Behind the scenes at PH SPOT with Kajanth and Sujani

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Show Notes

This is the second episode we are recording since the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all try to navigate this new way of life, we at PH SPOT wanted to switch things up and produce a few podcast episodes that are different from our original show.

In today’s episode, Sujani sits down with someone special. You may have heard his name in our intro episode, or in some of our email communications. If you guessed Kajanth, you are absolutely right.

Kajanth, as introduced in our intro episode, is one of the unsung heroes of PH SPOT. He is responsible for how all of the content is delivered to you. He is behind the building of our websites (PH SPOT and, podcasts, and online course, to name a few…Name a PH SPOT product, and Kajanth is probably the reason you can access it on your devices. (Kajanth is also Sujani’s husband!)

For this episode, we thought it would be fun for the two of them to record an unplanned and unscripted episode about PH SPOT. This was an exciting and equally nervous episode to record as neither knew where the conversation was going!

You’ll Learn

  • Who Kajanth is, and his role at PH SPOT (as a non-public health person, what he thinks of public health)
  • The moment PH SPOT began to feel like more than a blog
  • The journey of how PH SPOT came to be
  • The different moments that Sujani and Kajanth remember about building PH SPOT – the fun and the difficult moments
  • The small and big dreams they’ve dreamt up for the future of PH SPOT

Today’s Guest

Sujani Siva

After guiding a number of public health students and new grads over the past 7 years, Sujani created PH SPOT to reach, inspire and support public health professionals. Sujani enjoys seeing people around her grow and become the best version of themselves!

Kajanth Nithiyananthan

Kajanth is a cofounder of PH SPOT and takes care of all things digital and tech on the platform. Kajanth’s strengths lie in the strategy and direction of technology solutions. He has a Bachelors of Commerce degree from Ryerson University, with specialization in Information Technology Management. Kajanth is interested in leveraging his expertise in commerce and technology to add value to community organizations with a focus on health and human rights. Along with PH SPOT, he also serves as a Board of Director at the Human Rights Internet, and was a past Board member of the Tamil Health Association.



Other PH SPOT resources:

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Episode Transcript

Kajanth Nithiy 0:00
Absolutely, I think we’ve learned a lot to the whole journey, what we thought it would be versus what it actually is. And there’s obviously days of euphoria versus days of regret, or not regret but kind of frustration, I guess, when it comes to this. And, and it’s, it’s a typical story of trying to build something kind of from scratch, right. There’s no rulebook, there’s no guidance. Essentially, this is just kind of part of the journey where you need to figure out what you like, what the people want, and how we actually get there, right. So kind of- kind of the adventurous road that we are on right now. And there’s definitely going to be pain points. And also at the same time equally, we’re going to have so many days of great results. And we’re going to be super happy and think that we’re geniuses.

Sujani 0:56
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us Weekly, right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva, from PH SPOT.

Sujani 1:15
Hi, everyone. So this is another episode from our COVID-19 recording. And if you remember from the last episode we recorded, we had acknowledged that it was a tough time for every single one of us. We’re not new to this new way of living with physically distancing ourselves from our loved ones, or working remotely from home or even you know, holding game nights and coffee chats over video with some of our friends. So given that current situation and acknowledging that we may not all be mentally ready to focus on building our career at the moment, we thought with PH SPOT, we could change things up a little bit with our podcast. And, you know, just record a few different episodes. So the last one we did was talking about how to work in a virtual workplace. And this one is a bit different, because we don’t really have a topic per se, but what we are going to do is talk about some behind the scenes stuff that happens at PH SPOT and just reminisce a little bit with you guys here. And so I keep saying we and that’s because today I have someone special on the line with me. And you may have heard his name on our intro episode or in some of our emails, or maybe you’ve chatted with this individual, when you had questions about PH SPOT. If you guessed Kajanth, you are absolutely right. Kajanth, as I introduced to him in our intro episode is one of the unsung heroes of PH SPOT as I like to call it. And he’s responsible for how the content is delivered to you. So from setting up our website, to the newsletter to the podcast to the online course, if you’ve taken it, you name any product, Kajanth is probably the reason you can have access to these. And I’m going to say it with minor technical issues on any of your devices. So thank you to Kajanth for being a very important person of the PH SPOT team. And also in our intro episode, you would have heard me also say that Kajanth is also my husband. So we work very closely on PH SPOT, we have a very big vision for PH SPOT. And so for today’s episode, we thought it’d be fun to jump on a call and record an episode together. And I keep saying jump on a call. That’s because we have been physically distancing ourselves because our lives pre-COVID kind of took us into a very different direction. So to keep our family safe, we have been physically distancing ourselves for the past couple of months. So like any of my other guests, we are on a call with each other. So this will be very interesting and fun. And so maybe at this point, I’ll just ask Kajanth to say hello.

Kajanth Nithiy 4:07
Hi, everyone. Hi, Sujani.

Sujani 4:09
Hello. So we haven’t really planned the course of the podcast episode or any topics. So I think I’m excited and equally nervous to see where this conversation goes. And I think we will either have a brainstorming session, which we often do when we start talking about PH SPOT and dream up all of the possible ways to support you guys. Or we’re going to go down the path of how much work PH SPOT has been so I think that’s my guess, I don’t know if you have any predictions, Kajanth.

Kajanth Nithiy 4:43
I am as clueless if anything more clueless than you are at this point. Because I haven’t actually looked at any podcast briefing in any sense. I have not really mentally prepared for any aspect of this. So quite a white blank canvas at this point and we’ll just see where it goes.

Sujani 5:02
Yeah, to be fair, I think a lot of the guests get some sort of briefing, either, just a couple bullets as to what I’m hoping the podcast episode will sort of be like and Kajanth hasn’t gotten that other than, “Can you come on a call with me?” And “Can we record something about PH SPOT?”, and he- he, I guess, was enthusiastic about it and came on, but equally nervous. And so I thought, to get us started, we could start talking about the moment for where PH SPOT felt like it was going to be something more than a blog. And so for those of you who may have been following PH SPOT since 2017, when we launched, you’ll remember that PH SPOT wasn’t more than a blog, we had started featuring journeys of public health heroes, and sort of the steps that they took to where they are right now, or we are featuring some reflections and tips, and advice. And for a most part of 2017, if I can remember correctly, PH SPOT was just a blog. I don’t know, Kajanth, do you feel like you- you had a moment between 2017 and today where you felt that PH SPOT was going to morph into something more than a blog?

Kajanth Nithiy 6:28
I think it was when we were- we were contemplating between to think, kind of staying a blog, and a kind of like a job posting platform, I think that was the initial stage where we started, like rolling out with it. And we were still not entirely sure how the business itself is going to sustain itself. Like any business, you need to have some sort of revenue, to be able to support people to work within it, right? So I think for a long period of time, it was just unclear, it was I know it was a passion project for you and, and even though you’ve given me more credit than I really deserve, but I felt like you drove the entire direction for it for the longest time, mostly because you knew the space and you knew exactly what was missing. So we were really just kind of going with the flow of trying to see how people actually are using it, what benefits they’re getting, right? Like, typically, and just like any other businesses, usually you kind of have like one end, it’s an obvious transaction where you just know exactly what’s going to happen. You sell something the buyer gets it, right? For us, it was the content that we were creating and building a community. And for it was- for- I think, I think probably over two years plus we were just building the community, correct? So we were just building it, we really were just diving in that direction. And then I think the point where I started clicking when you actually built the community is when you started getting all that inflow of emails and people really finding value in what we were doing. And they really enjoyed it. And then I think that’s where I think we started realizing there was- there was something there. So I think that’s when I think it started clicking to me in terms of “Yes, this community is strong, it is getting to a point that they are able to help us figure out what direction we should go.” And then that’s when we started. I think diving more and more. You see any differently?

Sujani 8:24
Yeah, I think that was exactly what I was going to go as well. It’s those emails that I think started coming in. And then people were telling us how much PH SPOT was helping them and some of the few emails I think that are still kind of in the back of my head even today, I think there was an individual who was somewhere in Europe. She was a Canadian, and she had emailed me in the middle of the night for her and she had said that she was taking a break from studying and she was doing her MPH overseas and just reading the different stories of people’s journeys and public health had kind of motivated her to keep going because as a lot of us can appreciate going through school is kind of a roller coaster of emotion. So some days you feel defeated, some days you feel inspired to take over the world. And I think for some of the students that follow PH SPOT, I think it’s acted as a community that they could kind of lean on during those times. And exactly as you put it, it was when those emails started coming in that for me it felt like something more than a blog and it wasn’t a one way kind of platform and people were actually talking back to us and telling us how much PH SPOT has contributed to their journey in public health and- and if you guys kind of can hear the business angle in Kajanth’s voice and the things that he says, he’s really the one who kind of pushes PH SPOT to think about sustainability. And that’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me. Because for me, it’s always been, what kind of content can we create? How can we support the community a lot further and Kajanth is constantly reminding me that if I want to keep giving more back to the PH SPOT community, I need to constantly think about sustainability. So that’s also a big angle of PH SPOT today in 2020 is kind of thinking about where we can take PH SPOT and how we can go there. And also think about sustainability. I don’t know if we want to start talking a bit about that or still think of ours- still reminisce about how we got to 2020 from 2017, Kajanth.

Kajanth Nithiy 10:47
Just the last point, I think, once I finished saying what I said, I think the actual defining moment for me was when we bought a call- we put a call out to see how many of our individuals within our community will be interested in taking an online course that was built by PH SPOT for PH SPOT community. And I think the inflow of suggestions and in terms of like, what, what types of topics they would like to hear about and the interest in it, and then actually committing to a course that we never even built. Like that’s- that’s the power of the community and the support that we got and the trust that they had in the brand and the- and the people behind it. That’s how far it went. And that was- that was probably the- I think the defining moment that the community is there to support and fully tax the brand and definitely finds value in what we serve already in the free content that they’re willing to pay for something. And something is really the infographics, one on one course that we built, or you built and we put together. So I think that one, that’s when I think I saw that now we have the community, the strength of the community is- is in providing more value to more individuals. And the community itself backs. It’s kind of like the self funded, kind of a- kind of a feel that I got because we apart when we actually did the pre-sale, we didn’t even have any content. We just had a structure of what it will be, and- and who will be building it. But that’s all we had. Right?

Sujani 12:18
I think- I think you were equally surprised as- as to how many people filled out the survey, because we had sent out a survey asking about people’s interest in such a course and whether they even see a course in infographic design being applicable to their work. And you were kind of mind blown that I think it was within the course of a day over 50 people had actually taken time to fill out a lengthy survey, and then I had to remind you that these were public health people and we’re- we’re the number one survey takers. And I think that really surprised you as well.

Kajanth Nithiy 12:50
Absolutely, yeah, that was- that was definitely something new to me ’cause, typically I’m the passive user when I do receive surveys, and I’m sure a lot of the public health folks who are listening to this is going to cringe. But I am those that see all surveys, and then I go, “Yeah, I’ll do it later.” And then I usually just delete that email. So I was really surprised that how many people are willing to support it, provide that feedback, and it’s really appreciate it. And now that I know the benefit of it. I tried to change my mindset, even though the first instinct is just to go “Yeah, ignore.”

Sujani 13:25
You can see now how that transcends down to like building valuable products. So yes,

Kajanth Nithiy 13:31
For sure.

Sujani 13:31
Converted you. We talked a little bit about the infographics course, and I’m thinking it’d be nice for us to quickly kind of just talk about how we went about building that because it was very interesting to me too. Like, I know that public health professionals are good at taking surveys there. They take the time to provide feedback, but I think I myself was still mind blown by the amount of feedback we got for that one survey. We’ve- We’ve sent out a lot of surveys, I think through the newsletter, but for some reason this one attracted a lot of participants. And I think the first one I’m not remembering the order correctly, but it was- it started with a very small survey and I think the second one was kind of to help build the outline. And in that one, people actually took the time to tell us exactly like what type of modules or content they wanted to see in the infographics course, and I think, I don’t know if people find this surprising, but the six modules that make up the infographics 101 course was designed as a result of like the feedback that we got in the survey, like the topics, the lessons they all came to be because of the feedback that people put into that survey and I just want to kind of reiterate that and emphasize that we definitely like take every single feedback that we get from the community. And we try to build products and deliver products that speak to you. And it’s not just like products that we think that you’re going to need. So it’s been an amazing community for that matter. I don’t know if you have more to add to that, Kajanth.

Kajanth Nithiy 15:21
It was, it’s incredible to build a product completely from the feedback, from the people themselves, we’re going to use it and see, and they identify the gaps in other, other solutions that are out there and clearly didn’t fill the gap, right? So having that level of detail put in to building a course is far greater value than just one instructor finding the potential gaps in it, and then kind of building it, because it will be far superior in terms of content and quality, because it’s the community, the brains of hundreds of people to put that course together rather than just one. Right?

Sujani 16:03
And then I think it goes the same for this podcast that we ended up building because it said, are you interested in a podcast and it was kind of split 50-50 and I, the people that kind of said, I don’t think I’m gonna listen to a podcast we found out were individuals who hadn’t been exposed to a podcast. And I remember doing a survey quite early on. And then later on, we kind of redid the podcast survey, and we got a bit more interest in the podcasts. And it could be that this whole concept of listening to a podcast is quite new. So with that one, it was a little bit different. Because even though we didn’t get an overwhelming, yes, we still went ahead and built this product, which is PH SPOTlight, our podcasts. And then in the second part of the survey, where we started asking people about the types of content they were interested in, it was interesting for me because I had thought the interests would be in different areas. But it ended up being in something that I wasn’t prepared for. So to give you an example, like I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship, and I thought it’d be pretty cool to feature entrepreneurs in the public health space on the podcast. And for some reason, in my head, I just thought that I, the PH SPOT community wouldn’t be interested in that topic. And then it ended up being one of the top most requested topic areas is entrepreneurship in public health. So really goes to show that it’s important to kind of take feedback from the community and then build something that they’re going to consume rather than like us, assuming that they’re going to like this. So I think that’s something that I really liked about building PH SPOT thus far is that we have such a engaging community, and it really kind of makes our work a lot easier, because we don’t have to like there’s no guesswork in what should we build for this community?

Kajanth Nithiy 18:03
Yeah, for sure. I think the core value still stays the same, right? It’s just bringing in the community, bringing in all the people in the public health space together. And then, as a community, we build out the products that’s best serving the people themselves, right? They’re identifying the gaps, and they’re helping us build it. So yeah, having a great grand vision is helpful. And we should, but then, like the prioritization of the work, or the needs in the market is really defined by the community. And that’s the power of it.

Sujani 18:39
I feel like we’ve gone down this like business angle of PH SPOT, unknowingly.

Kajanth Nithiy 18:45
We always do.

Sujani 18:46
Yeah. Okay, so back on this like reminiscing about PH SPOT. Do you have other moments that kind of stick out in the back of your mind on this journey so far?

Kajanth Nithiy 19:01
The late nights and the growing pain and the days that you be sit there crying? Why we actually choose to do this? Is that what you’re talking about? Or?

Sujani 19:09
I think so I think most of those were, were related to the newsletter that comes out Thursday mornings, and I kind of forget that it’s Wednesday night, some days and scrambling past midnight trying to pull together the newsletter because I was like committed to delivering that newsletter in your inboxes Thursday morning, and if that meant that I stay up the night before then so be it and I think that’s been one of the reason that PH SPOT has been successful is the consistency. And I read quite a bit about that in just like different people who have online businesses is that the consistency is what builds your community because they’re probably expecting to see or hear from you on a consistent basis. And for us that was on a weekly bend, it was painful. A lot of weeks. But I think we pushed through that. And we’re in a good space right now. And we can talk about how we- we came here, especially bringing on Liz Huang, who you seen signing the newsletters nowadays, it’s, we- we brought PH SPOT to where it is today and was able to onboard Liz to then take on the newsletter work, which has then freed up our time to do the podcast, for example, and other products for the community. But it hasn’t been easy. Like Kajanth said, We, we’ve had many evenings of I don’t know what to call it. But yes, I’ve cried many evenings pulling them together, because I was so tired. And some of you might- might remind- remember that maybe some of those newsletters did come like in the afternoon some days because I just couldn’t get myself to finish it for Thursday morning. So it’s been an interesting journey the past three years, I think.

Kajanth Nithiy 21:06
Absolutely. I think we’ve learned a lot through the whole journey, what we thought it will be versus what it actually is. And there’s obviously days of euphoria versus days of regret, or not regret, but kind of frustration, I guess, when it comes to this. And, and it’s- it’s a typical story of trying to build something kind of from scratch, right? There’s no rulebook, there’s no guidance. Essentially, this is just kind of part of the journey where you need to figure out what you like, what the people want, and how we actually get there, right? So kind of- kind of the adventurous road that we are on right now. And there’s definitely going to be pain points. And also at the same time equally, we’re going to have so many days of great results. And we’re going to be super happy and think that we’re geniuses. So it’s definitely a mixed.

Sujani 22:03
Yeah. And I’ll have to like reiterate what we said at the beginning, those emails are honestly, what kept us going, those late nights of trying to pull stuff together. Like if you guys are thinking whether we read any of the emails you send, or just your encouraging words, at the end of a different email, when you just say, like, PS, this platform is amazing. It’s helped me like even that has fueled us and has made us, you know, get to where we are today. So keep sending those, I guess, because it’s really the fuel behind PH SPOT. Nothing more.

Kajanth Nithiy 22:39
Yeah, for sure.

Sujani 22:40
Okay, so we talked about some moments in the past three years that are quite memorable for us. I can’t think of whether there are any others. I know when we- when we talk about changing things up on the website, it’s quite exciting. Like recently, we put up the Learn page with some of the courses that you guys can take while you’re at home during this COVID-19 kind of like physical distancing period of our lives. And so something like that, it’s- it’s not product that we’ve built ourselves, but we’ve kind of brought in other people’s great products. And I think that’s also a space that we hope we can go to with PH SPOT. Especially that collaboration we had done with Leah Roman, who’s a public health consultant, she’s been a consultant for a decade now. And we did that free webinar for people to kind of think about how they would price their consulting service. And that ended up being a big hit. And a lot of people took away a lot of good value from that. And I think we been driving PH SPOT, with the heart a little bit and a little bit of strategy. But more heart than strategy, if I’m being honest, from my end, and I think Kajanth comes with the more of the strategy aspect of it. But thinking about the future of PH SPOT, I think what I’d like to commit to is putting a lot more vision and strategy to where to take PH SPOT. And I will definitely be looking to you, Kajanth, for that guidance.

Kajanth Nithiy 24:25
Yeah, I think we already have a good sense, I think, the skeletal work of what we want PH SPOT to be like what I’m really excited about is kind of thinking outside the box of the typical conventional career development, right, like, people think of resume building as career development. But it’s far more than that, especially with what the digital age actually enabled us to do. Courses like e-learning courses that we have available now. With great partnerships that we have, they are able to help our community people to kind of upskill themselves and grow, I think that is a very strong kind of a- kind of a ladder that will help someone grow their- grow themselves in the careers that they want to do go to and then actually steer them in the direction they want to focus in, right? And then the other spectrum is actually like looking at like the different means of actually having a career, a career in the conventional sense of nine to five is one stream. But there’s so many other ways that you can actually go when it comes to like earning a living and enjoying what you do. And that’s a whole different stream. And then I really want to explore that stream, because that’s very new to large part of the academia world of people who are very studious, very intelligent and do amazing work in the community. But they haven’t explored, the other streams, were able to contribute to a different spectrum of community and organizations, and still be able to do great value and have great impact, right? So I think that’s another stream that we always talked about, that we definitely would want to explore. And that will be a really cool one to actually like dive into in the in the near future. And then, of course, all the other- all the other gold projects that we have in the future of highlighting the amazing work that’s been done by the the individuals, the public health heroes, in different ways, so that we’re able to bring light to those people who are kind of working backstage and hidden away from the limelight, right?

Sujani 26:35
Except right now, I think COVID response, there’s a lot of public health professionals and kind of not frontline in the sense of healthcare workers, but definitely backstage, pushing the country along and the world along. So I think it’s important to recognize the work that public health community contributes to society. And I hope we can do that through PH SPOT. Not just like kind of building the community within the public health community, but also going mainstream and showcasing the work that public health does for society in the world. So that’s quite exciting for me, for sure. Okay, how about this? I guess when we talk about showcasing the work of public health professionals, to others outside of the profession? I’m curious to know, before you met me and knew about public health, what did you think public health was?

Kajanth Nithiy 27:35
I honestly didn’t know a thing about it. Like, zero. I was first introduced to the word epidemiologist, I think through you. And I still don’t understand how ignorant I am. So I’m sure there’s many of us.

Sujani 27:56
Yeah, it’s a- it’s like one of those professions you don’t really even think about. Because if everything in the world goes well, health wise, then public health is doing their work well.

Kajanth Nithiy 28:10
Exactly. I can, I canrelate to that. But coming from tech sector, it’s somewhat the same, in large part, large part of the corporations. If technology works, no one complains when it doesn’t work, they complain. So the same way and obviously now COVID-19 has brought in kind of light to all the amazing work that people are doing and the different types of people who are involved in solving such big issues in the community and around the world. So definitely, a lot of those ignorant people have been kind of give it a knock on their head to kind of say, like, these are the basic work with other people are doing. But yeah, otherwise I honestly, you wouldn’t hear about them, you wouldn’t know about them at all.

Sujani 28:54
Yeah, I think that’s it, that’ll be a cool podcast, I’m thinking, like rounding up people within our networks that are not in public health and asking them, what do they think of public health as a profession prior to, like this pandemic? And then what did they think of it now? It’ll be interesting to hear how this pandemic has brought light the profession of public health. I think I can do that, too. I’ll have to round up a few people, although it’ll be bias because a lot of my friends,

Kajanth Nithiy 29:28
I think they will, they will know because of you. But yeah, it’ll be pretty funny. I think you should ask them what they thought about it before you went into it.

Sujani 29:38

Kajanth Nithiy 29:39
Now what do they think about it.

Sujani 29:40
Or maybe I can get people to recommend friends and then we could jump on a call or maybe the PH SPOT community can help out by,

Kajanth Nithiy 29:48
I think you should do second degree.

Sujani 29:50

Kajanth Nithiy 29:51
People you know, you ask them to refer you to people you don’t know.

Sujani 29:54
Yeah, like it doesn’t- they don’t have to be in public health and then we could get- get their impressions on what public health means to them? Maybe it’d be cool because not even comparing before and after just in the current context of things. What does public health mean to you? That’d be a pretty cool episode.

Kajanth Nithiy 30:11
Yeah. I think so.

Sujani 30:14
All right, we’re gonna add that to our list of current episodes to record. And okay, so that was a, as a cool break, I did want to touch a little bit about how we are building out PH SPOT for the future. And we mentioned how much work the newsletter ended up being. And then we brought in Liz have seen signing the newsletters as of January, I think it was. And so we brought Liz on to the PH SPOT team, because we felt that there was more we needed to do with PH SPOT, but because both Kajanth and I have a full time job. And we do PH SPOT, on the weekends, evenings and weekends, we didn’t really get the time, we needed to focus on the bigger vision of PH SPOT. And so we knew we need to bring someone on board. So we did a call out. And then we did a bunch of interviews and hired Liz, and she’s been beyond amazing. I think like, we did not expect her to be a part of PH SPOT the way she’s become and just really taking the ownership to run with the newsletter and make it feel truly, truly grateful to Liz, for having joined PH SPOT. And so really, I think this is the start of building out PH SPOT. And we wrote a blog post on this. I think it was earlier in the year, it’s going to be a slow growth. But certainly I think in the near future, I’m hoping we can build out the team. A little bit bigger. I don’t know if you have any more concrete ideas around that, Kajanth. But I don’t know what that number looks like. But I think I know that it’s going to grow.

Kajanth Nithiy 32:02
Yeah, I think- I think we will, we’ll definitely be building the team out as- as we build more products, the inputs in our kind of offering, I think we’ll need more smart individuals to kind of- kind of help- help build that and ma- make it strong, right? So we’ll definitely need more Lizs if we can find them. But yeah, like we are very grateful for Liz, and of course, and the entire community itself. And if we can find more talented people to actually work with us who are enthusiastic about the grand vision for PH SPOT, we’ll definitely be needing everyone’s help and kind of go in that direction.

Sujani 32:42
And I think, again, to reiterate, like how amazing the community’s been, we did the call out to the PH SPOT community to ask you guys to apply for this role, if you remember, and the number of people that applied and just the caliber of every single one of you like we were more than my blown, like I don’t know, if you remember that period, Kajanth, when we were doing everyone’s applications?

Kajanth Nithiy 33:07
Oh, I remember- I remember reading all the I think 30 or 40 applications that we received. And these are not just sending a resume, these are actual written application of like, I think, three to 400 words, or probably even more for someone that’s got some of the fields questions that we had. So very much appreciated for the interest that we received. And obviously all those people who took the time to actually respond to that. Yeah, very grateful.

Sujani 33:34
And I think that’s the model, I remember, we were talking about it like regardless of what product we kind of build within PH SPOT, we’d love to use that model where we take the PH SPOT community to help build PH SPOT. And I remember, like, I was saying, like, imagine we needed, like new photographs for our website or some products that we’re building, just to like tap into the PH SPOT community to see if there were photographers that were also public health professionals, and it’d be amazing just to use the community and like leverage their talents to feed that back into the community. And like, that makes me super excited to think about like the potential of building PH SPOT that way.

Kajanth Nithiy 34:17
Yeah, for sure. Like it’s incredible to kind of see the community feed itself and and gain the value of it and then just kind of continue building in that cyclical, kind of that inclusive, whatever ecosystem it is. It’s really exciting to see- see it happen in real, like I think conceptually we thought about it, but then actually see it in real life. Kind of taking shape. It’s very, very energizing.

Sujani 34:43
Yeah. And I think it’s also important for us to kind of chat a little bit about like the sustainability aspect of PH SPOT we mentioned a little bit in the beginning. I think like for the most of the first few years of PH SPOT, it was completely self funded because that’s how much like passion about this project, and not knowing how we were going to monetize or bringing any revenue through this passion project of ours. And so, you know, bringing in different team members into PH SPOT means that we need to compensate our team members in a fair way. And so that’s also been a lot of our thinking, mostly Kajanth’s thinking, because that’s his strength. And so I don’t know, if you wanted to touch on that a little bit about any ideas we have for how we would sustain PH SPOT in the long run.

Kajanth Nithiy 35:39
I think we should definitely be looking at sustainable way so that people continue to kind of gain the value of PH SPOT, whether within with its core offering of kind of career building platform, with the job kind of discovery to any additional streams of value that we are able to deliver, I think it definitely is sustainable. So because the existing community that’s built it definitely wants us to continue on forward. And for that to happen, we need to be able to generate whatever revenue whichever stream it’s possible, whether it’s through selling, direct selling, or through affiliate model, it all has to come down to feeding the- feeding the system, the PH SPOT organization to feed back into the community and has to drive value, ultimately, the value has to be there for it to work. And I think that’s something that we need to keep figuring out what that is, and obviously the community helping- helping that out, as they kind of figure out what the gaps are.

Sujani 36:39
Yeah, I think it’ll be a fun journey. Like I’m not at all scared of whether we will be able to sustain it or not, or whether the community will be happy or not. Because I think, since we work directly with the PH SPOT community and give them value, I’m fairly confident that this whole cycle will kind of sustain itself. And I think it’s just going to be a very exciting and sometimes frustrating and painful journey. But I think that’s quite minor in the overall vision and the overall value that both you and I get out of PH SPOT and building something that’s kind of bigger than ourselves to then support you all, public health professionals, who are then going out to support our world. And I think the current situation, like beautifully shows that because without the public health professionals and we have health care workers in the- in the service industry, and just everyone that’s able to give back to all of society so that we can then move on to living our quote, unquote, whatever normal life and ends up being. But I just think, like this current situation as bad it is, as it is, it’s like the silver lining in it for me personally, as to why we build PH SPOT, it’s because we’re supporting the like, important people who are driving this world. And this current situation couldn’t outline that better.

Kajanth Nithiy 38:21
Yeah, I was just thinking when you were saying that, it’ll be really cool to see the type of work that the community is involved in, to kind of see the aggregate impact. So it’s like, what is the ratio of like one professionals in public health itself? Their- what is their aggregate impact in the community they work in? Whether it’s like federally provincially, municipally? Whatever that is, like, I think it’d be really cool to kind of see that- that might be a fun project, actually take that on, see what that impact is, what’s the average one person ratio to what the impact is. And then kind of see that as I get flow from the community itself, whether so we have a few- few thousand individuals part of this community, and then they their impact, is it 1000, 10,000, whatever that multiplies. It’d be really cool to see that.

Sujani 39:13
Yeah, I don’t even know how you would do that. But certainly sounds like an amazing idea. So if any of you have any ideas of how we can illustrate that, please do send us ideas. And I think like even beyond that I was thinking this morning, in some way, shape, or form through PH SPOT, I definitely like to highlight the work that public health professionals have put into COVID response, whether that’s directly on the front lines of the response or indirectly supporting, whether that’s like vulnerable groups or through research or just the whole spectrum of the response to COVID. So that’s something I think we’ll commit to and again, if you have any ideas of how to do that, or if you or people, you know, are involved in the response to this current, like, send us an email or message us on any of the social media platforms, I’m going to, like, slowly keep track of everything. And one day, we can sort of create something beautiful that we can share with the outside community, just to showcase where public health has played an important role in this. And I think everyone knows that public health is involved in their response. But I think it’ll be more powerful to show tangibly what it is that we’ve been doing collectively.

Kajanth Nithiy 40:37
Yeah, exactly. I think it’s really, really kind of exciting to kind of go down this path of being able to build something very amazing with the community, for the people by the people, and then it’s not just stayed, the value itself doesn’t just stay within because of that aggregate function of like having multiple, multiple people that the individual, the professionals who are in public health are able to kind of influence and impact and it’s really exciting to see that it’s definitely bigger than just the two of us. And it’s definitely bigger than even the community itself at that point, because the kind of compounding effect that community will have on each other. And that’s really what I think gets me excited about PH SPOT, and the community that we work within, because we’re able to kind of steer and kind of help grow the value overall, and how far it actually reaches. It’s not just within Canada, it’s not just within North America, it’s truly global. And I think that really gets me really, really excited about the overall impact of what little stuff that we think they are and when you deliver ends up actually impacting the people on a day to day basis.

Sujani 41:58
Yeah, absolutely Kajanth, I couldn’t have said that better myself. And just again, I want to, as I wrap this up, just say, thank you so much for the amazing work that you guys are doing in the world. And if you- if you ever wondered whether the work that you’re doing your little cubicle or at your desk has any impact in the world, I’m telling you, it does. And so continue doing that. And from the both of us and from our whole community, thank you for the work that you do. And I really hope you enjoyed this unscripted random conversation that I asked Kajanth to have with me on this Saturday morning. And if you want to get any of the links or information that we mentioned, in today’s episode, we’ll have it where we usually have our show notes at You’ll find everything there. So if we mentioned any courses or any kind of products that PH SPOT has built, we’ll link everything up in the show notes page. And we kind of went back and looked at the downloads for our podcast episodes these past few weeks and some things that really changed for a lot of people where you’re not commuting to work, or you just haven’t been able to commit the same amount of time to listen to a podcast. And we’ve noticed that the downloads have reduced significantly. And so because of that we thought maybe would change the schedule for our PH SPOTlight podcast to bi-weekly just to give you more time to catch up on these episodes and not feel like all the episodes are piling up. And on the weeks that we don’t publish a podcast episode, what we’re going to do is published a blog post. So you’ll have some form of content to consume. But it’ll alternate between audio and text. And we hope that that change it can- can kind of work its way into your new kind of schedule that you have for the unforeseeable future. And if you have any other suggestions on how we should maybe further modify the schedule, do let us know, we’re open to always changing things so that it suits your need. And so with that, I want to say thank you so much for tuning into PH SPOTlight and for the invaluable work that you do for this world.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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