Prior to joining A Leader Like Me, Shalini Gupta had always been skeptical about programs that focused solely on specific genres. She always believed that integrity, hard work and competence would get a person to where they wanted to go in life.
It was not until she was selected for her international secondment to the UK and took a closer look around that she noticed that she does not often see female leaders like herself. That’s why she challenged the skeptic in her and sought out programs that promote and champion diverse women who are in leadership positions or want to see themselves in leadership positions.
In the summer of 2020, Shalini, took the leap of faith and joined A Leader Like Me as a founding member. She wasn’t just attracted to the uniqueness that caters to the development of diverse women, but the community element of the program that gives its members the opportunity to connect with like-minded women globally. She was also drawn to the program because it allowed her to get into a space of exploring her own challenges and learning to overcome them in a bold and confident way.
Before joining A Leader Like Me, Shalini knew she needed to work on two key areas: her personal brand and visibility; and continuing to build and grow her networks. One of the biggest takeaways while working on her personal brand was the realization that it’s not about perfection, but about progress which also helped her push past her comfort zone. She was keen to build her networks, but she felt there wasn’t any guidance. “When you think about building your network, you consider it an investment for your development and you will get out what you put in,” she reiterated. “Not only does networking give you the gravitas and the confidence to be out there but it also builds your reputation in the industry and gives you exposure,” She further explained.
She credits the strategies and techniques she learned from Advita and Priya for being selected as a committee member of Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR Inside) in their Internal Communications Group where she leads the Leadership content group for the membership body.
Shalini has and has since spoken at a number of international industry events, written blogs for leading organizations and has been recognized for her experience. “With personal brand and visibility, you are known for what your expertise is and because you put yourself out there, people are now noticing and approaching and inviting you to speak at various events and to write blogs for them,” she said. “It’s really encouraging that I am being approached because I had the courage to put myself out there.”
Most recently, she signed up as a mentor with the Taylor Bennett Foundation and is supporting new underrepresented grads entering the PR industry, “In many ways A Leader Like Me programme has been life changing for me and I highly rate the value of having a good mentor. Giving back to make a positive change for someone else seemed the most natural next step for me. The more generous we can all be with our knowledge, relationships, and support, the more successful our PR industry will be.”
Shalini encourages anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone to overcome their inner critic, take the leap of faith and invest in themselves.
Take the first step and sign up for the program. “A Leader Like Me is a program that’ll help, not just work on your professional development but also for your personal growth.” She backs this up with a fitting quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
A Leader Like Me is an empowering community for women of color who want the courage and confidence to progress in their careers.