Nidhi Kush Shah, Leadership & Communications Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Entrepreneur, shares with WiFA her experience with mentors and volunteering, what gives her hope every day, and much more.

Tell us about your background and the journey to your current position and organization.

The journey of where I am now has 3 significant inflection points: 

Year 2000 – I accompanied my father to a seminar on personal and professional growth at the Ahmedabad Management Association in Gujarat, India. I was so inspired by the speaker, that sitting in the first row of the audience, the 15-year-old in me thought, “One day I would like to be in front of people and inspire them.” 

Year 2007 – After completing my Electronics Engineering, I ‘stumbled’ on to an exciting role of marketing, branding, and training for an Australian University. I denied every conventional advice, packed my bags, and left for Sydney at the age of 22. I rediscovered my strength and passion: to help people grow in their careers and lives. 

Year 2011 – Moved to Hong Kong with my husband with a clear awareness that I wanted to work in the space of professional development. Within 6 months of arriving, I took a leap of faith and started my training, speaking and coaching practice. ‘

I started ‘Alchemy Consulting’ with a simple dream – to help people reach their highest potential in their career, business, and life, through my training and coaching programmes. The first year was a steep learning curve – meeting new people, building trusted connections, offering pro-bono coaching and workshop sessions, building my own website and marketing material, being my own PR, marketing, accounting person, sending proposals, being rejected, and trying again and again. Slowly, but steadily my work began to receive more visibility and referrals. The wheels were in motion and there was no looking back.

Today, I reflect back on the last decade with a deep sense of gratitude and fulfilment for the rewarding opportunities and experiences of training and coaching hundreds of people across the world.

Mentors play an important role in the developments of many careers. If you have/had a mentor, what is the one take away message or inspiration that he/she passed on to you

I am incredibly grateful to my mentors who have guided me and taught me how to pay attention to my own inner guidance system.  One of the most significant messages which I received from my mentors early on was that we should not hesitate to shine our light, speak up and get our voice heard. 

Whether it is to share our strengths and achievements, amplify the contribution of our colleagues, or negotiate for what we deserve. No one is going to benefit if we remain silent and not speak where it matters. This instilled a sense of humble confidence in me. 

The pandemic continues to bring new challenges into our homes and workplace. How are you adapting to these changes in terms of volunteering within your community or workplace?

The pandemic has encouraged us to think of new ways in which we can continue to volunteer and make a positive contribution to our community. Over the last two years, I facilitated a couple of pro-bono virtual workshops for the EMPOWER programme run by Amber Foundation, Hong Kong. It is a programme for Ethnic Minority women in Hong Kong universities and is created with the aim to build a business network for career opportunities for these talented young women. I have also facilitated pro-bono workshops for different small and solo female entrepreneurs on staying confident and resilient during these times. In addition, I am one of the mentors for the French Chamber Young Professionals Mentoring Programme and am grateful to be mentoring a very talented, and dynamic young leader. These different efforts make my own journey very rewarding and fulfilling. 

As it is said, “we rise by lifting others.”

What gets you out of bed every day, either professionally or personally? What gives you hope?

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 

This quote by Mary Oliver summarizes my eternal quest for learning, growth and leaving a positive contribution in the world. I am driven by this feeling that I don’t want to look back and think I didn’t live my best life. I don’t want to regret that I didn’t create the work I could create and that I didn’t grow in the places I could. Most importantly – the love for and from my family is one of my biggest internal motivators. To the core of my being, I believe that my most important job is to raise my kids to be brave, bold, and kind human beings. And I want to model a life-lived-well.