Deep Dive

Build an Impact-Driven Career Path

Published on
February 27, 2024
Matthew Gira
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Preeti Adhikary is someone that I admire for so many reasons. She’s an innovator that has taken a non-linear career path, she’s someone who builds in public on LinkedIn, and it’s obvious that she’s enjoying the journey, not the destination which shows up in her impact driven career path. A concept that is easy to imagine, but incredibly difficult to accomplish at times.

Preeti is the founder of The Great Nepali Diaspora, a community that connects immigrants from Nepal in a professional manner. As Preeti puts it, immigrant communities can have very strong social ties, but not always strong professional ties. With The Great Nepali Diapsora community, Preeti has been able to connect Nepali talent by having over 2,000 members, 47 chapters, and over 75 events.

Before becoming a founder, Preeti was in all sorts of roles. She’s been in banking, leadership roles in startups, and a scout in venture capital. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in economics and eventually found her way to graduating from the Yale School of Management aka Yale SOM with a Master in Advanced Management. Like many innovators, Preeti has worn many different hats throughout her career.

Here are some snippets from my conversation with Preeti Adhikary:

Note: these answers are summaries and are cleaned up to be easier to read. Full answers can be found in the full episode!

Has there been particular events that have transitioned you into those particular career roles or have they been more natural transitions as your career has evolved?

If I look back at my career it just looks very non-linear. A lot of people have this this 10 year path. You go to undergrad, you work for a few years, you go do a master’s degree and you do something.

In terms of my career, I've lived in so many different places and worked in so many different paths. For a long time, I always felt like they're not connected at all. I was just jumping from one place to another. Now as I look back, I think they're all connected.

They've given me that understanding of different cultures, places, people, and even different industries. I've been able to now bring all of that together. When I talk to somebody in a startup versus somebody in finance and so on, I am able to use my lived experiences and make them a part of what I'm doing.

So in a very strange way, it's it's all come together.

Has there been any moments that makes that this whole effort and this whole journey worth it?

A turning point was when I started putting my ideas out there and people started responding. At that point, I don't think I had thought about actually starting a company or a nonprofit like that. Once the demand became so much, I felt like I needed to do something about it.

I didn't know what that was. The interesting thing was going into something without without having a proper blueprint of it. You're supposed to have clarity of thought and you have to have a little bit of concrete plans before you step into some things, right? That wasn’t the case here.

The emotional and practical pull was so strong that I felt like I didn't fully understand what it was going to become, but I wanted to explore it. Every sort of signal that I could feel was pointing me in this direction.

What I love is that it started off with networking events, virtual sessions, and so on, and now it's becoming so much more. It's becoming this voice for our diaspora. It's becoming, this amazing platform for investments and mentorship and incredible change is happening. I'm so grateful to be a part of that.

When you're done with this journey, what do you hope the impact was?

A tagline that we use is “fueling impact at scale”. What that means is, on an individual level, we try to mentor people. We might give a reference for a job or other little bits and pieces to help people. The exciting thing and there's intention behind it, but I didn't fully understand this at first is that everything is happening at scale.

Imagine as an individual I would maybe help three, five people, but what if thousands are helping each other?

If hundreds of startups are getting seed funding through the community, if we are actually opening a democratizing access to opportunities and information and resources to thousands, if not more people, that has an incredible domino effect in terms of impact.

It's hard to quantify it fully because, a lot of things are intangible. We can obviously have metrics in terms of how many people join, how many people got a job through it, or how many people got mentored. There's a lot of intangible value that the community is getting now and how that value might change generations for this community.

For me, when I was really young I wanted to be an army doctor, but gave that up later to get my undergraduate degree here. Since I've gone to college, people would ask all the time, what do you want to be when you grow up?

I remember always saying that I wanted to be happy which sounds so corny. I can't believe I used to say that. But it doesn't mean that I didn't or don’t have goals or that wasn't or am not ambitious or anything like that.

I always wanted this simple life where I wasn't chasing titles. I’m always trying to do something with a purpose. I am genuinely happy in terms of what I am building and the impact it's already having.

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