Puneet‘s story began as a person living under the shadow of poverty. Learn how he championed against his multiple invisible disabilities and other social hurdles to become the leader he is today. Puneet explains how advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), has always been personal to him. He goes on to explain the challenges faced by businesses and startups in balancing diversity, equity, and inclusion with profit. Puneet provides amazing advice throughout the article to help people overcome these hurdles and the advantages of being successful with it. These are supported by Puneet’s own story and experiences at various points. Keep reading to learn more about balancing time between passions and work, the advantages of working with a united team over working solo, and more.
DEI COACH LEADERSHIP STORY AND TESTIMONIAL
Puneet’s story began as a person living at the intersection of poverty, domestic violence, and multiple invisible disabilities, including an undiagnosed learning disability and stammering. Throughout his life, he has been a disability activist, advocating for a more inclusive and accessible society for people with various disabilities. He is also the founder of a non-profit called ssstart.org, which works towards normalizing speech and communication disabilities, primarily stammering.
As his experiences in life and work as an activist shaped him, he has realized the importance of creating inclusive environments, not only for people with disabilities but for everyone. This realization led him to expand his focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across various sectors, including education, work, and community building.
When he came across Eprenz, he was instantly drawn to the coaching program due to its alignment with his values and vision for a more inclusive world. The supportive team at Eprenz, along with the inspiring approach of our founder David Wagstaff, further motivated him to become a coach with us. Puneet believes that his unique perspective and experiences can contribute to the coaching and consultancy landscape, especially in the area of DEI. By associating with Eprenz, he aims to articulate his fresh approach to coaching effectively, helping organizations and individuals foster inclusion and accessibility in their everyday lives.
INSPIRATION TO BECOME A DEI CONSULTANT AND SOCIAL IMPACT ADVOCATE
The inspiration behind his decision to help entrepreneurs stems from a deep-rooted passion for fostering positive change, inclusivity, and accessibility across various aspects of society. He is cognizant that entrepreneurs have the unique potential to create significant impact through their innovative ideas, products, and services. By supporting entrepreneurs, Puneet can contribute to the development of a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable world.
Furthermore, his own experiences navigating the challenges of poverty, domestic violence, and multiple invisible disabilities have instilled in him a strong sense of empathy and determination to help others overcome their obstacles. He believes that every individual, regardless of their background or circumstance, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and entrepreneurs are no exception.
By assisting entrepreneurs in their journey, he hopes to play a role in unlocking their innate potential, fostering creativity, and promoting the development of sustainable solutions to global challenges.
STARTING A SOCIAL IMPACT BUSINESS AS A DEI CONSULTANT
Puneet’s business-to-be is focused on providing coaching and consultancy services in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), specifically catering to organizations and entrepreneurs. Through this venture, he hopes to foster more inclusive, accessible, and equitable work environments that celebrate the diverse experiences, perspectives, and talents of individuals from all walks of life.
By offering tailored coaching and consultancy programs, he aims to help organizations and entrepreneurs identify and address potential barriers to diversity and inclusion within their business models, strategies, and internal culture. This would involve analyzing existing practices and policies, identifying areas for improvement, and providing actionable recommendations that prioritize accessibility, accommodation, and equity.
His ultimate goal is to create a lasting, positive impact on the global business landscape by championing a more inclusive and empathetic approach that values the unique strengths and contributions of every individual, irrespective of their background or personal challenges. With passion and dedication, Puneet is committed to facilitating meaningful change through open dialogue, collaboration, and evidence-based strategies that are grounded in empathy, understanding, and emotional intelligence.
Through this business, he hopes to contribute to a world where people with disabilities, as well as those from marginalized and underrepresented communities, can thrive in the workplace, free from discrimination and exclusion. By empowering organizations and entrepreneurs to embrace diversity and foster an inclusive culture, we can work together to create a more just and equitable society for all.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESSES FACE?
1. Identifying and addressing unconscious biases:
Unconscious biases can be deeply ingrained and difficult to recognize without external guidance. His coaching helps clients uncover and confront these biases, which is critical for creating a more inclusive environment.
2. Developing and implementing effective diversity and inclusion strategies:
Crafting and executing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan requires a deep understanding of the subject matter and the ability to consider various perspectives. Clients often benefit from the expertise and support of a coach to navigate this complex process.
3. Facilitating open and honest conversations:
Addressing issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion can be uncomfortable and challenging. Clients may struggle to create a safe space for these discussions to occur. He provides guidance on fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns.
4. Measuring progress and impact:
Assessing the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion initiatives can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to measuring qualitative aspects like cultural shifts. He helps clients develop appropriate evaluation methods and metrics to track their progress and ensure that their efforts are making a positive impact.
5. Balancing competing priorities:
Entrepreneurs often face multiple challenges and competing priorities in their businesses. It can be difficult for them to maintain focus on diversity and inclusion goals while addressing other pressing concerns. As a coach, Puneet helps clients strike the right balance and keep diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on track amidst the complexity of running a business.
IMPACT OF SUCH CHALLENGES ON BUSINESSES, COACHING PRACTISES AND STARTUPS
1. Hindered growth and innovation:
Unaddressed biases and a lack of diversity can limit the range of perspectives and ideas within an organization, stifling innovation and hindering growth.
2. Lower employee engagement and retention:
When employees don’t feel valued or included, their engagement and satisfaction can suffer, leading to higher turnover rates and recruitment costs.
3. Poor reputation:
A business that fails to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion may develop a negative reputation, making it difficult to attract top talent and potential customers or partners.
4. Legal and compliance risks:
Businesses that don’t address diversity and inclusion issues may face legal challenges or fail to comply with regulations, resulting in financial penalties or other consequences.
PUNEET’S EFFORTS IN MINIMIZING THESE CHALLENGES AND THEIR IMPACT
Puneet’s services help rectify or ease these problems in several ways:
1. Raising awareness and addressing biases: By helping clients recognize and confront unconscious biases, his coaching enables them to create a more inclusive environment that fosters innovation and growth.
2. Developing tailored diversity and inclusion strategies: He works with clients to create comprehensive diversity and inclusion plans that align with their specific goals and values, ensuring a more inclusive work environment that promotes employee engagement and retention.
3. Facilitating open conversations: His coaching provides guidance on creating a safe space for honest and productive discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion, allowing organizations to address and resolve issues effectively.
4. Measuring and tracking progress: By helping clients establish appropriate evaluation methods and metrics, Ssstart.org ‘s services ensure that businesses can monitor the effectiveness of their diversity and inclusion initiatives and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.
5. Prioritizing and balancing efforts: Ssstart.org supports entrepreneurs in maintaining focus on their diversity and inclusion goals while managing other business priorities, ensuring that these crucial initiatives remain an integral part of their overall strategy.
By addressing these challenges and offering tailored solutions, his coaching services empower entrepreneurs to create more inclusive, equitable, and successful businesses.
DEDICATION TO HELP SOCIAL IMPACT ENTREPRENEURS
Puneet cares deeply about entrepreneurs because they have the potential to drive innovation, create employment opportunities, and contribute significantly to the overall growth and wellbeing of our society. He believes, by fostering inclusive work environments, entrepreneurs can create a positive impact that extends beyond their businesses, promoting social cohesion and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.
His coaching and consultancy services help entrepreneurs in several ways:
1. Identifying and addressing barriers to diversity and inclusion: By assessing existing practices, policies, and internal culture, Puneet provides tailored recommendations that help entrepreneurs recognize and overcome obstacles that may be hindering the growth and success of their businesses.
2. Enhancing organizational culture: He works closely with entrepreneurs to develop and implement strategies that promote a more inclusive, empathetic, and supportive workplace, where everyone feels valued and respected for their unique strengths and contributions.
3. Facilitating learning and growth: His services provide entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to develop a deeper understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, enabling them to make informed decisions that align with their values and drive positive change within their organizations.
4. Improving business outcomes: Research has shown that businesses that prioritize diversity and inclusion are more innovative, creative, and financially successful. By helping entrepreneurs create more inclusive work environments, Puneet supports them in achieving their full potential and realizing their business objectives.
5. Building resilience and adaptability: By embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive culture, entrepreneurs can better navigate the complexities and uncertainties of the modern business world, enhancing their ability to adapt and respond effectively to new challenges and opportunities.
He is deeply committed to supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just and equitable world.
TIPS, SUGGESTIONS, AND ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS, DEI CONSULTANTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS
Here are some tips, suggestions, and advice from Puneet’s area of expertise that can be beneficial for entrepreneurs:
1. Foster a culture of inclusivity: Create an environment where everyone feels valued and included by promoting open communication, appreciating diverse perspectives, and encouraging collaboration across different backgrounds and experiences.
2. Develop a clear diversity and inclusion strategy: Outline your organization’s goals, objectives, and action plan for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. This strategy should be communicated clearly and consistently to all stakeholders.
3. Provide diversity and inclusion training: Offer regular training sessions to help employees understand the importance of diversity and inclusion, recognize unconscious biases, and develop the skills necessary to create an inclusive work environment.
4. Encourage employee resource groups (ERGs): Support the creation of ERGs, which are employee-led groups that bring together individuals who share common interests or backgrounds. These groups can help promote a sense of belonging and foster a more inclusive workplace culture.
5. Establish mentorship and sponsorship programs: Implement programs that connect employees with mentors or sponsors from diverse backgrounds, helping to create opportunities for career growth and development while fostering inclusivity.
6. Set measurable goals and track progress: Establish clear, quantifiable objectives for your diversity and inclusion initiatives, and regularly assess your progress towards these goals. Use data-driven insights to inform your strategy and make adjustments as needed.
7. Review and revise policies and processes: Ensure that your organization’s policies, processes, and practices are free from bias and promote fairness and equity. This may include reviewing hiring and promotion processes, employee benefits, and workplace accommodation.
8. Promote diverse leadership: Encourage diversity at all levels of your organization, including leadership positions. This can help to create a more inclusive culture and demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
9. Engage with the wider community: Collaborate with external organizations, attend industry events, and participate in diversity and inclusion-focused initiatives to learn from others and contribute to the broader conversation around these important issues.
10. Be adaptable and committed: Recognize that promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort, adaptation, and commitment. Be open to feedback, learn from your experiences, and stay dedicated to fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.
By incorporating these insights and best practices into their organizations, entrepreneurs can create more inclusive, innovative, and successful businesses that benefit from the unique strengths and perspectives of a diverse workforce.
MODEL FOR BALANCING SOCIAL IMPACT WITH A BUSINESS
At Ssstart, Puneet and his team are working toward normalizing speech and communication disorders and advocating for a more inclusive and accessible society for people with disabilities. they facilitate interactive workshops, write awareness blogs and articles, feature in podcasts and interviews, etc.
Ssstart’s goal is to turn the societal perception of people with disability, especially those with speech impairments, from being seen as shy, anxious, and incompetent complainers to confident, courageous, highly skilled, and trustworthy leaders. Ssstart teaches social networking skills, inclusive event design, and facilitation skills through interactive, playful, and creative online and local events.
Their stakeholders are but are not limited to, teens from the slums of Delhi with disabilities or exposure to domestic violence, poverty, bullying, and mental or sexual harassment. They have been able to touch the lives of 60 teenagers directly and 250+ youngsters around the world through our online mentorship sessions. Their social media reach has created an organic impression of 100,000 and a followership of around 17,000 people across geographies.
BALANCING TIME BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL ENDEAVORS AND PASSIONS
Here are some insights on how business people or professionals can balance their time between their professional endeavors and other passions:
1. Prioritize your passions: Determine which of your passions are most important to you and allocate time for them in your schedule. Focus on activities that bring you the most joy and fulfillment.
2. Set specific goals: Establish clear objectives for both your professional life and personal passions. This will help you stay focused and motivated, as well as make it easier to track your progress and celebrate your achievements.
3. Create a structured routine: Design a daily or weekly routine that incorporates time for work, personal passions, and self-care. Having a structured routine can help you manage your time more effectively and ensure you have dedicated time for your passions.
4. Learn to delegate and outsource: As a business owner or professional, delegating tasks and outsourcing specific responsibilities can free up time for you to focus on your passions. Identify areas where others can support you in your business or professional life, and trust them to handle those tasks.
5. Set boundaries: It’s essential to establish boundaries between your professional and personal life to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Communicate your boundaries to colleagues, friends, and family, and be mindful of respecting them.
6. Continuously reassess your priorities: As your professional and personal life evolve, your priorities may change. Regularly reassess your passions, goals, and priorities, and adjust your time allocation accordingly.
7. Embrace flexibility: Understand that the balance between your professional life and personal passions may not always be perfect. Be flexible and adapt your schedule as needed to accommodate your various commitments and interests.
HOW IS WORKING WITH A TEAM BETTER THAN WORKING SOLO?
According to Puneet, working with a team that has a united mission is indeed better. A shared sense of purpose brings several benefits that can enhance the overall team performance and lead to greater success.
1. Improved collaboration: A united mission fosters a collaborative environment, where team members are more likely to support each other, share ideas, and work together to overcome challenges. This collaborative spirit can contribute to the team’s ability to solve problems more effectively and reach their goals faster.
2. Enhanced motivation: When team members share a common mission, they are more motivated to work together towards achieving the team’s goals. This collective motivation can drive individuals to put in their best effort, leading to improved productivity and overall team performance.
3. Clearer communication: When a team shares a common mission, communication becomes more focused and effective. Team members are better able to understand their roles and responsibilities, which can help to reduce misunderstandings and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals.
4. Stronger team culture: A united mission can contribute to the development of a strong team culture, characterized by trust, accountability, and mutual respect. This positive team culture can help to attract and retain top talent, improve job satisfaction, and enhance overall team performance.
5. Increased resilience: Teams with a shared mission are more resilient in the face of setbacks and challenges. They are better equipped to learn from mistakes, adapt to changing circumstances, and persevere towards their goals.
RESOURCES ABOUT PUNEET’S WORK
These resources provide additional insights into Puneet’s work and accomplishments, as well as information on broader disability inclusion initiatives.
Forbes article on stammering awareness featuring Puneet’s work: https://www.forbes.com/sites/drnancydoyle/2022/07/27/disability-pride-month-focus-on-stammering/amp/
Diversability D-30 Social Impact list for 2022, where he is honored: https://mydiversability.com/d30-2022-honorees/puneet-singh-singhal
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