My passion to understand and live a productive life began a decade ago with a personal challenge that changed the course of my life.
This challenge which affected my productivity and happiness is also the one that led me to explore and navigate new uncharted paths and define productivity in the context of life.
Strangely enough, the challenge I faced was infertility. This biological productivity challenge affected my personal and professional productivity. However, I emerged from this phase extremely productive, giving birth to my first child as well as my first book, Roomies/Foodies.
Since then I have been on an exciting journey of ups and downs, of self-discovery, fueled by a passion to share my learnings and enable people to achieve clarity and contentment and live a productive life.
Enabling People to Lead a Productive Life
I was born in Kerala, a beautiful green state in the southern tip of India. I did part of my schooling in India and in Abudhabi, UAE.
As a young 15 year old, I was curious and fascinated by the workings of life. This fascination led me to pursue a career in science. At the age of 26, I graduated with a Deans Award and PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, SUNY Buffalo, NY.
I then found a job in drug discovery, to fulfill my ambition of becoming a drug discovery researcher.
However, the challenge with infertility had me choose life over career. I left my dream job in the pursuit of motherhood.
Though a challenging time, it was also a time when I had my tryst with spirituality and set myself on the path of self-discovery. I recognized a passion in me that I thought never existed- writing!
I started writing Roomies/Foodies, a memoir-cook book for students going abroad, with Meghana Joshi, my gradschool friend and room-mate. Roomies/Foodies later went on to becoming an award-winning, best seller. Meanwhile, my husband (Capt. Ashwin Nair) and I were blessed with our first child, Madhav.
I got back to a career in science after my long career break, albeit in a non-research track, science communication after much persistence.
Meanwhile our second son, Shiv was born. As a working mother back to work after a career break, I came face to face with the many challenges women face.
This motivated me to actively advocate for and promote people in science fields, especially women in science.
I have spoken on many local and international forums and was the co-Lead organiser of the Gender Summit 2019 in Singapore.
I do most of my science advocacy work through the non-profit STEM Advocacy Institute (SAI), Boston.
Here I work through the 'Stories in Science' Initiative and have co-authored a paper on 'Human Narratives in Science'. This initiative emphasizes the need to share stories of people in science.
I have also obtained the Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers and a coaching certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF).
During my struggle to achieve motherhood, I realized the existence of a power much beyond our comprehension and limited scientific knowledge. That realization gave me solace, stability and positivity during those times.
I personally experienced the power of visualization during this time. I had a picture of Mother Yashoda and baby Krishna in my room. I would look at it every single day and picture myself and my unborn baby in it. Once, I had a vision of myself cuddling baby Krishna. That dream was soon to become a reality when we were blessed with our first baby boy, Madhav.
The vision I had beautifully manifested into the picture with Madhav as baby Krishna and myself as mother Yashoda (left). To the right is myself with my second child Shiv (taken with a mother's instinct to be fair to all her children :))
These experiences have moulded me as an individual continuing to explore life with a scientific mind and a spiritual lens.
PC: Anoop Upasana
PhD Cell & Molecular Biology, SUNY Buffalo USA
15 years in science (drug discovery, science communication, research programme management)
ICF Certified Leadership Coach
Challenges to Meaningful Changes
Intuitive Decision Making
Carving a Career in Science
Co-Lead Gender Summit 2019, Singapore
Senior Programme Specialist, Stories in Science, Stem Advocacy Institute