Who am I?
I am Ashwathy Venugopal, an entrepreneur, a Kectil International Youth Leader, a Global Shapers Community (World Economic Forum) [Trivandrum Hub] member, Indian Ambassador for Digital Grassroots Program (initiative of Internet Governance Forum, The UN), Wedu Changemakers Rising Star, 2020 Vital Voices GROW Fellow, Headstart Volunteer and an aspiring thought leader who wish to guide young minds to make their life interesting- one day at a time.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”
I grew up admiring my dad who has not gone to work for a single day in his life. He has always been an entrepreneur, transitioning across enterprises over the years. With him I have experienced many highs and lows of entrepreneurship- the joy when the customer pays, the pang when you incur a loss, the emptiness when a business (unfortunately) shuts down and the thrill when you begin the next venture.
Not surprisingly, I truly believe (and know for a fact) that the world is full of opportunities- there is always a new door to open. Maybe this is the reason why it did not give me a cold foot to quit a well-paying Managerial role at Amazon to become an entrepreneur today.
I had a good stint as a Software Engineer and an MBA later I landed my dream job with Amazon as Team Manager in Operations. Then some of the best things started to happen in my life, and I left Amazon and Co-Founded Avasarshala.
Initially I was not aware of the huge number of leadership programs and fellowships available nationally as well as globally. I always thought my academics and college activities were enough exposure. Once I joined the corporate jungle I was hit by the need to up-skill and stay relevant. What started as a hunt for webinars and online courses led me to the world of leadership programs and international fellowships. I was surprised at the number of avenues that are available for youth. I started applying, and had to go through numerous unsuccessful applications until I was selected for the 2017 Kectil World Leadership Program. It was a year-long program which tested our commitment and mindset to ‘be the change you want to see’.
In 2018 I was selected as one of the 27 Youth Leaders across 108 countries and 700+ participants to represent our respective countries in the Kectil Youth Leadership Conference (2019) at Atlanta, USA. This has been a huge avenue for me to meet many world leaders, engage in problems faced by youth around the world and truly reflect on what more I can do as youth in my own society back in India.
I realized, life is what you make of it. There are abundant facilities to gain exposure and bring change to your own life and others around you- just that we should be ready to receive it when it comes by.
Finding Avenues- Shaping Lives
As I mentioned in the intro, one opportunity led to the other and now I am involved in many leadership and international organizations. I am mentor at Kectil for the upcoming cohort, I have been chosen as cohort member for Wedu Rising Star and recently received my acceptance to the VV GROW Fellowship 2020. I will be one of the 45 business women chosen from across the world to be mentored and supported through a year-long acceleration program.
As women the avenues for us are abundant- now more than ever. If you are on the lookout, the possibilities for you are infinite. I have set myself in the path of realizing my dreams and ambitions, and I am moving with a mission to help as many young people achieve the same, with me. This is the core idea behind my new venture Avasarshala.
What do I do?
I am always on the lookout for new and interesting avenues that can help shape young minds and lives. Did you know about Wedu or Kectil or even Vital Voices till today? Chances are, not. Did you know there are organizations like FRIDA which funds feminist initiatives and that platforms like Wedu and Vital Voices are specifically designed for women alone? My way forward is to make young adults around me become familiar with such abundance of avenues, and make it easily accessible to them.
Recently I have also been getting a chance to fulfil my love for public speaking through invitations to address youth and students. I use such stages to familiarize them with opportunities available locally and globally that can lead on to more avenues for them to think and do things differently. I am curating the same and making it available as a mailing list to students and youth who have approached me with interest. More information can be found at www.avasarshala.com.