Q: Can you tell us about your background, including your hometown, upbringing, and how you came to Massachusetts, as well as your family?
I was born in Delhi, where I completed my schooling. Subsequently, I pursued my medical education in Kolkata before heading to England for medical training right after college. The decision to move to the USA was inspired by my husband, Dipak. I received my training at Partners in Medicine and worked there, before transitioning to Lahey where I worked for 14 years. Currently, I am employed at Harvard Vanguard/Atrius Health, which has provided me with the opportunity to be actively involved in the DEI steering committee, a role that is close to my heart. Boston has been our home for over 25 years, and my husband, Dipak, also works as a physician. Our daughter, Shaleen, is our only child.
Q: Can you tell us about your work outside of medicine and how you became a Founder of initiatives like “Chai with Manju”, the New England Choice Awards, and “Women Who Win”?
I have two passions: storytelling and empowering women, which have been the focal points of my work outside of my medical practice. I served as the Chair of the Advisory Board of Saheli and sat on the board of ATASK, working to empower domestic violence victims. I also co-chaired numerous fundraisers for Saheli.
During my tenure as the President of the Indian Medical Association of New England, the Indian Women Physicians Forum became a significant platform for women physicians to learn from one another. I look to empower my healthcare professionals in my work as well, and highlight how physicians are contributing to the community, such as through co-producing the New England Health Expo for many years, and in launching my first series, “Movers & Shakers in Medicine”.
My love for storytelling and highlighting those who make a difference led me to create “Chai with Manju,” a celebrity interview series with INE (INDIA New England News). Through this, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing remarkable role models, including Sudha Murthy, Indra Nooyi, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“Women Who Win”, a global media platform, is my most recent venture, launched with my daughter, Shaleen, and a close friend, Dr. Deepa Jhaveri. We’ve shared over 500 original stories of women from all walks of life worldwide, and the platform has been highly successful in creating impact, garnering several awards and grants, including from LinkedIn. We’ve also undertaken successful mentorship and philanthropic projects.
My involvement with award shows has an interesting backstory. After winning INDIA New England’s Woman of the Year in 2011, I was asked to direct the event by Upendra Mishra, the event’s producer. It has been a great experience to introduce the Lifetime Achievement Award at Woman of the Year and to be able to incorporate new things to make it a more inspirational show every year. During this time, I realized the importance of creating a show that showcased the success of all Indian Americans and those who enrich our lives, leading to the creation of INE Multimedia and the New England Choice Awards (NECA). This has been my source of pride and joy, with a dedicated team that has been together since 2016. We’ve established an elegant and prestigious property that has honored extraordinary individuals and organizations, including TiE Boston for their impactful work.
Q: What advice would you give to women who aspire to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be not to overthink things and avoid falling victim to analysis paralysis. Follow your heart, as I’ve always allowed my heart to be my compass.
Q: Who is your role model and/or leadership mentor?
I don’t believe I have had just one role model or mentor. I am a dedicated student of life, learning something from every person who has touched my life. My maternal grandmother, Nani, has been a significant source of inspiration for me. She was a Sindhi migrant who lost everything during the partition of India but never gave up, ultimately creating a better life for our family. Additionally, my incredible parents taught me the values of hard work, doing the right thing, and leaving the rest to God.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing women entrepreneurs and professionals today, and how do you overcome adversity?
In my experience, the most significant challenge women face in entrepreneurship and the professional world has been unconscious bias in various forms. While this is gradually improving as people become more aware of our culture and backgrounds, it remains an obstacle at times.
When I entered the media world, social media was new and there was some unfortunate trolling on Facebook primarily because I was a woman physician entering the media industry, which was relatively new in our community at the time. However, I’ve always chosen not to engage in negativity and have taken the high road. I’m extremely hardworking and focused on the task at hand. I firmly believe that success has the loudest and clearest voice, so I focus on my work and let it speak for itself. In that sense, I consider myself a “goal digger.”
Q: How did you discover TiE Boston, and what prompted you to become a member?
I’ve had a long-standing collaboration with TiE Boston and have interviewed many of its presidents and members. These stories have been highly successful and impactful. When my non-profit initiative, “Women Who Win” (WWW), was launched, I became a charter member of TiE Boston to learn from the best entrepreneurs and to showcase their work on our platforms. This way, others can learn and grow as well.
Q: What is your next project?
Challenging myself and engaging in new endeavors excites me. My most interesting upcoming project is a book by “Women Who Win.” We’ve curated the best and most inspiring stories from the 500 narratives we’ve collected for this book. My daughter, Shaleen has taken the lead and done amazing work with the book, as has Dr. Jhaveri. The book features extraordinary stories and a beautiful foreword from Shabana Azmi, a woman whom I greatly admire. We are eagerly anticipating its release.
Q: Tell us more about the 2023 New England Choice Awards.
NECA 2023 marks a true comeback after the challenges posed by COVID. I’m thrilled that Mayor Michelle Wu will be joining us as the Chief Guest. We have outstanding winners, including Raj Sharma and Ash Ashutosh, who are role models in the community. We’ve been working on the show for six months, and it promises to be a highly inspiring event.
Q: What’s most interesting about TiE Boston and how can you contribute?
TiE Boston brings together the best entrepreneurs on one platform. My strength lies in community outreach, particularly with women. I aim to encourage more women to join TiE Boston and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.