hope it doesn't take away from this episode recording. When I look back a year ago when I first started to think of doing the podcast, it was just an idea and I was able to brainstorm it with my good friend Usha Nadiveedhi, who was able to help crystallize those thoughts to generate this podcast. It's been a huge learning and amazing journey from starting to hear your own voice on the podcast and see how it sounds, to be able to record, do pre-production and call emailing guests, to also then learn how to do post-production, get into the social media space. Even this whole idea of what I'm doing now, recording in front of a camera, it's just so far out, I would've never thought to do it. This episode is obviously quite different and I wanted to take time to celebrate it and celebrate everybody who's been part of this community, this journey, and talk a little bit about what the guests have shared with us over the last year.
I wanted to go back to the 16-year-old self Bina Shah, who talked about how she started her first job and started to work there and how she's made financial decisions that are impacting her 40 years later on, as she continues to take care of her parents and give back to the community. We also heard from Sai and Sravana Kancharla, brother and sister, who came as immigrants from India as students and how they've managed to establish their financial space. And they talk about their early career decisions and they just bought their first house as well. So it's really amazing to hear these different stories and to learn how we can impact our own finances, our own money journeys, and learn from these because we all have different perspectives. It's a very personal space for us to be in. And when we continue to look back at Angel and Steven, who I've known for a very long time, talk about not only just their financial journey but how they started off college through scholarships or their entrepreneurial journey, Steven talks about star wars figures. They talk about tips really early on and how they saved from their first paycheck, where money went away from it and how they've invested it. And are ready for retirement, but also how they're protecting their wealth and assets for their children, in the future.
We heard from Laura Vanderkam, she's a time and productivity expert with a huge impact on the Ted platform.
She talks about how we can be productive and manage our micro bits of time so that we can be very conscious of how we spend it intentionally so that we can spend it on what we think is important and how we do that. So I would suggest you listen to that episode. When we talk about leadership, I'm so privileged to have had the honour to talk to Santha Sheela Nair, a retired IAS officer from India with a distinguished career, who spent a lot of her career working on sustainability from rainwater harvesting to grains and millets, and just women's issues as well. And she talks about leadership and how we, especially if you're part of an organization and not running our own business or freelance, how can continue to impact as a leader and how you become part of the decision-making. And even if the decision is made differently from where you choose to see it, how you still have to invite those qualities, take command of the situation and enable that and work with your peers and the people in your team so that you can all be successful together and continue to enjoy that experience. When we look back on the financials piece, we talked to two experts. Alice Finn, who wrote the book, Smart Women Love Money, title very intentional, because when you think of smart women and love, sometimes I think there's a sort of connotation of maybe, we feel like, oh, are we being greedy about it? But really, that's not what it's about. It's about having choices to make decisions for yourself, your family, your community, maybe impacting someone else's, and really owning that. The part to financial freedom is clean, simple, and not as complicated as we think. And she really outlines it in the five simple rules of investing. And I suggest you pick up her book and definitely listen to the podcast episode as well, so we can communicate and commit as a community to do this together. And when I constantly think of retirement, the one thing I've always thought is retirement is all about money, but really it's not just about money. It's about having so much more, the four pillars of retirement as Maria Litzinger talks about purpose, health, finances, and also about having relationships. The relationships that we build with our community, with the families, our extended families. And when you have all these four holistic pieces together, like a four-legged chair is when you will have a successful retirement, and how we can plan this ahead of time, Not just a few years, not two years before, but you continue to invest in it and think about it, so you can have that set up to enjoy your retirement. So, we've been talking about money, I wish you all the best on your financial journey and on a path to financial freedom.
I've had two career breaks. And two of them have been quite challenging when you're trying to take a break from work and come back and return to it. You're not sure if you're ready, if you're up-skilled if you're re-skilled enough to take this step, but there are so many resources, so many people who have been on the same path who can help. And there are many organizations we've got the opportunity to talk to. iRelaunch founder Carol Fishman Cohan, shares how networking is important, how to network the right way and how we are frozen in time with our colleagues. So, you really don't lose anything by reaching out to them. And if you're planning to take a career break, how you can prepare for it so that your re-entry is much smoother? Lauren Hagerty from Power to fly, which has huge remote opportunities, has also talked about how to lift while you climb, where you also ensure that you're lifting others along with you. So, you're all basically building that community together, but really just having a step up and finding a seat at the table. When you look at iRelaunch Carol's community, it has conferences and roadmaps that you can engage with to find that path forward. Tammy Foreman, the executive director of Path forward, and what her organization does is very similar to an internship, a returnship program, which is a really great way with any of the companies that they have organized it with. It's a two to three-week, six-week assignment that you go and work on. You upscale, you receive these skills, you build a community, you build a network, you get to know people, the company gets to know you. And the best part is, they get to evaluate you and decide on whether they want to hire you and you get to evaluate them at the same time and make the same decision. How great is that? When we look at return to work, we also talk to some people who have gone through the experience. Vidya Narayanan stepped away when she had her kids, but also has not just returned to work, but has actually made the transition from corporate to academia successfully. Kavita Kanukolanu started her career after 40. She was a stay-at-home mom. After many years as a dancer, she started a dance school and then upskilled through Salesforce and Tableau and made it. Started her work as a part-timer and then was able to convert to full-time. And she talks about her journey and she has really her personal story. There are so many stories, so many people who have talked about what they've done, and it's a great way to see their experiences, see their journey and learn for ourselves and feel like we are not alone and be able to reach out to them. Listen to this podcast episode and other podcasts to find these resources so that we can all enable what we consider success in our own lives. And what we think is important to us.
I've had many mentorship experiences, and my first one was with the NASA scientist who worked on the Hubble telescope. When you look at mentorship, Bertha Haro, who, as a leader at MentorNet and Great minds in the stem, is really invested in helping disadvantaged children and young adults to be able to find a pathway from K to 12 through PhD. It's great to be a mentor. I would recommend and urge everyone to be a mentor and a mentee.
If you're looking to do it successfully, listen to Nirisha Garimella and Tien Le's episode on how to build a symbiotic relationship. They built a strong relationship that just goes beyond the norm. And they've talked about how that personal journey has impacted them. When we talk about mentorship, let's not just talk about mentorship and sponsorship, but really having a board of advisors. So you want to be the CEO of your career and your life. And so how do you build that personal board of advisors? To impact all of these various aspects that you're interested in. It's a continuously changing impact, you're not always on the same journey. Your thoughts are changing. You might want to detour and do something different. So how do you keep that both diverse and dynamic, when you're looking for input, don't look to your peers or look ahead to the people who have been ahead of. Look to the younger people who are behind you, because you can learn from there and you can also see how far you've come. As I finished this recap I hope you tune in to the episodes that you thought were important to you, listen to them and share them.
I'm really excited about the second year as we talk about deep issues like diversity in inclusion, leadership, mental health, all these things that are intimately tied to our lives, but we've not always spent time talking about them. What can we do as individuals, as communities, as organizations and as corporations to change the status quo? These conversations will be a little different, they're deep-dive, so they might be a bit longer. I really look forward to joining you on this journey and hearing more of your input and your stories. At the end of this recording, you will hear snippets of the different episodes that we've just discussed, and what our guests have had to say.
[10:28] - Snippets from the previous episodes
I would advise that it's okay to ask for what you're worth, know what you're worth, have confidence, be hardworking and be ethical, and it would get you there.
Sravana and Sai Kancharla
Even if you don't invest, you need to say, I think that's a huge safety net. Having cash on hand or savings on hand is pretty important just because you never know when the opportunity comes, I would probably say to have a more active role in new finances and investing in it because it makes more sense to you. Have it works for you then just sitting there at the banks here really don't give you any amount of interest if that makes any sense.
Angel and Steven Thomas
I would say don't live above your means. So I know some people jump in with their first house and its quite a bit above their means and that causes a lot of stress on relationships, on things like that. So, starts saving from day one, I would say at least 25% on your salary, honestly. And then, I would say travel, get the travel bug out while you're young, go see other places, see how other people live. I would say just because you end up with extra money in a month, doesn't mean you have to spend it, just make sure you have the savings so that when you do wanna spend it and you want to move on and forward up and you're like, how that money available? And also, donate. I think that's really important to donate, to causes that are really near and dear to your heart.
Culturally, Women somehow perceive caring about money as being greedy. When you love money, it's not loving the physical money or even the luxuries you can buy with it. It is what it will do for your life to give you opportunities and choices and what you can do also to help the other people in your life that you love. So, if you have resources, you can take care of yourself and you can take care of your family. You can pay for an education. You can pay for down payments on a home, start a business, or start a nonprofit. It gives you choices and opportunities, and that's a really powerful ability to have, especially later in life. You might have ideas that you want to put to work.
Take every interview you possibly can and apply to everything because, in my opinion, job, applications and interviews are in many ways like a performance. So, the more you do the performance, the better you're going to get at it. So, the more that you practice your interview skills, the more that you get your resume out there, the more that you ask for feedback on all of these things, the better you are going to be when that dream job, that dream opportunity comes around.
Just be yourself. Try not to procrastinate in that sense. Try not to push things and say, oh yeah, it's fine. I'll do that in a couple of years. Start it, then start your journey early on so that you can have more experiences and try different things every decade. Having kids and trying to manage a career was something that I wasn't very comfortable on. It's a choice that I made, but in retrospect, I think I would've done well considering how I'm able to manage now.
I think I would tell my 21-year-old self that you should know that people have lied to you, about ambition and about motherhood. And that not only will having children not make you less ambitious and driven, but children will make you more ambitious than you could ever imagine. One simple reason is that they are very expensive. I think they cause a lot of money, but more importantly, because you will suddenly feel a desire that you can't begin to imagine that you will want them to grow up in a world that looks different than the one that you grew up in.
Santa Sheela Nair
Once a decision is taken and you are an executive, then your responsibility to your job and your system is to execute it and to execute it well, as you believe in it. And you must do your best to see that it works at that time. You can't work on personal egos, that this is what I said, and they never listen to me, so I'm not going to do it, i'm going to make it fail. Your idea might have also failed, you don't know To be a good leader, you have to learn to demand, respect, and also to accept responsibility.
Carol Fishman Cohen
First of all, it's completely possible to relaunch your career after a career break, even if it's an extended career break. And in fact, on our podcast, we have a mini-series of people who take longest career breaks and the range of the longest career breaks range from 25 to 31 years, even people returning to technical roles.
Idea of the mosaic is just that you can move time around into different categories and by being a little bit more flexible, and a little bit more open about whether time is for work or life or something else you, you just allow for a more broad perspective, we focus on the education access.
We focus on expanding opportunities, introducing people to what stem is. We have what we call the AIMS model. We serve generally underserved students here in the US. We wanna inform them about college and all the access opportunities that are available. And so we want to plant those seeds. So we want to inspire people.
M is for motivation and the S is for skills and it really does take building upon a skill set in order to be able to successfully pursue stem degrees,
Nirisha Garimella and Tien Le
Never afraid to ask questions and critical thinking. I think those two were, still today, is gonna get me far in life.
I'm a very different person that I am now. I'm a little farther away from 21. When I look in the rearview mirror, one of the things I would've told my 21-year-old self is to have the courage to, stand up and speak up for myself and it's okay to make mistakes. Tell her to continue and be very confident about doing is asking for help and asking questions. Be sure of yourself and stand up for yourself.
The definition of retirement now, from a lot of people is really a reinvention of themselves and a whole new chapter of life that they're looking forward to exploring. So, the four pillars of retirement are health, finances, family and purpose.
A good mentor can be a catalyst for your career. My mentor taught me so many things. She gave me ideas on how to connect with senior leaders. How to network within the team. And I can still hear her telling me, you just have to go up to people and have a conversation on how you can actually help them in the next opportunity that the company has. The worst thing they're gonna say is no, but they will appreciate the initiative you're taking. Some of these things, I would've figured out by myself, but it would've taken me five years to do. Having a mentor actually helped me figure it out in that first one or two years.
My skills were sadly, very rusty at that point to get back into the swing of things. That was a re-adjustment that was required, it was not just about making time, but also changing the way I was thinking it at that point in time, that was, much harder. I think I would tell my younger self to be hopeful, to be ambitious, but not to feel very dejected when things don't go your way, because there's only so much that is under control. And perhaps that every stage in your life, it's important to know that or to realize that there are so many people who are in the exact same position and identify people who would always have your back and maybe cultivate those relationships, or at least invest, in those relationships. I would tell young women to be hopeful, to dream big, but also know that it's not going to be easy and you're not going to achieve all your goals, which is okay. So, just learn to enjoy the journey and hopefully, you will reach your destination.
I would love to hear from you about your stories and your journey. You can reach me on my blog, Twitter, Instagram, or Gmail @womencareerandlife. Remember, there are infinite possibilities to drive change in career and life, which will you choose to make a reality?
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