In my last article, I discussed how language affects how you think and can be leveraged to understand cognitive diversity to find innovative solutions and discoveries in business. Now, I am here to discuss language again, but in a different way. Language is a prized possession in the cultural treasure box. Every culture has its own slang, analogies and sayings which are unique and don’t always translate into other languages. In French, a saying meaning I have fainted is “tomber dans les pommes.” literally meaning “falling in the apples”. Additionally, several Asian languages don’t have a direct translation for Diversity…


From the film Coach Carter

What differentiates athletes from winning or losing? Mentality. Your mindset has everything to do with your success. The coaching profession originated in sports. Think of Coach Carter motivating his basketball team to make that winning shot. It is reasonable that what you say, outloud and inside has an impact on what you think and your behavior. If I say something negative outloud to myself, I will probably believe it to be true.

Lera Borositsky’s TED talk on how language shapes your thinking is reflective of many issues companies and leadership face in today’s world. As she signed off Borositsky said…


The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Cinderella had her shoe returned to her by a prince. Snow White was kissed by a prince and awoken from her slumber. Sleeping Beauty repeated this story line. In a traditional fairytale, the princess is saved by a prince. She is a damsel in distress unable to save herself. Women are told over and over again that men are in control of women’s situations and circumstances. Finances are no different. We haven’t moved past the fairytale version of life that many of us grew up on.

I graduated with an MBA, and an undergraduate degree in business and finance. But…


Valentine’s Day, and indeed, the month of February celebrate love. Love can make or break worlds, cause wars, and bring beauty to life in a way nothing else can, all at the same time. We liken love to the heart, because we “feel” love, that particular warm, fuzzy feeling in our chests. We also “feel” the loss of love, that particular excruciating pain, like a knife slashing, again, through our chests. Both experiences are, literally speaking, close to our hearts.

These are not just perceptions — love and the loss of it do impact our bodies and minds. Research has…


Life today is unimaginable without stress. From the moment we are up in the morning, till we hit the sack, there are innumerable things that cross our paths. They trigger a plethora of reactions and emotions, which, furthermore, are connected to our memories, perceptions, or our personality.

Simply put, stress is a biological reaction to a change in one’s environment. Therefore, the more complex our world gets, the more our environment changes, stimulating us to react. Now imagine going through that every day, sometimes expectedly, sometimes not — no wonder, we feel stressed out.

Stress has thus become a bad…


Credit: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

As images of the violence at Capitol Hill still flash in front of our eyes, we must not forget that in less than a week, most of our dark days will be behind us. Through the ballot, America has spoken. After being divisive and closed for so long, America has chosen to unite, open up and embrace what’s been its greatest strength all along — diversity.

As President-elect Joe Biden swears in next week, twelve Indian Americans will join his cabinet. This is an unprecedented number, and a long way from the days when, as I discovered as an immigrant child on the playgrounds of America, ‘Indians’ was easily confused with native Americans.

The America I grew up in made fun of my accent and could never say my name, but over the last four decades, as India grew in the global arena too, I saw America truly include Indian Americans, harness their untapped potential, and empower people like my father to pursue their version of…


Have you watched the show Silicon Valley? If not, let me paint you a picture of working at Hooli, a fictional (based on a real) tech giant’s office. There are pods where employees can sleep during their all-nighters. There are big whiteboards for them to scribble code onto. But, there is also antagonising behaviour rife within the workplace. A line of missing code sparks ridicule, teasing and name calling. It is a workplace where people get fired for speaking their minds and pointing out mistakes higher ups make. …


Allyship is ownership. To own our beliefs with courage, conviction and congruency.

As I wait for the results of the US election, I can’t help but reflect on a recent panel discussion, where I spoke about the importance of allyship in these polarized times. Whichever way this election turns, our quest for conscious allyship isn’t over. Today, as the whole world watches the leader of the free world turn democracy into a reality TV show, I am more convinced than ever that self-awareness is THE META skill for leadership in these polarized times.

It’s a feeling


“As we “knowledge workers” know, clever people aren’t always the most collaborative. And what they have in brainpower, they often lack in empathy. We live, after all, in a cognitive meritocracy in which IQ is valued much more highly than EQ (emotional intelligence) or most physical abilities. Those who want to succeed are incentivised to use their head — neither hearts nor hands get quite as much exercise.”

Rana Foroohar wrote this in her article ‘Why meritocracy isn’t working’ for the FT. In our merit based world, we want to see those who ‘succeed’ as winners, and those who don’t…


Photo: Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Husband, Martin Ginsburg. Collection of The Supreme Court Of The United States

‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth, in simplest form centres around a young woman whose mother is trying to arrange a marriage between her daughter and one of three suitors. The position of women, is one theme explored in the novel, but how this related to the institution of marriage is one that still resonates true, 27 years after publication.

We’ve all heard that behind every great man stands an even greater woman, so then, wouldn’t the opposite also be true? ʻAbdu’l-Baha wrote, “The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as…

Gulnar Vaswani

A talent management strategist, board advisor and executive coach to CEO’s, specialised in Diversity and Inclusion

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