An Interview with Venkataraman L.N.
Nivi Jaswal is an intersectional vegan advocate and social entrepreneur in the Boston, Massachusetts area. She founded The Virsa Foundation Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit and the JIVINITI Research Program after healing herself on a Whole Food Plant-based lifestyle. In addition to holding a BA (Psychology, Sociology), an MBA (Consumer Behavior Marketing) and extensive international corporate experience in the consumer packaged goods, medical devices and media & research sectors, Nivi is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) trained at the Mayo Clinic. She is passionate about developing creative multidisciplinary intersectional content and designing unique research collaborations aimed at communities of color in the U.S., South Asia and elsewhere.
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Nivi Jaswal’s Life Story
Nivi Jaswal’s Profile Summary
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Nivi Jaswal’s Wisdom in Threes
Describe yourself in three words
Define life in three words
Three things which have been your greatest source of inspiration
- My Parents: Anthropologists, Research Scientists, Loving in their own ways, Ambitious, Energetic and Values-aligned.
- World Travel: I have lived and worked in 7 diverse countries and traveled to >47. Travel is hands down the best education ever!
- Meditation: The biggest inspiration and motivation that drives me is to commune with my Higher Self, in silence and solitude, and learn from the eternal wisdom of the soul that has experience far beyond the dimension of human, mortal, material life. I call this meeting my own Self in the proverbial â€œRumiâ€™s Fieldâ€.
Three challenges you faced in life
- Witnessing the deaths of all my grandparents as a teenager and in 2020, my father (he was only 69 years old) due to avoidable food-borne chronic Illness such as Type II Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Breast and Prostate Cancer â€“ all of which are mistaken to be part of oneâ€™s genetic destiny but are easily preventable and in some cases, reversible through a Whole Food Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free lifestyle that embraces plants and shuns animal products full of violence, hormones, antibiotics and inflammatory ingredients. My father was infected with SARS-CoV-2 but he had preexisting comorbidities that led to his tragic and untimely passing. Hereâ€™s a blog I wrote about this.
- Patronizing patriarchy in large corporations â€“ in South Asia and elsewhere in the world â€“ which promotes a lopsided model of leadership, teamwork and collaboration. This often means that women must either mirror the â€œAlpha Maleâ€ norms of whatâ€™s traditionally defined as success OR shadow it, either way losing touch with their own femininity and worse, not having viable role models of Sustainable Female Leadership. My latest LinkedIn post offers but merely a threadbare glimpse.
- Grief â€“ Losing grandparents is hard enough but losing oneâ€™s parent, no matter how old or young, is extremely difficult. My father was a strong force in my life, value system and continues to be, even in his transition from the physical plane. His passing has helped me redefine my professional purpose. I am ever more passionate to contribute towards building plant-powered intersectional awareness and helping raise awareness of how the various â€œ-ismsâ€ in the world (materialism, carnism, hedonism, speciesism) have permeated our food system leading to issues of pandemic proportions in public health and planetary health at this time.
Three ideas to build resilience to face challenges
- MEDITATE: Drop all escapes and excuses. Invest the time to sit in silence and solitude, and dare to truly meet your Higher Self. There is an entire Universe to be found in Stillness, Emptiness and Nothingness. It has a wildly amazing way of redefining oneâ€™s day, or even oneâ€™s entire life!
- And, once youâ€™ve sat in spiritual stillness – MOVE. Sitting has become the smoking of our generation. We take our stress sitting down foveating into blue-light emitting boxes of various shapes and sizes, yearning for digital dopamine to make us happy. Movement, Fitness and Exercise â€“ especially outdoors â€“ can do wonders for resiliency.
- CREATIVITY: Human beings are inherently creative so I urge you to challenge any limiting beliefs around this term. Indulge yourself with your favorite playlist, or draw random Zen doodles, or immerse yourself into a spontaneous colorful interaction with paint on canvas, or putty in your hands over a potterâ€™s wheel. Pour your heart out so it can fill up again. Itâ€™s one of the most therapeutic and clinically proven ways to build resilience.
Three essential things needed to achieve success
- “A deep seated belief in the inherent goodness of humankind â€“ everyone of us is struggling with something. ”
- A spirit of giving more than one receives â€“ thatâ€™s the golden key to abundance!
- Finding work that truly aligns with oneâ€™s values â€“ else, it will remain â€œa job, a livelihoodâ€ and force you to keep playing small.
Top three practices and habits you would advise to young students
- “Keep a daily journal and practice â€œstream of consciousnessâ€ writing ”
- Practice gratitude and kindness on a daily basis, almost as though it was a KPI / Key Performance Indicator for your Compassion Quotient
- Offer time to your parents, mentors, teachers â€“ they will be gone before you know it. Find a way to celebrate their values and legacy!
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Nivi Jaswal’s Awards and Rcognition
- In 2007-08, I was the marketing lead for Unileverâ€™s largest Home & Personal Care field study that lasted a full year and included special health & hygiene intervention for children 7-9 years old in Dharavi (Mumbai), an initiative which subsequently led to the Cannes winning #helpachildreach5 campaign and several others for the Lifebuoy brand in South Asia and internationally.
- In 2012, I led the team responsible for Unileverâ€™s first â€œclean labelâ€ artificial ingredients free Mayonnaise in Eastern Europe and the advertisement campaign for this launch scored very high on effectiveness in the Millward-Brown Ads Database for Foods & Beverages.
- Founder and President, The Virsa Foundation Inc and the JIVINITI Research Program