Neha D. Uberoi: An Organization for South Asians in Sports by South Asians in Sports
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Neha Uberoi, the co-founder and CEO of South Asians in Sports. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Neha, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is South Asians in Sports addressing?
Neha: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! South Asians in Sports is an organization that brings together South Asians who work in sports from around the world. Our mission is to educate, advocate for, and inspire South Asians to work in sports within any industry.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Neha: When my sister, Shikha and I played professional tennis we didn't see many South Asians who worked in sports. I wanted to create something that would support and encourage my community to see sports as a great career option.
Spiffy: I love that! How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Neha: We work towards making sports a more equitable domain by bringing attention to the importance of having South Asians contribute to every aspect of sports. We advocate for South Asians to speak on sports-industry-related events, we encourage them to apply for and be hired for job opportunities in sports. We connect them in sports to one another to support each other and help each other become successful in their respective careers. Through bringing the South Asian community of sports together, we create opportunities to advance our community in the world of sports.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make?
Neha: In 2022 our network grew to over 800 members, and our efforts to mentor, support, and increase the number of South Asians working in sports has increased tremendously. Recently, a new member shared that she started working in sports thanks to our organization. She never believed she could because she was a girl. She now has a successful career in an agency managing a top athlete's media presence.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Neha: As a leader of a small but mighty organization, failure is part of my journey. As a professional athlete, I met with failure almost every week. One example is when I lost in the finals of a very big tennis tournament. I was extremely disappointed in my result. My opponent had exposed my weaknesses. When I was able to analyze what happened, my coach and I came up with a plan. I worked for three months to improve upon my weaknesses and came back to beat my opponent in the next tournament handily. It felt empowering to overcome a difficult challenge and not succumb to fear and doubt.
Spiffy: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Neha: I recently learned from my four-year-old daughter that rest is just as important as work. My daughter teaches me how to savor rest and relaxation so that I may come back to my work feeling refreshed and excited.
Spiffy: She’s on to something there! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Neha: In my generation as an South Asian-American, many of us believed that our background was something we needed to hide if we wanted to be successful. Now, I am happy to learn that South Asians can see how their background/heritage is an asset to their success and a source of deep pride to show the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Neha—it’s been an honor!
Neha Devi Uberoi is a mental health professional, former professional tennis player, and social entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and CEO of South Asians in Sports, a non-profit organization that advocates for, educates, and promotes a network of over 800 South Asians working in sports globally. (Nominated by Shikha Tandon at SVEXA. First published on the Ladderworks website on August 23, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.