Turn adversity into power

Published: 29 July 2023

#CuriousMoments with Advita

As it’s South Asian Heritage Month and this year’s theme is stories to tell, I thought I’d share mine in the hope it inspires someone.

Over the years, I’ve been relatively open about my experience as a South Asian woman growing up in the UK and working in an industry that’s unconventional for people like me. In my early years, I wouldn’t say I was proud of my heritage. I knew from an early age that the colour of my skin was a friendship deterrent. Kids refused to play with me until I had a ‘wash’ and became white like them, and I was frequently told to go back ‘home.’ We had a panic alarm fitted in our home by the police because we were racially abused daily, from our home being set alight to our cars being targeted. It was a tough time.

But as weird as it sounds, without that experience, I wouldn’t be who I am today. That experience taught me how to stand up for myself and others who were mistreated. It built determination, resilience and lit a fire in my belly to keep reaching for audacious goals.

I never intended to work in communications. I was obsessed with technology and studied information technology at university. I learnt how to code before coding was fashionable. But in the early 2000s, there was no investment in women coders and thanks to the dot.com crash, and no one was hiring.

I began work as an admissions officer at Man Met University. It was here I discovered my love for marketing and communications.

Every person like me in my life at that time either ran their own grocery business or worked as an accountant/engineer/doctor. Communications and PR were something I wasn’t even aware existed until I started my masters in strategic marketing.

After finishing my masters, I moved my way up the corporate ladder. After hitting the concrete ceiling too many times, I decided to take control of my destiny and start my own business. But I’d spent so many years adjusting my personality so I could fit into the culture I forgot who I was.

It took a couple of years to re-discover my cultural identity and determine my loves and dislikes. I spent time finding my authentic voice, and I stopped seeking external validation and permission. It was exhilarating. I became a confidence and influence coach, and I launched CommsRebel in January 2020.

In the last three years, I’ve achieved some phenomenal things, including writing a book and speaking internationally. I’m fiercely proud of my South Asian heritage, and I’ll always advocate for people like me who have faced challenges and adversity.

The moral of this story is never waiting for external validation, turn adversity into power and always believe in your worth – you’ll never know where it’ll take you.


Originally posted on LinkedIn, Follow me for more curious moments.

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