The Short Cut:
A quick fire chat about working life with Sonal Shah
At the heart of the Nurture Network is the power of sharing experiences. From breakthrough career moments, to best ever advice, how to deal with stress and the women that inspire them.
The Short Cut designed to bring you a snapshot of our members’ working lives. Today we’re speaking to Sonal Shah, founder at SheChoseTech
Tell us about your breakthrough career moment
I had been working for some years and worked my way up to manager level in a former career and knew that I wanted a change in career as had discovered tech – so took a year out to study an MSc in Computing & IT as I knew nothing and wanted to be a part of this dynamic and progressive area, so full of variety and opportunity – and never looked back since!
This brought me into a whole new career to the present day as Vice President in financial services, a multiple award winner and helping many. This is through my Coaching and Speaking business by sharing experience and supporting females to fulfil their career potential while sharing the message about increasing the number of females in the technology industry.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
“Believe in yourself and help others on the way.”
My late father used to say forgive and forget. I also have been told ‘Never stop learning and growing as a person’
Have you ever felt held back as a women?
I worked for many years in male dominated industries such as telecoms, tech and banking so definitely experienced my share of not being heard or potentially held back from some opportunities!
As I became more senior, I realised the importance of communicating assertively, standing your ground and articulating your points and of course navigating the political landscape and although was always aware of the unspoken rules I learned how to deal with it better whether in corporate or in business and now help others through my coaching and speaking business (SheChoseTech).
Also, with all the activity on diversity and inclusion there are more male allies so this helps a little for us women and lastly, I would add women should help each other more too as we could be a lot further together whether business or in corporate life.
How do you protect your mental health in moments of pressure?
Breathe! Take a walk or do a different activity to get your mind off the problems maybe even speak to a friend to offload. My go to will be doing a good evening boxing class at the gym!
Do you have any hobbies to keep you busy in your spare time?
Regular gym exercise and diet are important to me. I like to cook healthy and enjoy socialising I love my networks, writing am writing my book and enjoy creativity.
Also public speaking to inspire and coaching which is part of my business outside the day job. Also mentor people and do much community work to give back such as a run for Maggie’s at Barts Cancer charity, walking to the top of The Leadenhall Building and mentoring under represented school children.
I feel empowered when…
…when I have helped someone move forward with their goals or inspire them such as when speaking on stage, on a global careers panel or even on a podcast because if it helps just a few people this is great.
I once did an Instagram live interview about inspiring girls into tech and a father and daughter had watched. Afterwards, the father messaged me to say he encouraged his reluctant daughter to watch the live and she was glad afterwards as had enjoyed it so much so this kind of feedback is empowering.
The world would be a better place when…
…when workplaces really embed diversity, equity and inclusion to reflect all and equality in pay is the norm for females to males and finally when sustainable living is everyday practice before we harm more nature and habitat.
The woman everyone should know about is…
…there are so many inspiring, important women everyone should know about from Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ella Fitzgerald to Gwendolyn Brooks but to know about the women in your community and the work they do is as valuable and empowering.
The woman who empowers me the most is…
…so many to name! Michelle Obama such a humble lady with much to offer, Jacinda Aderne, the unsung women in war from Bletchley Park code breakers, Ada Lovelace and Oprah Winfrey.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Love to be speaking on stage to help, coach and inspire!
For holidays, I enjoyed the Rocky mountains in Canada, Mexico, Dubai and anywhere walking near the sea when away, or generally just with great company or to be at home relaxing.
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This Short Cut Interview was brought to you in collaboration with Start Up Loans and its campaign,’Take the leap, Start-up, Innovate and Thrive.’ For more information about the support available from Start Up Loans, contact us here.