Chief Change Officer, She Creates Change
Suparna is a successful entrepreneur devoted to creating personal and global transformation through empowering women to make their dreams a reality. She is a true visionary and teacher, inspiring a movement of change and infinite possibilities. As the Founder and CEO of She Creates Change, Suparna has dedicated herself to transforming women’s lives through her READ MORE »
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: My professional journey began at a regional bank in Baltimore where I was given the opportunity to explore what I am good at and what I loved inside of a very traditional firm. What I discovered is that I love to help people—just not around how to manage their money better. This insight led me to Columbia University where I received an M.A. in Organizational Psychology. Today I run a women’s empowerment company dedicated to helping women discover who they are and what they are meant to do!
Q: How can someone who is not in a traditional position of leadership, still inspire a shared vision in her workplace or community?
A: One of my strongest personal values and philosophies is to “be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe the strongest way to affect change anywhere is to lead by example and inspire others to become better through modeling what this looks like.
Q: When I stepped down as President of a company after 9 years in that position, it was quite emotional. If you have ever sold, folded or needed to leave an organization you helped (or did) start, what was that experience like for you?
A: I too had to step out of a business I helped run for 4 years in 2008. It came to a point where some people were getting involved who I believe had less than ethical values and the soul of the business was being compromised. The minute I understood what direction this business was going in, I walked away without knowing if I would ever have a chance to serve again, as the business was truly helping people. One year later I launched my own business and within the first month I was generating revenues at the same level that I left my last business. I believe that the form ultimately doesn’t matter as much as the consciousness and intention of the leader.
Q: I believe obstacles create opportunities. What was the hardest career transition in your life and how did you grow from it?
A: I fully agree with this statement. Probably the hardest career transition, or at least the one I believe most people can relate to, is the one where I lost my last “job” as an employee with a steady paycheck. In September of 2001, about a week before 9/11, my department was downsized, and closed down altogether, and I was laid off. I remember this overwhelming sense of freedom and confusion around the fact that the world was completely my oyster and I could create anything I wanted from this place. I hated what I was doing and am happy to report that 12 years later, I have never gone back to work for anyone other than myself. I started the journey by asking people to congratulate me and one year later, I started my first business. Almost ten years later I have finally understood quite a bit about what it takes to start and grow your own business and I firmly believe I am on my way to realizing a level of success I have been working towards since that day.
ON Starting Out
Q: If you had a young sister or a daughter who was a senior in college, anxious about landing her first job or unsure of what she wanted to do, what would your advice be to her?
A: Don’t worry so much about what you want to do; first find out who you are and what you love! I believe one year taken out of life to get to know oneself and engage in spiritual practices including meditation and service projects could be the most meaningful thing any young person could do to set themselves on the right path.
Q: Life is full of setbacks. Can you share an experience of one, and how you were able to bounce back?
A: My first major professional setback (I don’t consider losing my job a setback) was when my first business failed. I was forced to move home and understand what comes next. I called someone I met and agreed to a freelance, contingent position that had me at 100% risk of making money in an executive search role where I only profited if I made a deal. I worked on this for five months without any results, which led to me putting my resume together to apply for a traditional job. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted but I felt desperate and scared about my options.
I went on the first interview and was offered the opportunity to be flown to NYC and meet with the partners. I had a strong sense I would get the job, so rather than saying yes, I called the HR manager and explained to him that this wasn’t me being true to myself and I needed to pass. That same month my first deal came through, $35,000 wired into my account in one transaction, several more deals hit and a month later I was introduced to my last business partner which led to the work I am doing now. Bouncing back only happens when you are true to yourself.
ON Giving Back
Q: Why is it important for every single person sharing this earth to give back in some capacity?
A: Service is one of my core values and practices. I truly believe we are all connected and in this thing called life together. If we want to make the world a better place and thrive as a species, it is critical that we take personal responsibility to ensure that we leave this place better than we found it.
ON Self Care
Q: In theory, one should prioritize their own health in order to be in the best state to take care of others (family, kids, work, etc.). But in reality, I’ve found that women often take care of themselves last. What are your thoughts on this?
A: My thoughts on this are actually what drives everything I do. The curriculum I have created begins first with Self-Care: “Take Care of Yourself First.” I firmly believe that if a woman has not filled her own cup, it will become increasingly difficult for her to joyfully take care of her other responsibilities. Being “selfish” is an interesting concept that I believe ends up in one of 2 extreme places – either narcissism or martyrdom. It is actually incredibly selfish to neglect one’s own self at the expense of other’s well-being because this is not an act of self-love. Unfortunately, I don’t believe women are taught that taking time out for themselves is even allowed. My work in the world and how I teach women to become a better version of themselves centers around their ability to invest time in their own well-being.