May 25, 2020 xerxes

In this interview, Poonam Balan talks about the current crisis from her  cross-sectoral and diverse identity’s perspectivee. Among other things, we take a look at resilience, purpose and impact and the role of people.
Poonam Balan, CEO TACTHUB
Poonam is a tri-sectoral brand integrity leader who believes in the power of partnerships and human engagement to create real impact. Working across North America, South East Asia and now in Europe. Her career has spanned across six industries, from corporate communications, impact investing to helming some of the most disruptive digital strategies for national expert talent attraction and retention. She now focuses on aiding talent transformation at TACTHUB; a think-do tank which bridges talent to sustainability branding, regulation, policy, and new market trends
Poonam Balan’s Links


Video Excerpts From the Podcast

Meet Poonam Balan

The Role of Human Capital

Resilience During Crisis

Humanity’s Calling

Purpose During Crisis

Podcast Interview with Poonam Balan

Transcript of the Interview
This text has been auto-transcripted. Please excuse mistakes.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Hi,

I’m Xerxes.

And today I’m here with

Poonam Balan, I’m happy

that you’re here and,

yeah, please introduce yourself.

Who are you?

Poonam Balan: I’m what happened

to be here to use their axes.

And it’s really,

quite an effort that you’re putting

forward to explore the boundaries

of human context.

So I’m happy to be

invited to this podcast.


If you want to know a

little bit about me, I’ll go ahead.

Then, : I’ve got,

tri-identity in a sense:

I am of mixed heritage,

Chinese Indian and,

they call people like me Chindian or

I don’t know if that should be Dinchin

or whatever way it should be, but,

and I was born in Malaysia.

I moved

to Canada when I

was a teenager.

So my try identity includes different

nationalistic identities as well.

And then I came to Europe

about a couple of years ago.

now, about and a half years

that I’ve been settled in Germany since.

So it’s been really interesting to

carry a different market knowledges

and, and, and sort of cross

exchange and see where that can go.

In terms of my background,

I’ve held a few

different roles in different sectors.

I started in hospitality

and that was really wonderful in

Canada and that, and then I went on

to banking and hit the last global

crunch right in the smack middle of

it, because I was working my way up.

I did leave in good terms.

And then, I

learned a lot from that.

And then I joined the Clinton

affiliates, cohort

with Frank

Giustra and then in Malaysia.

It quite a bit of work in Asia as well.

So, There I got my

first taste of working,

I think with government agencies,

the broad scope work of

national public, impact.

and then

started to consult in.

Now I find myself in Germany largely

advocating sustainability, especially

in the social and governance categories.

I work very much so with companies that

want to transform themselves from within

and create links for them to do that.

So that’s, that’s in just

the high level of what I do.

Xerxes Voshmgir : So please tell

us why do you do what you do.

Oh gosh.

Because I have a dying

urge to change something.

I mean, what I do

is really interesting as brand

integrity, requires a

crossover fields and,

an ability to understand.

You know what agility can actually

do in, in these situations.

We’re at a crisis time right now.

So what I’ve always tried to do is build

proactive measures in an organization

that will sustain jolts like this.

Xerxes Voshmgir : And,

when you look back

your life,

was there a specific turning

points that

led to what you do today?

Oh massive.

I mean, I think

I’ve had a few turning points that

it has very much to do with my.

transition through life,

moving to Canada as

an immigrant, as a PR,

and then coming back to Asia and

repatriating as a foreign trained

Asian, Southeast Asian talent.

and finding that,

yeah, that continuity in my career.

So the big jarring point, I think

the big point that changed me was

probably the realization that I offer

a unique perspective and I always

will, and if I don’t insert that value

into everything I do through whatever

resources I have, then that opinion

and perspective will never be heard.

So we need more perspectives

for diversity to actually work.

Xerxes Voshmgir : And you talked

before about the current crisis.

So what’s your thoughts on that

In, in what expect.

Xerxes Voshmgir : what do you

anticipate will be, which direction

things might be going and how to deal.

Poonam Balan: Hmm.

well, I, I work

with, quite a

different array of people.

On one hand, I work with

funds, and

folks that are venture folks.

And I think there’s a big change

in all these, these,

industries that have the ability to

see a pattern or a wave, you know,

and money is one of the easiest.

And, and the other side of my pond is

folks that are in the startup industry

and burgeoning tech, and

and largely what I do is build in

their human capital structures and

what that can mean in the future.

So for my field of work, it’s still a lot

of, you know, to be determined because

we have different pockets for talent

that don’t really fit with each other.

Right now there’s this talk about, you

know, on demand talent going up and

companies finding new ways to support

that, IP attrition.

but I think everyone’s

figuring out how to sustain people.

So it’s difficult at the moment.

What are some things that have changed

for us, I can share is that I’ve

had to become a lot more emphatic,

in a different way.

I’ve always tried to be empathetic

rather than some sympathetic about,

about someone’s situation and how

they commit to their self progress,

so, or their professionalism.

But now there’s a lot of,

a need to just connect

with people and give them what they

need and give them what they want.

And if it’s attention, if it’s just

listening to difficulties that are

very personal, a boss now or a leader

now, whatever it is, a team player

now has to become even more human now.

That’s something that I’ve realized.

So it’s, it’s difficult when

you own your own effort you have

to make more time for that now.

So, you know, I’m long gone.

I think are the structures where we used

to all clock in, put on a hat, and then

clock out, and now you really have to

face the reality that you will, you’re

responsible in a way, for.

a person’s state of mind

even more so than you ever were before.

And so I’ve had to change

the way I ask questions.

I’ve had to change the way

I approached vulnerability.

I do see some

scary sort of agency like trends.

I mean, I worked with a ton of

agencies myself, never in their shoes,

but working with them, of course.

And think lot of skewing of,

you know, solution

thinking, you know, if you address

vulnerability, you’ll address it all.

if you address

diversity, you’ll address it all.

And those kinds of thoughts are,

are a little bit misleading as well.

So I find a lot of our teammates are

searching for that one word solution

for themselves to sort of see the end

of the, you know, the light at the end

of the tunnel, but then it’s at the end

of the day there, what they need is a

team that works with them in reality.

Poonam Balan: and that’s,

that’s a lot different.

So yeah.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Okay.

And, do you think the

current crisis will

pose a chance that there will be

bigger change towards you’ve just said.

Poonam Balan: I think so.

I think so.

I think those who, those, those who have

resilience, : We’ll probably

see it through in a different way.

It’s just a matter of what are the

counterweights of our systems these days.

So if, you know, if we’re working

with the same structures we’ve worked

with before and we’re resilient

through that, that’s good too, because

those were the structures before.

And you have all these new structures, new

business models, new sustainable community

structures and funding structures that are

trying to come through and prove itself.

: I think it just is a

matter of all sides of the perspective

being as resilient as possible.

So we will come through, if we are

resilient and methodical and maybe

a little bit slower, :

and a little less satisfied with

our returns or immediate returns.

Everything is, is

not sustainable on just immediate

dopamine or, you know,

immediate gratification.

And so those things have to

be worked in and worked into

an SOP and stuff like that.

So I think these are the, like the

micro methods that everyone needs

to look at it as a lot of talk,

but it’s really hard to actually,

do it, I’ve noticed.


Xerxes Voshmgir : Okay.

And, from your

experience from the last two months

with the companies that you work, do you

have the impression that most companies

are resilient, or do you see that,

Xerxes Voshmgir : it’s very problematic?

What’s happening right

now for many companies?

What’s your impression.

Poonam Balan: I mean, it depends.

It’s very industry specific

and very sector specific.

So it really depends,

on one hand, if I pick, let’s say,

a social development goal and cut

across the private to for profit,

you know, to not profit to social

sector and see what’s being done.

there’s a lot

of lack of clarity in a sense.

You see on one hand, he jobs still

being posted up for positions,

therefore showing that the companies

are actually, so keeping those,

those, those pathways through.

But a lot of the companies we work with,

they’re not exactly very open to giving

announcements at the moment as well.

So, you know, a lot of PR work is

being reshuffled and all the initial

hopes that a lot of these entities had.

Are not exactly working in the

way, you know, people want.


still so much being done.

That’s the truth.

There’s so much going on, but

a lot of people are not sure.

A lot of organizations are not

sure how to communicate those

priorities into the future.

So, I mean, it depends if you’re,

if you’re Adidas and you received,

you know, the stipend

that they did right now, the

funding that they did right now and

what they’re doing, and you’re so

clear and you had already a very.

clear, dedicated

move into the conservation work

and what they were doing, then it

was, then it’s easier for them.

They’re going to probably show more

traction and more resilience because

they already were on the same purpose.

but companies that

are finding that now are probably

getting really jolted, you know?


What I find is a lot of people

want to come out with stories.

So I have to pull it out even more.

Say, Hey, talk about

your environmental work.

Talk about the emissions.

And the pushback right now

is, but why would I do that?

There’s, you know, we have

to address the job loss.

We have to address other,

PR stories and brand stories that

are more important than, you know.

It comes back to basically

allowing your colleagues to do

what they do and trusting them.

And maybe if there’s Crossfield

anxiety from HR to front-end sales,

then those anxiety

points have to be maybe also

just aired out a little bit more.

So that’s a lot of hesitation

is what I’m seeing.

A lot of hesitation that’s unnecessary.

And then I find out that

it’s largely because of.

Just the lack of trust

or a lack of prioritization or,

you know, just people not finding

the way to the end of the tunnel.

And some folks are looking at new careers

trying to, but they’re unsure, you know?

So you’ve got a lot of leaders that

have not had their ability, their chance

to really truly lead for frustrated.

And are pushing

into looking left and right and

losing their own sense of purpose.

It’s, it’s pretty debilitating.

I think a lot of people feel

like they can’t do a lot, so.

That’s tough.


Xerxes Voshmgir : Since you just

talked about

purpose, what

do you think,

how important is purpose right now

during this crisis and in general.

Poonam Balan: Huge, huge.

Yeah, it is.

It is unfortunate that we need

stress and pressure and scarcity

to make us innovate and create.

It is unfortunate as, as a human

species today, it always has to,

you know, we always have to get the

little bit of this amount of stress

for us to actually produce something.

So I think.

But those who were already on that

path of adjusting themselves and

committing themselves to something

greater than, you know,

monetary instruments or social capital

recognition or, all

these other things that don’t really

give you, yeah resilience for your own

career, your own charge, however long

you’re blessed to stay on this planet.

I think for those who started it that.

life is probably

a little bit more palatable,

right now.

And they probably know how to work

with, within that context when they

look at their colleagues left and right,

and they know how to coach and, and,

you know, bring that person on and

say, Hey, I was doing these things.

I was writing a journal every morning.

I was, I

joined the 5:00 AM club.

I, I, I did all these

things around my life.

So that I could uphold my purpose and I

didn’t know my purpose for a long time

and I did this, this, this, this, to get

it clear, that kind of soft skill that.

Ability to look inward and outward

and be accepting of where you are

is helping a lot with the people

that went down that path and the

teams that went down that path.

But the teams that didn’t go

down that path, it’s a shock.

I see teams that I will,

we will try to work with again and again,

and they go back to the same thing.

Oh my God, I can’t

believe this has happened.

So, you know, it’s still.

But it just, it just takes time.

So those are practicing on purpose.

They understand, you know, they would

see the value of a target picture,

simple format that shows why, when,

what, how, you know, and where are

you in that then and when you tell

them, okay, now let’s take this tool,

which is a very simple canvas tool.

And then use it for another purpose

of mapping, maybe a flow in a supply

chain or mapping a gap between

cross-sectoral relationships.

They’re ready to invest.

More of their acumen than even,

provide opinion

that is, maybe they’re not too

sure of, but they have a hunch.

So there’s more intuitive ability with

the people that have gone down that route.

anybody who

was basically had any.

Personal coach that talks about purpose

or they’ve done some company wide

programs or training, they’re a lot

more susceptible to allowing their

skill and their intuition, which is

their personal ability, their soft

skill, and the attic aptitudes to

actually flourish and take them further.

Those that have not,

it’s really a tough time.

So a lot of empathy, a lot of

how tos, simple steps, you know,

I did this and I

failed a lot of that kind of sharing.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Okay.


do you think that now this crisis might

be opportunity that, the

topic of purpose becomes a bigger role in

companies and maybe even in the economy?

Poonam Balan: Oh, definitely.


you know, you see ESG

funds, for example, bond indexes

coming up with even more clarity.

Now we’ve seen some success happened

in a lot of countries, but now.

I think more than ever, people

are looking from all angles.

If you’re a investor or you’re a issuer,

or you’re a startup that is working with

a fund that has an acceleration fund

for you, everyone’s now

starting to become maybe a little bit more

interested in benchmarks, you know, like

ESGs, like as responsible

investing or social development goals.

Now, people, I think, have the

opportunity to take a deeper look.

The unfortunate thing though is a lot

of these frameworks that we have out

there, when you overlay them, it becomes

extremely convoluted again, in the, in

the world of sustainability and impact,

and there’s not a lot of people from other

fields outside like communications or

PR or branding that are cross bred like

myself that come in and do a lot of work.

To clarify that.

So while there is interest, the

genuine talent that want to come

out and do something different like

yourself, you know,

find themselves still asking the same

questions again, again, and again.

Why does this framework matter?

Is, are the decisions

we are making based on a lack of

clarity of multiple frameworks

actually going in the right direction?

Or am I doing the same thing I did

before when I had all the security of

my career, for example, before Covid 19.

You know, so some people are

pressing on for higher personal

standards, individual

thought and some people are not.

And Perhaps we

need, I do see a need for a

lot more candid conversation.

If you don’t understand something,

just say you don’t, you know,

I hate being by myself alone

and, and I find, Oh no, it just

puts on people hat, you know?

I’ve also representing a very

different voice most of the times.

So all this kind of stuff, I think has to

stop in the way we interact about things.

While there is interest,

there’s still not much clarity.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Okay.


please tell us, is actually

purpose part of your work

that you also offer, or is it.

A thing that you have clarity

about yourself and your company and

indirectly becomes part of your work.

I think it’s indirectly part

of my work, but it’s always been there.

I’ve been in CSR

since, 2007, 2006.

so I’ve been.

Working in, in, you know, corporate

governance, CSR,

qualifiers, running campaigns,

doing all sorts of

galvanizing, and then using that for

the post rebranding after restructuring.

You know, I was a greening ambassador.

I started a bunch of SLPs on

my own at that time, which

has survived all this years.

And, and for the company awards

and recognition from industry

players and stuff like that.

but I remember

the grassroots of it.

I remember when I started

it, and I remember the human,

human fight against it.

When I said, let’s not have

styrofoam cups, let’s have paper

cups and everyone went away, it’s

going to burn my hand, you know?

and in Canada and

everyone wanted hotter drinks.

I said, why?

It’s a small change.

And I found myself at a very

early age, leading upwards.

But having to use negative

marketing, having to use fear and

having to use all sorts of awful

storylines to make people change.

And I thought, gosh, this is terrible.

And then I moved to working with

’em, a bunch of agencies as a

public fund owner and running.

Talent strategy for countries.

So then they came to pitch to me instead

and I was like, okay, let’s put all these

agencies together and see what they do.

Actual, you know, return on value rather

than our way and out of advertising.

All these metrics that they use.

It didn’t matter to me.

I just thought they were all just dopamine

boosters that don’t really give me a

quality database that I can work with

because the kind of people I was looking

for were a different echelon of people.

I was looking for people that

have resilience, not just the

global career, you know, and

have something unique to offer.

So throughout my career, purpose

has been a very much a pointing

guard of where things should go.

it’s been maybe easier

for me in some ways too, to understand

my purpose because I’ve had to the,

yeah, I was born mixed heritage.

I was always positioned as such.

I was always having to compete

to approve a lot of capabilities.

At least I felt so and so.

For me, the purpose number one was always

to, you know, do what I thought was a

better standard than the status quo.

And I’ve never thought that the status

quo was ever good enough because I

came from come from a medical family,

and we all always just sort of very

humbly say, no matter what it is that

you do, humankind seems to also, you

know, just move at one step at a time.

But sometimes we move in the wrong step.

So for me, purpose is, it

was never called purpose.

in my household,

but it was called, you better

do something that is the norm.

go what you represent.

So yeah, for me, it’s been part of my

career, but for other people, it’s,

Perhaps it’s not, you

know, and, I, I do

sometimes wish I had a different purpose.

for example, saving

turtles, you know, that was not related

to my skin color or my representation

of a minority voice, or I do wish I

could flip between them, but what I

found out with that, with adult life is

you can’t do it all at the same time.


Xerxes Voshmgir : you talked about the

status quo and challenging the status quo.

So which paradigms do you think

need to be challenged in your

field of expertise in the world?

Poonam Balan: at the moment you,

before I was really advocating

before this crisis, I was really

advocating for a strong legacy

brands, that hold up a.

A cultural identity to look

at themselves deeper in there,

corporate governance and their CSR.

You know, so I, I typically pick up

annual reports, go to shareholder

meetings as an investor myself.

pull up a bunch of friends

who are in that field, talk about certain

things that “Hey could be better”.

And then if there is something that

we can improve, we will improve.

So before it was always about CSR

was Picking up a better role.

I mean, because I’ve always worked in

the employer branding stance, right?

I mean, 10 years ago, 12 years

ago, you know, it was different.

And, I guess because

my career started in transformation,

I’m always looking for when that

earthquake is going to happen.

And do we have a robust

enough, identity

that will bring us together?

You know, so.

At the moment now that focus of like,

okay, let’s get, you know, companies,

comms and HR to work together better,

with their strategy

team, build those structures in.

Now it’s become desperate run

for human capital understanding.

And that’s, that’s really difficult

because a lot of companies don’t want to

expose those things at the moment because

they’re not sure what they want to do.

I don’t know when those doors

are going to really open.

but I suspect I really have

to start to focus on recruitment firms

and what is happening in talent as well.

And then probably delve a little

bit more into labor laws and

how things are working there.

So it’s, it’s a lot of now putting

different generational perspectives in

a room, getting everyone excited about a

singular point and just going that way.

Otherwise, there’s not

going to be much, much help with anything.

And I think a lot of markets right

now, if you look at the weaker that

we all IX Washington is expecting to

return, it’s not going to return it.

If you don’t watch a job attrition

next to unemployment, for example, if

companies are still pushing out the

best assets every two, three years,

ever five years, you’re not going to

build anything for the future because

that big white space it’s still there.

That’s where the new business models

are, and that’s where the money is.

So I tell people 15 business models

that I could do in my little think-do

tank, but do I do it under my brand?

No, not necessarily.

I do it under other brands.

I help other brands.

Should I join a fund?


But it will take me time to probably

figure out if they’re actually of

the same value spectrum as well.

So I think.

Human capital is a topic we have to get

into collectively, everyone and impact.

Because if you can’t sustain this big flux

that we’re having right now, and if you

don’t know what the MNCs are talking about

when they mean human capital or what the

SMEs talk about when naming human capital

or what the solopreneur talks about,

then we’re going to miss each other.

again, it comes back to

that, you know, crisis caused empathy.

So, yeah, this has to be raw.

And it’s unfortunate when sometimes you

bring up the word human capital and people

say, I don’t really want to talk about it.

I was dealing with it.

Until that’s done, we can

open up that conversation.

and I’m like being part of

the banking industry before, during the

other crisis, like not much has changed.

So why would it, why would you change now?

You know, and if you’re uncomfortable

to talk about it, you’re

uncomfortable to talk about it.

But, questions like,

are our companies or our organizations

doing good exit interviews?

Are they still understanding

people’s personal goals?

So are they building

personal purpose plans?

Do they want

to know those things, right?

Do they want to know that their

employees are looking for jobs on the

side and they’re just sticking around

with this job now because they have to,

what can you do more to,

to give them more value,

to make them feel more valuable?

You know, things like that.

So I think human capital is, is huge.


It’s just the beginning of the numbers

that we see, and that’s really, really sad

and really unfortunate because there, the

other worry I have is the recovery rate.

No one’s talking about recovery rate

in this talent space, which is, let’s

face it, it’s one leg in, in the entire

organization is people, you know, it’s

people that hold everything up, but I

don’t see a lot of content coming out

about how they’re going to recover.

Xerxes Voshmgir : came up now, because

you talked much about

human capital: a lot

of people think that they have a calling.

And so my question is, I really

always think about humanity, and I

have this idea of,

I have this impression that maybe

humanity has a calling, as such,

we as humanity, not just we as as

individuals, and now we are in the crisis.

It might get even severe, not the

pandemic but the economic crisis.

So if humanity had the calling,

what do you think it would be.

To help

your brother and sister.

That’s it.

To just do, If you see

someone that needs anything, just do it.

That’s, that’s what we need.

That’s it’s those basic

inclinations to just push present

yourself as a, as a human.

Fellow human person living through the

difficulties of life and saying, look,

I want to give you a hand, you know?

and, and being able

to just also take the rejection of

maybe someone who was not as secure to

receive that help from you at that time.

But you have to, you have

to just keep doing that.

And I think, we’ve made our

systems and our businesses and everything,

we do so complicated that we forget that.

just sort of turning

around and saying, Hey, what do you need?

And I can give you a connection

or something like that.

So a lot more of that, if it comes

back, that would be a lot better.

I don’t think, I don’t

think picking the Matic elements

and pushing people to share or doing

anything right now is a good idea.

It’s more, I’m here for you.

This is what I have.

And so if we talk about companies, a

lot more transparency would be nice.

you know, less of.

Packaged, collaterals

that people like me are very good

at doing, but to me know where

the real value is and isn’t.

And so it’s a lot of shifts in that way.

I mean, in one way that we’re doing it

is, instead of talking

about tasks with some colleagues

or the youth board, for example.

We just do it right then and there and

that show of that I’m here for you.

And even though I don’t see you

and I’m not an office with you,

I don’t get to be there with you.

Come with me in time, you know, come

with me and the existence that we

have and, and let’s be very humbly

appreciative that we can be here together.

And I truly try to to be

very granular about that.

And I think as a female, it’s also easier

maybe in some ways to be more caring.

but it’s,

I need to do more of it.

That’s what I’ve learned now, and

that’s, that’s hard on a lot of people.

So one thing I’ve seen is

people can’t keep it up.

but maybe, maybe together

we can, you know, so who knows?

Xerxes Voshmgir : Okay.

And, I mean, now we.

Have as operating system,

in the economy

that is, mostly

profits oriented.

So what do you think needs to happen?

That we get towards an economy

that is more oriented towards

that we care for each other.

I think.

I think, again, it’s, it’s creating

a buffet of options,

that people can, can, human

beings can engage in, right?

As human beings first.

And we, the world created these options,

for example, in tech media, but with

Facebook and social channels and so on.

I was one of the first few people who.

I, although I use social

channels to generate leads, I

never used emotional marketing.

as a system, I never

believed in it because I came, I come

from a family of medical professionals,

and if I were to do that, I would undo

the work of all the neuroscientists

than your surgeons and my family

and, and all of those who were

fighting for Ayurvedic treatment.

you know, cannabinoid

treatment, a psychedelic treatment

versus a typical pharma driven agendas.

And I’ve been part of that pharma

driven agenda since I was a child.

I used to do the medication, not a stock.

And I used to always ask questions like,

why this medicine versus this ones, this

has kidney failure as a side effect.

Why are we doing it to the world?

Why me, you know?

And, I

was very irritating kid.

So I think, I mean, yeah.

If we don’t become clear, essentially

we’re not giving people options.

We’re doing the same

thing again and again.

It’s, it’s a real struggle.

for us with tech hub,

we want to turn 70, 30 into our

contributions to youth, to talent

development, to youth talent development.

And that doesn’t mean we’re, we’re

giving up on the gen Xers or the

baby boomers or anybody else.

No, that’s not the point.

We just have to re configure how we

work and we want more peer to peer

sponsorship rather than just mentoring.

Worked with quite a

bit of mentoring entities and we

find that not to be our business.

if we were interested

in marginal earnings with, you know,

IP sharing and all this kind of

stuff, that maybe that would be our

business, but we didn’t want to do that.

So there’s nuances that

have to shift with our rule.

So 70% going into the development of

that, and that’s a new profit structure.


It was before a personal home savings

structure, you know, keep spend

level of life, and then spend that

on, you know, education and self

enrichment as, as, as a human being

to improve your skills and stuff.

Save it.

That was an old, old rule.

But now I see a lot of

event entities also taking this approach

of just directly giving profits back.

for us.

The challenge will be, of course,

then eventually to be able to

actually share our financials openly.

like some funds do it

and you know, they use different metric

quantifiers but we should be able

to at least show that,

as, as some way, even though we’re

very small, how do we actually do it?


If we don’t improve on these transparent

ways of building business models,

and if we don’t shorten

the learning, you know, for people to

be able to do that, and that’s going

to be really difficult because every

cohort you join, there’s an agenda.

Swimming through that agenda and getting

that basic level of learning is insane.

If you join, if you could just

walk down all, all the ventures

in Palo Alto alone, you’ll be.


And at the end you feel incapable,

confused, you know, the same things.

Again, it’s just bad, vicious cycle.


I really want to see a lot more

companies put up like,

maybe a letter, an annual letter

from the owner saying,

this is why we’re doing this.

This is what we’re doing and we are

moving this amount of money to this.

Or we were trying this business model out.

If you’d like the idea, come join us.

Here’s, here’s, here’s

your profit margins.

Here’s mine.

Here’s, you know, something to that point.

otherwise this

distress is going to continue.

At least that’s what we’re

learning with our youth board.

There’s huge distrust and that’s

directly becoming mental health issues

and directly becoming dependencies

on our medical systems.

So yeah.


I think

transparency gives people hope.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Yeah.

My final question is really about

your legacy and basically what, what

impact do you want to, if you look

back to your life,

from that perspective, what did,

what impact would you have had

liked to have had on humanity.

Poonam Balan: I wish I

didn’t play the game so much

and help people more.

I put my hand

on their shoulders, like I

could have a coffee with them.

You know, I, I do wish I connected

more authentically and I’m a pretty

authentic person if there is a barometer.

But I do wish, especially because

I come from a field where I

packaged stories for a group.

Gosh, what is it all worth?

Now, you know, if you.

If you didn’t strip that gift,

there was always these rules of

the game, and so much time got

wasted into all of that, you know?

when I ended up becoming

a VP anyways, of a

little company, but attached to very

big pockets and a big conglomerate and

the mobile telecom optioning industry,

which we call mobile virtual network

operators or aggregators, you know?

So the amount of knowledge

I had was tremendous.

And I do question myself,

what did I do with it?

And I didn’t really, I didn’t

offer it any transparency.

It was actually a lot of

times my job to hide that.



That’s something that I really now

look at it and think, geez, I could

run a day sprint and explain all these

different strategies and formats too.

So only to expose only this much in

the communication pipeline, because

we assume we’re going to have

this control, and then, and then

suddenly, you know, now we’re in a

situation where does it really matter?

You know?

Because if you look at

capitalism, if you stimulate.

And you are open.

We’ll get your front

runners anyways, you know?

And they will build little companies

and little families and little

pockets of good and all of that jazz.

I really don’t regret that.


But it’s, it’s a common

thing I hear from a lot of people, a lot

of us sitting in this room, positions

who have had senior leadership also

now, of course question, how we spend

our time, you know,

I was always in CSR, always an

impact, always in sustainability.

So at least I have some, some brownie

badges, but at the same time, I’m

telling myself, It’s

not fair to myself to hold onto those.

I, on one hand, I say I have an

innate purpose to represent a

marginalized perspective in my own

way, my own little liberal way.

Then what did I do to allow that?

You know?

So, Yeah.

I think a lot more consciousness of how

I spend my time and maybe for me it’s

going to be a little bit more taking.


Extra time early in the day to

figure out, well, how am I going

to connect on a human level today?

Am I going to be more patient?

Am I going to be more,

what’s my theme?

What, what’s, what’s the

terminal value about myself?

I’m going to change today?

You know, that’s something I’m

trying out and it’s been nice.

Nice, nice to end days.

Look back and think, Oh geez.

Maybe I should have

exercised this value more earlier.

Xerxes Voshmgir : Well,

thank you very much.

Thank you all

for this interesting conversation

and yeah, so I wish you a good day



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