Parul Yadav is an entrepreneur, PR specialist, communications strategist. No matter how much I tell about her, it’ll still be less. As much as she’s an expert in what she does, she’s also someone who loves discovering new places and meeting new people.
She believes that her passion for creative things originates from her diverse background in government, literature, and public relations. And to know more about Parul Yadav, Mad4India interviewed her. Continue reading to know about this exceptionally talented and inspiring Parul Yadav.
Q: If someone asks, Who’s Parul Yadav, what would you say?
I am a recent Gargi College, University of Delhi graduate. Having studied both English Literature and Philosophy; I have been constantly working towards bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to building sustainable international development. Throughout my undergraduate of 3 years – I worked with the public, private and non-profit sectors to tackle a variety of social issues focusing specifically on digital literacy and women empowerment.
I am currently the Director of an online networking community model called Asian Alliance India. It’s one of a kind project launched in India and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. The project aims to start a community where online networking can turn into various prospects for career enhancement. Asian Alliance India highly values the potential of the Public Relations and Communications industry. It offers real-world examples of how we can generate a list of skills they believe employers look for.
We offer volunteer and ambassador leadership positions for college and university students across Asia-Pacific. Students lead chapters and significantly influence the level of involvement in various parts of our targeted regions.
They established these chapters as training platforms for students to get real-world campaigning and client exposure. A LinkedIn community is accessible for networking, finding opportunities, and increasing your industry knowledge.
I have been recently nominated for the Michael Brown Agent award, which would also act as a catalyst for helping me reach out to more youth across the globe and break down more barriers while fighting for equality and diversity. The more equal and inclusive the world becomes, the more others will understand the value of diversity. I would like everyone to have the same opportunities in the world as everyone deserves the chance to pursue whatever they choose or enjoy without having to face societal barriers.
Q: How do you like to spend your time?
I enjoy a wide variety of hobbies. I usually never stop learning and have always been eager to know about the latest current affairs. But I also want to learn about other subjects, and expand my skill set – it’s what makes me think in new and innovative ways.
Socialization is vital for my mental and emotional health. Socialization is also a gateway to network and meet new people who can help you succeed in countless ways.
Q: Coming to your work as a changemaker, what type of social issues do you address? Why do you think they are important?
I believe that there has been a surge over the last decade of businesses starting in India, but men start most, if not all. It’s not that women don’t have entrepreneurial ambition. It is more difficult for women to succeed because of unconscious biases, low confidence, and lack of business skills, limited access to financial classes, and no parental support. And even as women have become a part of the business world a bit more, we still expect them to balance the housework and their business work.
As a changemaker, I want to set a trajectory for Indian women who often fall prey to developmental and societal barriers created by patriarchal mindsets and society while achieving their dreams. For instance, household and child-rearing duties are naturally a lot for women, even if they work a full-time job. I always believe the future is female and India can accomplish greater heights when young girls will empower and guide others.
Hence, during my undergraduate student journey and constantly going through gender bias, I founded We Believe India, an initiative working towards creating a mentorship program that strengthens the confidence of women, provides them with opportunities and connects them to a sustainable network.
We train members on sustainable partnership building, community strengthening, curriculum implementation, trauma-informed responses, and classroom best practices. Besides being classroom facilitators, We Believe members receive professional coaching, leadership training, internship, and scholarship opportunities.
Q: Since how long are you involved in this work? What motivated you to do this?
People who’ve dedicated their lives to change-making often have a story about the moment they actually took a leap of faith and started walking their talk. I found my first few pathways towards influencing change while I was facing the cruel effects of the stigma of Indian culture and stereotyping within society. This stigma created injustices, dynamics, and double standards that harmed and subordinated women in all areas. I always believe India has one of the fastest-growing youth populations in the world.
However, as a young girl grows up, they will eventually be presented with a set of rules defining appropriate feminine behavior and gender norms. Starting a dialogue with our deepest fears and the people we love takes courage and the ability to commit. It’s something I went through personally and want to break that taboo.
From an early age, I started becoming active around social campaigns for women’s rights and thought of ways to cultivate entrepreneurial behavior among young girls in my area.
Q: What are some challenges that tag along with the work you do?
Career roles have been a major source of inequality for me. I have often been personally held back because of the perception of not fitting in the managerial roles. I have often heard people comment – “You are not tough enough for corporate life, are too young or emotional, and simply could not play the game.”
Initially, I had to overcome my self-doubts. I had doubts like – If I was good enough, if I knew enough, if people would listen to me, or if things would grow.
The ability to balance my studies and say NO to certain people who wanted me to do stuff for them when I couldn’t really do them was something I struggled with. So, I always felt drained, doing so many things at the same time and feeling dissatisfied with myself and my own plans, too. Also, it may not be fair that people make judgments so quickly, usually within a few seconds of observation, but it’s unrealistic to expect that they won’t.
Hence, I faced a backlash from certain people and my own relatives as well. At the very end, take in all the feedback; filter out the noise and the naysayers; learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again. But whatever you do, do not give up. The race of subjugating the weaker and underestimating women is no longer in some other person’s hands. You are your own inspiration.
Q: What role do you think the teenagers who are the future of the country can take?
Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow – they’re changing the world around them right now. Whether it’s through social media or ‘hashtag’ activism, writing online or in their paper about a cause, or taking part in a protest, there are many ways that young people can ‘be the change’ and make a difference to the world. I believe that every generation has a unique quality that makes it amazing for its time.
Generation Z, however, never cannot leave me utterly astounded. Teenagers coming from this specific era are open to a wider view of the world and more connected to people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. There is a deep concern for the state of the world and a desire to take part in bringing it to a task. Every one of us needs to leverage our voice and rise together.
Q: You have a literature background, so which poet or author made you fall in love with literature?
I came to realize that English Literature was an extremely broad field to study. It covered everything from analyzing historical and contemporary trends to creative writing, poetry, and the philosophical implications of the world. I’ve never singularly loved Literature as I’ve always loved a breadth of disciplines from science to art and history.
The specific love of Literature however began when I also had a strong affinity to the tragedy at an early age and strongly affiliated myself with mythological works. I often felt the despair of the characters keenly and in their triumphs, I shared their elation.
Perhaps my first genuine connection with English classic texts was with Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which I read in Class 10th. This exposed me to the great inequalities of Roman society and I questioned the realities of my country. When I dived deeper, I could also learn about the culture in which William Shakespeare lived; the history surrounding the country of his origin, and the various intellectual, political, and artistic movements of the Victorian time.
The theory taught within the literature, in combination with critical analysis, gives you the power of perspective that is so essential to finding contentment and voice within the world. Think, criticize, doubt, wonder, and stand amazed by the words on the page. The English major showed me how to do that, and not only has it increased my skills, it has made me a more compassionate and bold person.
Q: As you’re an International Speaker, how do you ensure your speeches are eloquent, informative, and captivating?
Great public speakers are not born. They advance throughout life. They are not perfect. For me, the art of public speaking goes beyond reading from cue cards. Fortunately, if you have passion, an excellent speech can automatically be conversational. We cannot fake emotions!
It engages the audience in learning the “why” and “how” behind a concept. This helps to eliminate the element of boredom. It ensures that the audiences are not on phones or laptops distracted from the speech. You can get them to put the phones down by creating an engaging atmosphere. I achieve this by painting a picture through storytelling or conducting some ice-breaking activities.
Secondly, incorporating visuals in my presentation, such as pictures, charts, graphs, infographics, helps engage my audience as well as reinforce the points. As per statistics, 65% of the population are visual learners. Hence by including visual content, I am increasing the percentage of people who will walk away from my speech and remember it well.
Last, I try to be confident and be impactful as much as possible to my audience. I try not to overthink and get myself to think positively!
Q: What’s your take on life?
Action creates a new future for me. I feel that urgency inside of me to continue to push forward on the things I am building to make them real. It is hard. It is a long road, but it is better to live in that future.
As often said, “you can’t find your passion thinking about it in your head.” I never had one specific source of inspiration but learned from multiple legacies of powerful and empowering women. The stories had a great impact on my mindset! I also love speaking to people across different age groups, professions and highly value the importance of networking and mentorship. My motivational sources have also been an endless number of people with whom I have shared my mind space and exchanged ideas with.
I also believe that if you try new ideas, explore new avenues and try pushing the envelope, failures may happen. The key is to not get bogged down by those. It also made me believe in the strength of the human spirit. I believe the tough times can also bring out the best in us and help us emerge stronger than ever.
Q: Who has been your biggest support in everything you do?
“Family is the best support system, it can take you to places”
My efforts and work are less than 20% but the peace of mind and motivation offered by the support system leaped. Both of my parents have always been my biggest supporters, despite all the mistakes I’ve made. They have pushed me to do what I love and I have to thank them for where I am today.
I would say that no single course is innately more valuable than all others. An art major can be more successful than a business major. The value that you get out of your studies and what happens after you graduate depends entirely on you.
Today, I am confident and passionate about what I do and wish to pursue in life and I hope every woman reading this finds the strength to believe in their decisions! Also, my mentors have always pushed me and made me be nothing less than extraordinary. I would like to thank them for teaching me that I can do great things, despite nerves or lack of courage!
Q: Which problems of the society do you think are yet to be addressed or need extra attention?
In most of the developing countries, particularly women, the issues concerning us the most right now are global gender equality, climate change, and world peace being shaken, and poverty at its peak. It is not simply the lack of access to education and financial resources that hinders development within communities. It has more to do with the mindset.
We need to ask hard questions to ourselves. Yet we are squashing questioning and creativity in our educational system and our political system. Even small actions, when taken together, can make a big impact.
Q: If we ask you about your success story, what would you say?
For me, living a full life means being open to experience and persuasion, experimenting endlessly with new arguments and knowledge, risking ridicule by testing new ideas. During my years at university, I volunteered at the women’s empowerment cells and became a part of women-led organizations trying to affect their special endeavors. I also interacted with women from nearby villages in Gurugram and Delhi.
Eventually, I grew passionate about women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship to bring opportunities for young women. Society loves the idea to glorify the idea of being an entrepreneur. There are pros and cons to it, just like every other experience and I found that’s the key — realizing that it is an experience, whether you succeed or not.
Q: What is a piece of advice for the future generations of our country?
As young students, we’re told that we need to work hard to get where we want to be. This is true but also remind yourself that work doesn’t define you, don’t neglect the rest of your personality, the part that your friends and family love you for. It wasn’t too long ago that I realized this aspect of my life was taking over, and yes, I can’t fix it by clicking my fingers, but the first step is realization. Education and skills can help you live like a pro if you use both.
It’s absolutely alright if you haven’t figured out life yet. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or what my passions were, so I started early and tested out different things. Remind yourself that no one actually has it all together. People who are business owners or working in fancy cool jobs are not perfect. Social media makes it look like people are doing everything, but it’s not true. It can distract and put pressure on you that you aren’t doing enough. Don’t let it get you down.
There’s no timeline to find your Ikigai.
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