Founder of Emparity & Entrepreneurial Scientist.
Pahini pursued a PhD in cancer research at King’s College London followed by postdoctoral studies at the University of Cambridge. Throughout her journey as a scientist, she has worked towards facilitating translation of research to help the wider community through several leadership positions at the, Innovation Forum (KCL), Cambridge Consulting Network and Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge. More recently, she is working on building a tech venture using technology to empower patients and doctors for improving healthcare access.
She has also founded a non-profit, Emparity, which empowers women and educates children to eliminate poverty in India. Her efforts to promote women empowerment, gender parity and inclusivity are also channelled through her role as the Curator (Cambridge Hub), One Health tech and Biz Dev Manager at Scheherazade Speaks Science.
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity is multidimensional and tough to explain but at a very high level, it’s pretty much what my mum often reminds us – “it takes all kinds of people to make this world”. I guess that’s very true, the pieces of a puzzle are not all alike but fit together to make a complete picture. If one piece goes missing, you cannot have the whole picture – as a biologist I dealt with this fact everyday. I think that’s what makes it so important and why we need to think more about inclusion.
Why do you care about diversity?
I have been lucky enough to have grown up in India and lived in London, places so rich in diversity – whether that’s people, thoughts, culture, food or language. This has instilled a deep sense of appreciation for the differences that we all have. Some of the people closest to me are fundamentally very different to me and they constantly challenge me to see the world in a different light. This experience has helped me grow immensely and is precisely why it’s so important at a personal level.
What inspired you to start your current journey?
I’ve always been a person who is driven by emotions and passion. Experiences throughout my life have served as the inspiration for each step of my journey. I guess, every time I felt strongly about some problem I got motivated to solve it. Counterintuitively, my biggest inspiration is frustration – for instance when I see my loved ones suffering and I cannot help. I guess that why I focused so much on translating research to healthcare and more recently promoting gender inclusivity and access to education.
Who is your role model?
I haven’t had one single role model but lots of different role models. Most of my role models are people I see, meet or work with in daily life. Each of them have something that makes me look up to them. I guess, diversity plays a massive role here too!
What is one thing you wish you knew five years ago?
It’s not just what you know but who you know matters too – people often tend to look at this as who you are connected with/ what networks you have. In reality it is the diversity of those networks that really matters, it will directly affect what you know too. Never dismiss anyone just because you don’t find anything in common with them, treat it as a learning experience.
What is your advice to a young person starting their career or entrepreneurial journey?
Be curious and be persistent. Curiosity will help you discover things you never thought were possible and persistence will help you achieve those things. Failure will be everywhere you go, so don’t give up, treat it as a step towards success and focus on what you learn from it.