After studying Computer Science and Business Administration at the University of Southern California, Meha joined Goldman Sachs before dabbling into the world of startups. As one of the earliest employees at both The Muse and Stitch Fix, Meha was quickly inspired to begin one of her own. Combining her skills as a software engineer and passion for product and design, she teamed up with her cofounder Joseph Yao to cofound SILK + SONDER, a company committed to redefining self-help to self-investment. In her free time, Meha teaches Bollywood Cardio Fitness classes and enjoys mentoring the next generation of women in building and scaling their respective companies.
How did you get to where you are today?
I am where I am today because of the underlying commitment to be myself, no matter the circumstance nor the consequence. As an extroverted software engineer by trade and entrepreneur by choice, I’ve never quite fit the traditional mold and I’ve been okay with that. I started my career at Goldman Sachs but learned quickly that the financial industry was not for me- I craved to work on problems for audiences I could better identify and empathize with. That led me to joining The Muse as their eighth employee and I fell in love with the idea of creating a company from scratch. I made sure to surround myself with the best and the brightest and even as I dabbled in my own entrepreneurial pursuits, I wanted one more opportunity to work for a profitable mid-sized company that encompassed both the challenges of technology and physical products so I joined an online personal styling company. Founding SILK + SONDER has been the most gratifying experience- I have a wonderful cofounder whose energy I feed off of and we’re both lucky to have created something in an industry we love. We can’t wait to morph our planner subscription service into a larger service centered around self-care / self-investment / authenticity so that we can inspire people to achieve their goals and live the lives they’ve always dreamed of.
What was your toughest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
My toughest obstacle has been to let go of the desire to be perfect from the get-go. Perhaps this chase for perfection stems from my background in programming, where one missed semicolon can prevent your code from compiling, but in past entrepreneurial feats, I always felt like my product wasn’t “good enough” to be in front of my customers. It ended up costing me time, energy, and confidence. With SILK + SONDER, I’ve changed my mindset completely because I know that we’re creating something special and with every iteration, we can only get better. Spending more time “executing” rather than “over planning” usually does the trick.
What’s the key to staying focused & motivated?
This is a skill that will forever require more mastery! In fact, our SILK + SONDER issues cover techniques on how to get better. In my experience, two strategies work phenomenally well: (1) Identifying the *one thing* that we can do such that by doing it, everything else gets easier or unnecessary and doing that first, (2) Timeboxing everything else. Together, these work wonders.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Don’t ever settle because the moment you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than what you settled for.” I love this advice because it can really apply to every area of your life and at every stage. It’s a reminder to continuously take stock of your situation, be it professionally or personally and assess how you’re doing and feeling against what you want to do and how you want to feel. Only we know what we truly want, and that’s exactly what we deserve.
What advice do you have for someone who is looking to start a new venture?
The most obvious answer: just do it! But do it in the way that makes most sense to you- if you’re more risk averse, do it in small phases, test it out and convince yourself the leap is worth it. If you’re a go-getter, jump all in! You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by getting your product in front of customers and iterating until you get it right. That entrepreneurial bug is incurable, so it’s best to embrace it and run with it!
How do we get more women leaders?
We will get more women leaders when we stop comparing ourselves to others and each other, recognizing and fighting against existing divides and societal expectations, and most importantly, investing in women-founded companies solving women’s problems. I think it’s also crucial that we celebrate those, men and women, who help women thrive in the workplace- we can’t do this alone.
What does success mean to you?
When you feel challenged, energized, and zen all at the same time, consistently. Ideally, success is a succession of constant wins.
What are your secrets to productivity?
Doing the most important thing first, timebox everything else, and choose one hobby that makes you come alive to reset. (For me, this is dance!)
If you had a life motto, what would it be?
Imagine, innovate, inspire.