Pushing the Boundaries with Shivani Chokshi
In this episode our host Sheena Carey talks to Shivani Chokshi, CEO of Impactionable. Shivani Chokshi is a social entrepreneur who leads a social enterprise, Impactionable, which helps people find jobs and funding opportunities in the social impact space.
01:40 – I came from a very conservative Hindu sort of household where we’re taught to live life according to a series of checklists. But my checklist looked very different from the very beginning.
06:25 – Essentially, there’s two sides of being Indian American. - It helped me to see the third space that I wanted to create for myself. Maybe I can take some from this culture, and some from this culture and make something of my own.
10:55 – Lot of curricula in English, literature, history, were taught from certain perspectives that were very problematic, and you had to specifically choose to take social justice classes that weren’t required, if you wanted to learn about a topic at all.
20:50 – Love actually isn’t really encompassed into any person, or thing, or goal, or whatever you want to achieve, but is actually more encompassing sort of concepts, like, being courageous, being brave, being open no matter how many times you’ve been hurt.
21:20 – There is this dichotomy between fear and love. And I think the world teaches you to fear at a very early age, but if we lean more towards love - love for ourselves, love for others - our communities will only grow.
01:10 - What is the story you’d like to share with us today? – I want to share a little bit about pushing the boundaries as an Indian American woman.
01:30 - How did you get onto your path, and what is that path? – I started my journey at Marquette thinking that I was going to be a doctor. I majored in biological sciences and …
06:00 - How has your identity helped you to disrupt that checklist? - My identity has shaped everything that I have done to this point, and everything more that I can potentially do in the future.
07:23 – Tell us a little bit about Impactionable – We help people find jobs, funding opportunities and networking opportunities specifically in the social impact space. – Anyone, no matter who they are, can make a social change, can make a social impact.
09:10 – In what ways does the theme of the mural resonate for you – I love the fact that essentially this mural puts the people who are traditionally marginalized and ostracized, especially within Marquette, they are now front in center.
10:30 – What do you feel has been Marquette’s impact on women of color? – During my time at Marquette I would see the outward signs of racism and sort of oppression that was not only seen within the student body but within administration and professor levels as well.
12:45 – In what ways has that impacted your sense of self-worth? – It made me question the brownness of my skin and what my place really is in the world.
14:10 - Who have been women of color who’ve served as inspiration for you? – No. 1 is my mom. She’s always been a sort of inspiration to me. The second one is the ex-CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi. And the third is my sister.
16:20 - What role has vulnerability played in the journey that you’re on? – At first, I was taught it was a weakness, but now I’m seeing more and more that it’s actually a strength.
17:45 - What impact would you like to have or hope to have on women of color? – It goes back to challenging the norm. I think it’s really about challenging the expectations that have been given to you from the very beginning and really relying on your gut for things that do feel right to you.
18:55 – Are there any suggestions that you would give to women who have heard this idea of creating the third space? – When you start asking ‘why’, you’ll be able to see certain layers unfold, and it does not have to be as drastic as the third space. But essentially constantly learning, and unlearning, and reiterating over and over, challenging what the norms are, and what the expectations are, especially for women, is really important.
20:38 - What are your hopes for the future? – My hope is for people to lean more into LOVE rather than love.
21:47 - What would you like our community to know about your journey? – Check out some of our work that we do at Impactionable – we’ll help you find a job and a space, and we’ll help you find other people who love helping others and doing good work in their local communities.
Associate Director for Hispanic Initiatives
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The Our Roots Say That We're Sisters Podcast series was recorded and produced by Podcast Town (www.podcasttown.net)