As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Preity Üpala.
Ms. Preity Üpala, is a former Investment banker turned Media personality and Hollywood entrepreneur. The former Miss India International has worked across 4 continents, in both Hollywood and Bollywood. She is the CEO of The Omnia Institute. Global Peace dominates the forefront of her life purpose and drives her to connect people together through a series of spiritual endeavors and media productions. Her popular show can be found on YouTube and is called “The Preity Experience”. She has been to almost 100 countries and is currently developing a spiritually focused international travel series. Her book is set to be published later in 2024.
Preity is a much sought after International public speaker who has participated and spoken at various international platforms including the WEF, Women’s Economic Forum. Her expertise includes Geo-politics, international relations, Diplomacy, Conflict-resolution, Globalization, Soft Power, and Religion. She has been quoted as a Geo-political expert in several publications. You can find her regularly on TV and radio shows globally being featured as an astute political commentator.
Here’s what we found out about Preity’s everyday routine, followed by an exclusive Q+A.
What inspired you to start your own business, and what is the mission or idea behind it?
Creating something beautiful and sharing it with the world has always been my idea of offering my gift to the world. I find more joy in working for myself and be truly creative. So, it wasn’t hard for me to make that switch from the corporate world that I did not find very fulfilling. Communication is my real skill set and I found a way where I’m communicating with the world at large with all my various multi-media projects. My mission is to inspire and empower the world at large through my work and words. I am involved in a few different projects but there is an ethos and core foundational quality to them all.
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Can you share some of the unique challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the business world, and how have you overcome them?
I have only ever worked in male dominated industries and that too much more senior in age. It can be very easy to get judged immediately. You must make yourself heard and seen. In the Think tank/ International affairs world, I’m usually on TV or on stage with 3 other men twice my age. I was always able to hold my own as I was always prepared and very professional. I was confident but at the same time listened to what else was being said. Very quickly I could see the agreement and acknowledgement coming from my team. I do believe that men are willing to yield space to brilliant and serious women. You just need to show them that you are one.
How do you maintain a work-life balance while running your own business, and do you have any tips for other women entrepreneurs?
Travel as much as possible- short trips or long exotic holidays. Immerse yourself in another environment. Even a weekend or day getaway will recharge you. I make sure I try to get a change of scenery when I can. Solo trips are great for female entrepreneurs as well- they can spend some much-needed time with inner selves to find the balance within. I have been lucky to experience spiritual retreats, and these have really been helpful.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey?
“Be yourself cause everyone else is taken” is the best advice I can give to anyone. The marketplace rewards authenticity and sadly there is very little of that these days. Everyone wants to be something or someone else. Your individual self is your USP, and you will stand out when you are being yourself. Especially if you are working on a product or service and want to differentiate yourself, you as a creator is a part of that offering package as well. It matters that you are sincere and have integrity.
How do you approach networking and building professional relationships to support your business growth?
It’s not who you know but how you know them and how well you. Networking can never be overestimated. Personal relationships will always open doors to great opportunities. Say yes more. Do the unconventional. Take advantage of all the social networking opportunities available to us today.
Can you discuss the role of mentorship and how it has impacted your entrepreneurial journey?
I have been blessed to have had some mentors early in my career and life. But the interesting thing is that they don’t have to come from the same industry. They can be from various walks of life and guide you just the same. You have to seek our mentorship and guidance as it won’t just come to you. It’s a lonely road on this path and even at the very top it’s lonely. Guidance and advice along the way is much needed and very helpful. I found spiritual mentors who helped me more as I transformed as a person which in turn helped me be a better business leader.
What strategies have you used to secure funding and investment for your business, and have you encountered any gender-specific challenges in this area?
You must think out of the box for funding and investment opportunities. Don’t be afraid to approach people and firms you never thought to for your business opportunity. People are most invested in global social solutions these days. Raising the funds required is hard for men as much as it is for women, but you have to be resilient and keep moving towards your goal. Online fundraising campaigns have had a good success rate and there are other ways to raise funds. Just don’t give up and keep having conversations with people who have succeeded to give you that inspiration.
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How do you see the future of women in entrepreneurship and the potential for further empowerment and inclusion in the business world?
We are in exciting times, post pandemic and while there is much volatility in the world. This is a time when there will be new innovations and a lot of creative solutions. The marketplace is more open and inclusive now more than ever before. It’s great to see female entrepreneurs across the globe. I only see the number of women in these spaces increase and we have structures that are there to support our endeavors.
Can you share a pivotal moment or lesson learned from your entrepreneurial experience that has shaped your business and leadership style?
These are unpredictable times, and the world is constantly evolving. The only constant is change. One quality that has served me well has been to be more dynamic and fluid. Being open to change and refinement of my brand and self. You must be more adaptive and flexible and try things differently.
In what ways do you give back to your community or support other women in entrepreneurship, and why is this important to you?
Sharing and inspiring is everything. Women have this unique quality where they can share by nature. I do a lot of podcast and tv/radio interviews where I share my journey. It’s always incredible when women will come up to me and tell me that something I said really sparked a light-bulb moment in them. I have the privilege of speaking around the world and its astonishing how similar women around the world are. They are all the same; the desire to be recognized, acknowledged, valued and to make a difference. It’s important to me as I had been inspired myself though others on my journey and my way of passing it on is to also share that part of myself with others.