“I feel the common denominator of what it takes for someone to be successful is faith. There’s just simply faith in your abilities when you move forward in a direction that doesn’t feel certain. There’s faith that you’re going to be okay. I think the people that have faith in something bigger than themselves, in themselves, in their Goddess, are really the ones that end up going forward.”
– Suparna Bhasin, Founder & CEO of She Creates Change, President of the Board, Women’s Education Project
Interview by Tabby Biddle
Suparna Bhasin is on a mission to help women find their voice and true calling in the world and build a global network of women who support, encourage and collaborate with one another as they pursue their passions and create change in their work and the world. She is the founder and CEO of She Creates Change, a women’s empowerment company based in New York City, and is President of the Board of the Women’s Education Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping young women in India move out of poverty and into college and careers that are meaningful to them.
This visionary Goddess is building bridges to empower and connect women from around the world. Just watch as She Creates Change …
Tabby Biddle: You are committed to helping women find their voice and true calling in the world. Do you believe everyone has a calling?
Suparna Bhasin: What a great question. I do actually believe that everyone has a calling. This is based on the idea that we all have a higher purpose to serve and there truly is a reason for all of us to be on the planet at this time. The distinction inside of my work is that not everyone is paid to do their calling. For instance, I believe being a parent or grandparent is a calling.
Tabby: How do you help women come to peace with the fact that they might not actually be paid to do their calling?
Suparna: The truth is that the women who find me typically are. That’s actually why they find me because my work is centered around women monetizing their calling. I was just reading this book called Goddesses in Every Woman. The author talks about all the Greek goddesses, including Hera, Demeter and Hestia – which are the goddesses of marriage, motherhood and the hearth. These kinds of women are not typically drawn to me. The woman that is drawn to me has a lot of Artemis energy, which is that warrior energy. She is out there making things happen.
So when these women come to me they have something they feel they are here to do professionally, but they are not doing it. They are stuck in jobs that are very masculine, that are depleting, that are toxic, and that they hate it. They are looking to do something where they are giving their feminine creative goddess gifts. We want to help them understand how to monetize this so that they can actually be doing it in a full-time way.
Tabby: What have you found to be some of the most common things that get in the way of women discovering their calling?
Suparna: Society as a whole is moving into a new day where people are looking for more fulfilling, meaningful work rather than work that is based on an old model of survival. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs outlines this as well by pointing us from the bottom of the pyramid from survival-based needs to self-actualization at the top of the pyramid. The educational model in place today doesn’t support this newer quest so we as a collective are in a new place and our system has not lined up with it. To add more frustration to the process, women as a whole are also new to the world of work so they have not had proper time, nor training, to find work that aligns with their authentic self.
“Many women have ended up in very masculine-based roles and are left feeling depleted and discouraged with nowhere to turn.”
We also live in an economic time where risk is now more discouraged than ever before. Many women come to me in tears expressing how much they hate what they do but they are being told to “buck up” and “be happy” that they have a job at all. This type of rhetoric doesn’t leave space for someone to feel safe and empowered to pursue their dreams. Because they have nowhere positive and supportive to turn where they feel they can actually find answers, they stay.
Tabby: Why do you think that masculine-based roles deplete women?
Suparna: What’s happened in the world on a macro-level, and of course we are living it individually, is we are overwrought with our masculine. As women it’s not actually healthy to be running more masculine energy than our feminine energy because it is not our true essence. That’s not to say we don’t have a masculine side and that it’s not worth developing. But when it’s overdeveloped at the expense of our feminine, it’s not our natural state so it’s depleting.
Couple this with the fact that oftentimes not only are women in a job that is not truly aligned with their essence, they are in a job that is in the wounded masculine environment. They are being asked to be in an arena that is so far away from their true nature it literally depletes them from an energetic, karmic soul level.
Tabby: Can you say more about the wounded masculine and what you mean by this?
Suparna: If we think about it there’s the light masculine and the dark masculine and then the light feminine and the dark feminine. The wounded masculine is that energy that took Wall Street down in ’08, and we also see it a lot in government. It’s that greedy, aggressive, power-struggle ego energy. The mindset is: I’m not going to win unless you lose.
The wounded masculine is that energy of scarcity and domination, but the light masculine isn’t. There is nothing wrong with corporate America. Corporate America is not inherently evil. It’s the shadow of what’s been created that is actually the problem.
Tabby: And the wounded feminine?
Suparna: Where the women have fallen down in terms of the wounded feminine is when a woman gives her power away and becomes passive. It’s when she becomes a victim. So the way to counterbalance this is for us as women to take our power back out of the shadow feminine and into the Divine Feminine to create equilibrium in the world.
“I say to my clients: Don’t stand in your wounded masculine. Stand in your Divine Feminine.”
Tabby: You serve as the President of the Board of Women’s Education Project. In terms of finding their purpose, what similarities do you find between the women you work with in the U.S. and the women you serve in India?
Suparna: I actually chose the Women’s Education Project because it was so aligned with the work I do with women here in the United States. Essentially the work parallels because both groups are looking to follow their hearts and create a life based on their authentic selves. The women are relying on the generosity of others to support this endeavor because they live on less than a dollar a day. Many to most of our women in She Creates Change support themselves but have also found themselves disadvantaged in a different way.
Tabby: You are bridging women in the U.S. with women in India through hosting events that support the Women’s Education Project. Can you talk to me about the power of women helping other women around the world?
Suparna: I think it’s incredibly important because I think as women when we help each other we actually help the world. When you help a woman in India – when you save her life – you save the community because she is the one that really runs the community so to speak. It’s the idea of this Gaia energy – a woman overseeing the family. It’s a very familial community-based world, in India especially.
Eventually when my business can sustain it, I’d love to give $250 for every woman that goes through my program here. For example, say the program was $1750, $250 of that would go to the Women’s Education Project. That’s the cost for a woman in India to go to college for a year, so it becomes a one-to-one model.
“We just more than doubled our revenue from the previous year. We want to triple our revenue next year. The more success my business has here, the more leverage I have to do that over there. We have plans to expand the Women’s Education Project in other parts of the world.”
Tabby: Did you struggle with finding your purpose?
Suparna: Wow, in 10 years of doing this work no one has ever asked me that. I will answer the question this way — growing up and all through my mid-twenties I had no idea what I wanted to “be when I grew up.” I was highly motivated to find the answers and felt empowered and safe to pursue my interests and dreams, so by my late 20’s I did know what I wanted to do. In my 30’s the work I have done has taken several different forms but ultimately I found my way. There were definitely though a couple of sustained periods of time where I loathed what I was doing and suffered greatly. I sometimes feel I needed those experiences so I could truly empathize with my clients.
Tabby: Did you grow up in India?
Suparna: There’s actually a name for people like me. They call us ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis). Desi is an Indian/South Asian person. I was actually born in Cleveland, Ohio. I am American born, but of India descent. I’m first generation. My parents were born in India and came here in the ‘60s.
It’s a very interesting question because I really do identify more with being Indian – but for a long time I didn’t want anything to do with India or Indian people. Then I sort of had a knee-jerk response to that when I was 30 and turned that around. I became more proud of being an Indian woman than anything else. I now feel its one of the best parts of me.
Tabby: What was the knee-jerk turning point for you?
Suparna: I was doing a summer share in the Hamptons in my late 20s and it was with a group of 40 Jewish kids. My friend Jodi and I were sitting at a table with these two Jewish guys and they were fighting over which of their guy friends they were going to set her up with. I was just sitting there and it was literally like I wasn’t even there. I started to question myself at the end of that weekend: Here I am in a house full of 40 Jewish kids, why am I not in a house full of 40 Indian kids? What had me do that? So I skipped the next Hampton weekend, and went to an Indian event and ended up making some friends. One of my best friends in the whole world came from that network. Now I have a balance.
Tabby: What does being a Goddess mean to you?
Suparna: The timing of this invitation came at such an interesting, synchronistic time. Every month as part of a membership program that I run, we choose a topic and a book. In June the topic was “The Goddess Within” and the book assigned to my women was Goddesses in Every Woman. The same week you asked me to be Goddess of the Week, I was scheduled to speak on this topic for the first time in my career. Had you asked me this question a month ago I wouldn’t have been able to give the kind of answer I can give now.
“What a Goddess means to me is to be fully alive in my power and operate from a place of self-love. What it also means to me is to embrace many different aspects and facets of who I am as a woman — a lover, a leader, a warrior, an aunt, a daughter, …”
Tabby: What are some things that nourish you?
Suparna: Thank you for asking this. There’s something I do called a morning practice. This has been lifesaving for me, and if you interviewed 100 of my women, they’d tell you the same for them as well. This is the way I describe it to people: Do you brush your teeth? Of course you do. Do you brush your hair? Of course you do. Well, do you brush your soul?
It’s taking the time in the morning to actually brush your soul. It includes a spiritual reading, journaling to move through emotional stuff you could be holding onto, then meditation, then exercise (whether its yoga or stretching), then a nourishing breakfast. No radio. No TV. No noise.
“The faster you want to go, the more you need to slow down. I find that to be true every time for me.”
How you start your day is going to be an indicator of how your day goes. For me typically, you won’t see me doing too many meetings or calls before 11am. Ninety-nine percent of the time if I have a meeting or call in the morning, it’s for my personal growth. And weekends are totally off limits. My mornings and weekends are sacred.
Tabby: If you had a loudspeaker that could be heard by all women and all girls around the world, what message would you want to impart?
Suparna: Don’t be afraid to use your voice and stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to say who you are and ask for what you need, and then move forward from that place. The second thing I want to say is that you don’t have to do it alone. Isolation is not good for the soul.
To learn more about She Creates Change, visit www.shecreateschange.com
To learn more about the Women’s Education Project, visit www.womenseducationproject.org
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, writing coach, and workshop leader dedicated to amplifying the voices of women changemakers. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post on issues affecting women and girls, and leads Goddess retreats and workshops to help women find their feminine voice. Her work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, Current TV, Gaiam and other popular online media. She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and new kitty.