We had the good fortune of connecting with Jani Rad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jani, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’m one of those people that just isn’t satisfied doing one thing – I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember! I’ve always had a hobby or side job on top of my ‘9 to 5’ standard life. For the past few years, I decided to take some of these hobbies and extra curricular activities I had during college and graduate school and identify what marketable skills I acquired through those experiences. Three years ago, I started a business that provided professional coaching, writing, and professional development services to young professionals or professionals looking to pivot their careers. I wrote and edited resumes and cover letters, built professional websites, and provided career coaching based on people’s life experiences and interests. Through this, I started to develop my personal brand around harnessing the power of storytelling and viewing one’s professional development journey as a story. In February 2020, I received an opportunity through my healthcare full time job to speak at a young leader’s seminar in Memphis, TN. I decided to try out this topic as a speech, and it was incredibly well-received. At this event, I was approached by a team who sat on the Ted Talk board and asked for me to apply to be a speaker. I pitched a similar topic – treating your life as a story – long story short, my Ted Talk now has over 40k views on Youtube. Then COVID-19 hit. My healthcare job looked much different as I headed to virtual working, and I decided to use this opportunity to add another chapter to my own story. I worked off the momentum of the Ted Talk and, in August 2020 I started putting myself out there as a professional speaker, trainer, and podcaster with the brand “Professional storyteller empowering others to tell their own stories”. I provide the tools, knowledge, and the platform. Just three months later, my business has taken off, and I am enjoying every minute. I get to inspire audiences everyday to live to their fullest lives and measure their self-worth against their own narrative not the narrative written for them by others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Storytelling is incredibly powerful. It’s how we learn from each other and pass on knowledge. In August 2020, I launched a podcast called What’s On Your Mind? that aims to elevate voices of those who do amazing work in their communities and showcase a side of them that might be unknown to others. We are more than our bios and our professional descriptors. We are people with unique life experiences, interesting perspectives, and stories to share with the world. I interview both friends and complete strangers, and the conversations are completely unplanned. For many people, it’s the first time we’ve ever interacted. I’ve created some amazing new relationships from this show. On Mondays, I co-host a series with Corilynn Bailey from the Be Fearless You Foundation called STFS (Stop the F*******Stimga): Stories of survival, struggle, and everything in between. I use my podcast as a platform where we can all end the stigma around mental health and mental illness together. Conversation is powerful, and together through language and stories – we can Stop the F****** Stigma! Podcasting. IS. HARD. I’m hard on myself every day – constantly looking at the download statistics and comparing charts. What helps me stay grounded is remembering that even one person out there may be positively impacted by these stories. That’s one more person in the world that may be happier today than yesterday because they resonated with the stories shared on my podcast. I want the world to know that my motivations for my podcast are genuine and pure. More than profit or recognition, I want to leave a meaningful impact on this earth.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, welcome to Memphis, TN! I would first invite them to the roof of the Peabody Hotel! We can enjoy a lemonade, sparkling water, or a mimosa while gazing over at the Mississippi River to the left and downtown city life to the right. Next, we’ll head over to take a walk by the river. There are many paved trails that follow along the river. We’ll hop off the trail, walk into downtown, and visit the National Civil Rights Museum Lorraine Motel and learn about the history of civil rights in our country and see the room where Dr. MLK Jr. was shot. Next, we’ll grab a smoothie from Juice Brothers, and head on over to Midtown – walk around Crosstown Concourse and visit the little history museum on the first floor. We’ll spend the afternoon at the Memphis Zoo and stroll around Overton Park. Once we get hungry, we’ll get some tapas from Babalu’s in Overton Square. After our lunchtime snack, we’ll do some walking and shopping in Cooperyoung…maybe eat some vegan lettuce wraps at Mulan. We’ll end the evening and night on Beale Street, watching live blues, jazz, and soul music and dancing the night away!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve had some amazing mentors and role models along the way that have molded me into the person I am today. Amy Burtaine, Sarah Donnell, and Brittany O’Malley from my college and graduate school days. Regional One Health and the Executive Administration for bringing me to Memphis and opening up the world of opportunities. Corilynn Bailey for her support in my entrepreneurial efforts, my fiance Prithvi Mavuri for being the absolutely best partner in the world. My sister Mrinalini Jayashankar for showing me what a female boss entrepreneur looks like. And anyone who has ever been in the audience of one of my talks – your energy is what keeps me going!
Other: Ted talk: https://youtu.be/95P8iftdxNY Podcast: https://www.janirad.com/podcast.html
Ted photos by: Ariel Cobbert Other photos by: Natalie Schuh