Preet Sohi on How to Overcome Gender Inequality in the Workplace
“A nail in the wall with one hammer” is synonymous with Preet Sohi. A woman of multiple trades and acquired skills ranging from modeling, acting, IT consulting and entrepreneurship. She is a woman that is motivated and passionate about empowering women socio-economically.
A brave soul and dare devil, she knows all about exploring a male dominated world and she knows how to achieve success despite roadblocks and challenges. Explore her captivating journey below.
What led you to become an entrepreneur?
As a child, my passion was in modeling and acting. However, my father always pushed me to become a doctor so I decided that I would become a doctor.
In my first two years of college, I pursued health sciences and I realized I hated it. Without his consent, I moved from Seattle to Los Angeles to pursue theatre. I literally packed my bag in the early morning and left for LA. I didn’t tell my father and because of my decision, he didn’t talk to me for an entire year.
Before I moved to LA, I had never slept nights with an empty stomach – but I did in LA. I used to eat rice and hot sauce and sleep on people’s couches. I wanted to live the American Dream and become an actor. LA hit me, I didn’t have the support and my timing was bad.
I got a job in LA in the corporate sector where I worked for a year before I eventually returned home to my parents. I couldn’t find my passion and I realized there are a lot of women in my similar situation that are trying to find their passion. In that tantrum, I asked myself how do I help women socio-economically? For example, in Seattle, 85% of men and 15% of women are in IT. From that systemic issue arose my platform of raising the 15% and helping women solidify jobs.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
As funny as it sounds, my father who pushed me to be a doctor happens to be my biggest inspiration. Through his push, he taught me the values of successful living. My father unintentionally placed roadblocks in front of me, which in turn challenged me to push myself harder.
I give my father the credit for being my inspiration because without those roadblocks, I wouldn’t be who I am today. My stepmother has been my biggest supporter. She has taught me to follow my dreams. When I told her I didn’t want to pursue my doctorate, she replied, “We are in America. Being in America, the opportunities are enormous and you can be whomever you want.” They both had a huge influence on what I am doing today and without them, I wouldn’t be whom I am today.
Have you encountered negative experiences in the IT world due to your gender?
Oh yeah. I myself have went through the turmoil of job issues and layoffs. For example, in my resume, I have generated over 300% of sales in 3 months that was targeted to be projected in 1 year. However, I lost 2 jobs this year and my 3rd job decreased my pay due to estimated projected sales.
I feel that gender equality is one of the biggest issues in corporate work places. I generated more sales than my male colleagues, yet I was laid off. I do feel gender equality played a role in that decision because women are expected to not be the deal closers or the people who can actually generate business.
I do see the power women possess with the necessary training and coaching like our male counterparts. I’m not stating this as a feminist because I think highly of men such as my father, brother and male mentors but I’m not naïve to my experiences.
Women go to school for computer science but only 15% are landing jobs. Where are the women going who have not landed the jobs in their field? I believe society tells women that you are not capable of doing what men can do. I think women need to start standing up for themselves. As women, we have to stop not allowing society to tell us we are weak. I also think women need to help other women without even asking or questioning each other.
That’s powerful! What would you say is your favorite quote or mantra to live by?
My favorite quote is a quote I wrote myself and it reads, “Be brave enough to move forward without the fear of change.”
To me it says, be brave enough, be strong enough to not worry about what the outcome is going to be. If you feel it in your heart, if you are passionate, and if you know that you are doing the right thing, then why fear the change?
I’ve been raised that when you have a goal or task, you should only look towards achieving that goal. It’s a one track mind and you are unable to see the world. What are the consequences? I’m unable to see the world. I’m unable to understand the people. When you are young, your parents tell you what to do. When you get married, your husbands and in-laws tell you what to do. Then when you get older, your kids tell you what to do. That is the typical life of a woman.
We women have been told what to do all our lives and in the workplace it is the exact same thing. Now, there are more women entrepreneurs that are understanding the power of their ideas and implementation.
I understand like them and have reached out to different resourceful people who are on board with supporting my business plans. All of my mentors and partners possess skills ranging from technology, business start-ups, and brand management. Thus my quote in a nutshell reminds me to be brave and to continue going after my passion.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I’m no expert, but I believe that if you are going to become an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about whatever you decide to do. Your passion is all you need. Once you have your passion and your purpose, then you’re an entrepreneur within yourself already so bring it out.
It took me years to figure this out. Trust me, I was all over the place. Then I asked myself, what am I truly passionate about? I’m passionate about helping people. There is a passion within yourself, find that passion. Whatever you decide to do after that, you will be successful as long as your heart is in it. My one advice is go with your passion, it’s in you.
What are your plans for the future and how can our readers get in contact with you?
I’m hoping that in 2017, I will launch my platform and start a business. For anyone desiring to contact me, they can reach me on social media. I’m very active on social media platforms like Instagram (@oopreetoo) and LinkedIn and I will respond in a timely manner.