Sonu Ratra, Co-founder and President of IT consulting and talent solutions organization, Akraya, has always felt that her personal and professional lives run in parallel. 

As a woman in staffing herself, she recognized the impact a program specifically designed to support women relaunching their careers could have on the workplace. As such, she founded Women Back to Work (WBW), and hasn’t looked back. In addition to aiding women as they reclaim their careers, WBW also enables women to gain financial independence, confidence and skills to be essential role models for their children growing in a changing world.  

Through the years, Sonu pondered why giving back and supporting young girls and women has been so meaningful to her, and she could never find the answer; until she looked back to her childhood; She adds that much of who we are now, comes from who we were then. As a child, Sonu’s mother had spinal cancer and for many years, Sonu never explored the impact it had on her adult life. But despite everything her mother went through, she chose to live a full life, instilling the power of adversity and fearlessness in her children. Sonu also reflects on her benevolent father, who won the same award as Mother Teresa for his dedication to others. Sonu can now confidently say that kindness and her unceasing desire to help others is simply in her DNA.  

When asked for advice for women wanting to serve on boards, she shares “plan and be prepared,” because when the opportunity presents itself – which it will – you’ll need to be ready. That entails doing your research, setting personal goals, letting it be known to the executive world that you are interested in serving on boards, developing your personal brand, and networking to give your effort the sponsorship it needs. Finally, she adds that starting with nonprofits will get you the valuable experience you need to thrive on corporate boards down the line.  

As the conversation continues, Sonu and Leslie also discuss the unexpected moment that changed her life forever, how she finds happiness in everything she does, and Sonu’s favorite part of being an entrepreneur: the people. They also discuss Sonu’s experience with mentorship vs. sponsorship, and her unexpected hobby of extreme sports! We hope you enjoy this episode.