Ruchika Tulshyan is the CEO of Candour, an Angel Investor and the author of The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality in the Workplace. She eschews boxes, colors outside the lines, and believes deeply that diversity is essential for success, and that it takes a village to raise an idea.
Tell us about the professional journey that took you where you are today. What major lessons did you learn along the way?
First things first: I don’t fit into any boxes – especially professionally. In my life, I’ve been (and am) a journalist, author, speaker, inclusion strategist, professor, technology marketer, editor, media startup co-founder, investor, entrepreneur…and more. That is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned – if you have too narrow a perspective, you risk catalyzing the full power that you bring to the world. Second, you can’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone. Anyone who tells the world they did, is lying. Take a chance on others, like the people before you did on you. Last, but never least: successes in the past depended on creative very narrow, exclusive cultures – like a white male billionaires list, where only a privileged few could benefit. Future successes will depend on large, inclusive cultures where everyone contributes their full selves, and everyone benefits. Actively seek perspectives different from yours. Refuse to accept something unless it reflects a number of diverse viewpoints.
What (or who) motivates you?
My Mum. An immigrant woman of color who is on track to become Singapore’s first female property developer. And the best Mum ever.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
I’m still too often the only woman of color in a room. I routinely get asked to re-state my qualifications or prove I belong there, or get talked over. I’m underestimated often – and often wonder if I’m invisible. But as Leslie Feinzaig says: “If they don’t see you, they can’t see you coming.”
Looking forward, what’s next for you? What milestones would you like to reach?
Motivate more womxn (of color) to become leaders, advocates speakers, entrepreneurs and investors. Becoming a better known investor myself.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for women or non-binary founders?
If putting yourself out there feels scary/unnatural, don’t do it for yourself; do it for all the womxn behind you who still don’t have nearly enough role models who look like them blazing trails.
Also: In a hustle-only culture, it’s radical to take breaks. Take breaks.