My Dad often asked me as I grew up: are you helping people? Among his many amazing sayings that have a lasting impact on me, this one served both a the roots from me feet, and my north star. As I sought out educational and professional opportunities, it was a question he’d often ask me. It is a question that keeps me honest about my work, and who I am.
My commitment has been to figure out how to help people live better today that yesterday. This path turned and emerged through work in policy, direct services, international efforts, living in war zones and slums. It also evolved through the non profit sector, government, and philanthropy. For me it was critical that we find ways to weave power, resources, and ideas together that can benefit communities. We don’t live our lives in neat “sector silos” Our problems and successes are due to complexities either working in our favor or not. I was committed to learning how to connect the dots from the inside the dot to lean towards favor.
There was a lot of noise when I was launching Saathi – from inside and outside! What is your 5 year business plan? What is your market? Why “saathi.” No will get that, just go with BP Consulting or something. And also: can I really do this? The world doesn’t need any more consultants! Should I? Can I? How? What is this work all about? Really about??
I found a quite corner of a coffee shop on cold snowy day and did some searching. I don’t have a 5 year plan – my own thinking doesn’t conform to that. I didn’t have all the answers – learning, curiosity, and asking questions is part of who I am. I didn’t know if it would work out – but I knew I could figure it out and try.
To turn down the volume on the noise, I got quiet. And found articulated my principles.
As I take on a new chapter of social good entrepreneurship, I resolve to:
First, be of service to my mission. Advance good and better for people. My mission is to of service not for a “bottom line” but intstead, and higher bar.
Second, I resolve to do solid, honest, good work for my clients. I will hustle to find answers, tools, and pathways for those also committed to social good. Your mission is my mission. I am all in.
And last, I will come from abundance. Our challenges are big and complex. There is more than enough space for our collective smarts and energy to invest in problem solving. Scarcity is not a good look.
Saathi means with/partner. This word deeply defines how I work with clients – we partner on making progress. I don’t consult from behind the glass or through templates. Partnering means we listen, collaborate, and connect.
My work, Saathi’s work, is ever evolving. I work with clients who are deeply committed to social good, progress, and taking on the authentic, real, tough challenges of reshaping our systems, selves, and communities.
Let's do this.
Written by Bina M. Patel.