Having lived in Manhattan for nearly 20 years and traveled to more than 60 countries, Shruti Joshi is so good at recommendations I find myself wanting to remember a thousand things from each conversation we have. She's a mother, a serial entrepreneur and a passionate experience collector, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit more.
Well, I’ll start at the very beginning. I’m the daughter of entrepreneurs who decided, as part of their life journey, to pursue the next best career options, regardless of geography. So, I had the uncomfortable, yet retrospectively incredible, journey of living in various cities around the globe (e.g., Brussels, NYC, Basel) before my parents settled in a beach town in Southern California when I was 14. So, my love for exploration and need for new experiences was built into me very, very young. That was a huge lesson for me as I built my own career, and on this journey to Compell’d.
I built a career on taking risks, not shying away from challenges, and a reputation for helping companies grow. I was a corporate executive at Verizon, worked at a start-up that helped consumer packaged goods companies create new products, and built a marketing analytics practice as a partner at Altman Vilandrie & Company. Through all of these experiences, a feeling crept in that wouldn’t go away and as my career advanced: I felt like I wanted to apply all of the knowledge I had amassed to something I was truly passionate about. This is where Compell’d starts--the question I kept coming back to: What if we could help people experience more of the things that brought them joy?
That is so difficult. I would say that my favorite places always end up being the ones that are really unfamiliar, probably because they pull me out of my comfort zone. I feel like through those unfamiliar experiences, I end up changing the way I see things. One place that offered me this feeling that I really enjoyed was Russia. I found the culture, the people, the food, the rituals and rules of engagement so different. The history and the significant changes the country has gone through was fascinating as well; for example, seeing a big Rolex billboard outside the Red Square was really kind of something that would probably have a few people turning over in their graves.
"I would say that my favorite places always end up being the ones that are really unfamiliar, probably because they pull me out of my comfort zone."
One moment that comes to mind is driving through Costa Rica with my husband, Chris. We got lost along the way and ended up on some dirt road. Chris kept hoping it was all going to work out and that the navigation was right, but we ended up getting stuck (literally tires stuck) in a rural area with no phone service. Now that I think about it, my favorite parts of any trip are the parts where I get lost. It’s the unexpected. Those are the moments where I think “This is it! This is what it’s about--I’m alive!” Those moments are really what I seek. I don’t think you have to be in some exotic location to have these moments--you can even find them anywhere. But it’s about getting out of your own head and out of your routine.
NYC chose me, I don’t know that I chose it. It just had to be this way. It’s one of the verrrry few places in this entire world where I feel at home. I think what I love about NYC are the same reasons I love to travel, but in NYC, you walk out your door and adventure comes to you. The variety, diversity, hearing 15 languages just on your walk to the subway, the thousands of genres of food... which is such a part of experiencing a culture. New York offers all of that.
Probably that you get one shot at life so leave nothing behind. My parents were into “YOLO” long before #YOLO. They taught me that you don’t really get a second chance, and you don’t really know when it’s going to be over. I don’t really believe that there’s always a tomorrow - I work really hard to live my life that way. If you’re going to do something, you’ve gotta do it. You figure it out. Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s scrappy, sometimes it happens later than when that initial idea hits you. But you just have to figure it out. I don’t really think other people will figure it out for you, it’s putting yourself in a position to get it done.
Well I certainly don’t have all the answers, but if asked, I would say to be open to things that are not familiar. Whether it’s people that have a different perspective (politically, culturally, or otherwise) or doing new things, it’s making a deliberate choice to not get in the habit of your own group think. I love talking to people who have completely different careers, lives and live in a totally different way. It pushes my thinking, helps me see things more holistically and reminds me that there really isn’t one way. I think the exposure to a wide variety of people and views and perspectives actually help you gain confidence that you’re doing the right thing for yourself and increase empathy for those around you.
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