How did you get started in public health? – Ask me Anything with Sujani, from inside The Public Health Career Club

hosted by:

This episode is from inside PH SPOT’s membership community: The Public Health Career Club.

You’ll get to listen in on a training session where career club members got a chance to ask Sujani questions. In this episode, we share one of those questions: how did you get started in public health?

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Sujani got interested in public health, and her undergraduate experience.
  • How to get work experience early in your public health career journey (part-time, casual, volunteer).
  • How to use all of your experiences (whether they are paid or unpaid) to tell a story about your abilities, skills, and knowledge to prospective employers.
  • About The Public Health Career Club, PH SPOT’s membership community.

Today’s Guest:

Sujani Sivanantharajah is the founder and CEO of PH SPOT. 

Sujani Sivanantharajah is a public health professional trained in Epidemiology. Her gift and passion lie in building relationships and using these relationships to create and cultivate spaces for people to find meaningful partnerships that can serve their communities. In 2017, this passion led her to build, a platform and community for public health professionals around the world to build their dream careers.

Sujani holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Saskatchewan and an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:00
You know, this way of thinking is not only useful when you’re preparing your application, but I think also for you to build your confidence to say, I do have this information, I do have this knowledge, I do have this skill.

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.

Hey there, it’s Sujani here, and today’s episode is a little different. So as you may know, or maybe it’s new to you, PH SPOT has a membership community. It’s called the public health career club. And it’s a community that’s dedicated to helping you build your dream public health career. So we focus on growth, connection and inspiration. So essentially, it’s a group of individuals who have decided that they want to focus on building their public health career, grow it, and that means different things to different people. But essentially, it’s a community of individuals. And we here at PH SPOT, we work closely with these individuals. So it is a global membership based community of public health peers. And we support each other to build our dream public health careers, right. And so in the club, we give you the building blocks to navigate your career. We teach you industry best practices, we show you the power of harnessing your network and coach you to build your dream public health career, right? My goal personally, is to show you that you can have an impact in the world, you can feel fulfilled in your public health career, and achieve your wildest dreams. So we launched the public health career club in October of 2022. It was something that people have been asking us about for the past six years. And we finally felt like it was time to build this community. And we launched it in October 2022. We have over 100, almost 200 members in the community right now, our speakers, or coaches or mentors, they also hang out in the membership community. And it’s just an incredible inspiring uplifting place. We do weekly live events, we have kind of you know, specific focused coaching event, we’ll run workshops, we’ll run, you know, Power Hour, what we call those, and we may work on something together. So just lots of different things happening. And we’ve covered topics like resume writing, and you know, interview prep, and all the kind of job application related things. But then we also bring in speakers from all around the world to share their career story. And then our members get to ask them questions, have a discussion with them. We also have focused on building a side hustle, because it’s been such a, you know, popular topic amongst our members. And so I run workshops, I bring speakers around that topic. And, you know, it’s- it’s quite inclusive of everyone. I tried to bring in programs and training and coaching, depending on people’s interests. So it’s still evolving. It’s completely driven by the community. And so there was a, there’s a really good session I ran, it was the first time I had done it in the public health career club. And it was called Ask me anything, and I hosted that session, not knowing really what to expect, and it ended up being such an incredible session. So many positive reviews from that. Lots of people found great value in it. And so what I’m gonna do for today’s episode is share, I think it’s about 10 minutes of that one hour session, and I plan to break up the remaining kind of 45 minutes of that session into multiple additional podcast episodes. Because the conversation was so good that I just felt like more people needed to hear it. You will kind of hear an edited version of it because I wanted to protect our members identity and voices. And so I’ve tried to kind of chop up only the portions that I’m speaking in. So at times, it may not sound like it’s you know, it makes sense because you know, you might you might hear me You say something or me ask a question, but there is nobody responding to it. And then you hear me again. And- and it’s purely because we’ve tried to edit out the a podcast ready version versus a conversational one, which is what happened live in that training session. So today, you’re going to hear one of the questions that somebody in the community asked me and it was about how I got started in public health and kind of the way I got my first job. And so I take you through that journey and reflection and give you tips and advice on how you can kind of follow a similar path if you felt like it was right for you. And then I will probably release additional kind of sections of that live event in future episodes. So stay tuned for that. And so without further ado, here is a recording from inside the public health career club.

I see one question how I got started in my career path. So maybe I’ll start with that, while the rest of you put your your questions or themes in there and both Yash and Deanna, you know, feel free to raise your hand if you have additional questions that come up, as I’m telling my story, but I’ll get started and see if that helps answer that question. So I went to undergrad thinking I was going to go to dental school. Dentistry was where I was focused on, really no great reason beyond the fact that I think I liked the sciences. And I wanted to work out with my hands. And it was a fairly high earning, you know, career path. So I decided I would do that I went to undergrad, I thought it was going to focus in biology. I did my first semester absolutely did not love that, did poorly. So it showed in my undergraduate grades that I did, I didn’t enjoy it. At the time, when I was kind of trying to think about where did I want to go, I discovered Public Health from an elective course I had taken so I started digging into that path a little bit more. And so for the first two years of my undergrad, my focus was about getting into dental school. So I never really thought about building work experience, right. So I, for some reason, had joined a professor’s lab just to do data entry. So that was the only piece of experience I was able to put on my resume very early on. And that was just by luck, I guess, I thought it’d be great for me to get some experience with a professor. So you know, fast forward, two more years of undergrad, I decided I want to go pursue my MPH. And so around the time I was almost finishing my undergrad, I had also joined what’s called Diabetes Canada now. So it was a Canadian Diabetes Association, just as a volunteer, they had a volunteer program. And so during my undergraduate degree I was volunteering, photocopying, putting packages together for people not really doing much, you know, public health related work, but it got me exposed to a not for profit organization. And that’s where I kind of dug into more like, what am I great at? So I started providing ideas, right? So it was like, Hey, you guys should have a social media page. Because you do a lot of community outreach. And at the time, this was like maybe 2010. Facebook wasn’t a great like a big tool that not for profit organizations used right. So there, I was trying to like, give them new tools and solutions that they could use to reach their audience a lot, a lot better. So they kind of recognize that I could do more than photocopying and stapling papers for them. And I was just doing that two hours a week or barely that. And so the volunteer coordinator, she actually gave me other projects to work on. So I started doing an environmental scan for them, right. So, you know, I went in to do something else. And they kind of saw the interest and the keenness that I had and gave me additional opportunities. And from that they applied for a student like a student program grant to actually hire me for the whole summer. So I landed kind of my first job at this not for like national not for profit organization, not knowing I was going to work there for a whole summer and a lot of the things I did there ended up being some of the first you know, pieces that were on my first resume when I was applying to work out after grad school. And so I went to grad school immediately after undergrad at the University of Saskatchewan. And there I decided I would not make that same mistake again where In undergrad, I just focused on school, and just to get my grades and not build my resume and my experience. So what I did is I gave myself one semester to get into the hang of school. And then after that, I tried to find as many opportunities as I could. So I had three research positions when I was there, whether they were just a few months long or a semester long or a year long, like I made sure to get as many opportunities to build my skill as possible, right. And so when I was graduating from my master’s program, I had the one data entry job from undergrad working with a professor. And that was literally taking pieces of data that was paper based and putting it into a system. I had the experience at the Canadian Diabetes Association, which was a lot of community outreach stuff, I had three research jobs I had done during my master’s program. I had a few, well, I also had the practicum from my master’s program. I think that was probably it. So let’s say, six pieces, I could- Six kind of pieces of experience I could pull on when I’m preparing my first job application, right. So I started applying in January, and I was about to graduate in April, May. And so at that time, I’m looking at all of these jobs and the biggest mistake I did was applied to everything that sounded remotely close to help. And these are jobs like I still have the list, and I’m happy to share it. And if I look at it now I’m like, what did I think applying to these jobs? Right? So what I did do right, and ended up being the first job I got was with the Government of Canada as a- as an outbreak epidemiologist, was I spent many, many, many hours on that one application without knowing how important that was. Right? And so that job, I can probably pull up in- and I’ll share this another day. But that job had asked for, do I have infectious disease experience? Do I have data entry experience? Do I have experience working with stakeholders? So those were three of the big questions that they had on that job posting? And so when I looked at all of these experiences, none of it was like, a year long formal job I had, right. So I had to make sure I could pull experiences from all six of these part time casual jobs and and create a story to say yes, I do know this stuff. Right? So infectious disease, I had zero actual jobs on paper in infectious disease. So what I did was I talked about my coursework, right, my coursework, my presentations, any essays I had written to show them that I do have that knowledge. They asked about stakeholder engagement. And so I could pull on that in some way from all of these different experiences to make like if they asked for do I have one year of it, I would break that down to say, I have two months here, I have three months here. So that gives me five months, here’s an additional five months at this job that I had stakeholder engagement. So that’s 10 months. And then here’s an additional two months. So the way I was able to tell the story that I- Yes, I do have one year’s worth of stakeholder engagement experience was by piecing these together. And that ended up working really well for me when I was applying to my first job. So I got that. So I got that job. And a few additional interviews. But that’s the one job that I got an offer for out of- out of my master’s program. And that was the application that I had spent the most amount of time on. And maybe I’ll stop there and go back to I think it was Yash and was a Deanna who had asked that question, but if either one of you want to unmute, and I’ll see if you have any additional questions on that.

You know, this way of thinking is not only useful when you’re preparing your application, but I think also for you to build your confidence to say I do have this information. I do have this knowledge, I do have the skill. Now how do I tell that story, whether it’s in written format, in your cover letter, or in an interview, so when they ask you? Do you have experience, you know, implementing enteric disease surveillance rather than just saying no, full stop? You can say I built this experience in the classroom setting and this is what I’ve done and this is how I, me, personally have contributed to this, you know, work, rather than saying, I we did it in a- In a group project, you want to talk about you yourself and how you and this skill that they’re looking for are connected. And so I hope this six example, kind of shows you that, you know, I didn’t have this, but I was able to talk about my classroom experience, and I was able to land that job.

Hey, so I hope you enjoyed listening in on a career club session. Partway through, we had to kind of chop out a huge chunk in there because it was, I was sharing my screen and actually showing them that first job application that I had put, while somebody was asking you a question, I was actually able to go into my Google Drive and pull up that application, I save almost everything related to my career. So if you asked me for something, I could probably find it somewhere in my Google Drive. So you know, there was a visual component, which obviously doesn’t make sense for podcasts. And so I was able to walk through some of those questions and show them exactly how I answered the questions and where I was able to piece together different opportunities that I was involved in, and different experience that I had to then tell a story, like a complete story to say, yes, I have this one skill, I didn’t get it from one paid two year long job. But this is how I can do it, because I have done it here, here, here and here. And this is how it all kind of ties together. And you know, I have the skill, right. So that’s what I was trying to show them by showing them four different examples from that job application. So I hope you enjoyed that. And I really hope it kind of has shifted your way of thinking. And that you’ll kind of use the lessons here for your next job application, but also maybe get some inspiration in how I started off in, in public health with my first job. And if you’re interested to join the public health career club, it’s not always open to kind of enroll in join, we have select windows of time that we do open the doors. And that’s done purely because we want to make sure that individuals who joined the public health career club, go through an orientation and there’s a little bit of you know, taking care of you, when you’re joining, I don’t want you to just go online and select enroll and be thrown into this membership community, I want there to be some sort of like welcoming, so we do an orientation event and you get to meet the new people that have joined. It’s all virtual, of course. And I can answer your questions and take care of you a little bit and then kind of put you into the membership. And so for that reason, it’s not always open. And this way, we can kind of control each new group that comes and take care of them in a way. If you’re listening to this in the middle of kind of actually the end of June, or July, we will be likely opening up the Public Health Care Club again in the fall. And if you don’t want to miss out on that, you can head over to So c-l-u-b or even if you go to at the top, you’ll see career club and you can click that. And there’s a link for you to add yourself to the waitlist and that way we know to you know, send you any information as we’re thinking about reopening the doors. And with that, I want to say thank you for the incredible work that you’re doing in public health. And just you know, keep pushing through. We’re here as a big community, a global community to support you on your public health, career journey.

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:00
Hey, this is Sujani here. And before we get started with today’s episode, I want to tell you about this course, which is super important. And I’m just going to take about three to four minutes to really explain it to you. And then we’ll jump right into our episode for today.

So this course, it’s not a course that we developed here within PH SPOT. But it is a course that a colleague, a friend, a huge supporter of PH SPOT developed. And I really want to talk about here with you on this podcast. If you recall, this past episode we had it was episode 76. And it was called, Redefining Rest for Public Health Professionals with Marissa McKool. And on this episode, Marissa and I talked about, you know, what burnout is, why it’s such a big issue amongst public health professionals. And then we had this discussion about how changing our mindset and outlook can be the first step in working through burnout.

And, you know, just various topics like that. And I recall this conversation quite vividly because I was in the middle of my maternity leave and I- and I remember telling Marissa how, you know, sometimes I go through these conversations in my head about getting back to work and having a balance, this new role as a mother, and she really gave me some great tips that I still use till this day. And so when she told me about this new course that she was launching called, “Not Your Average Productivity Course”, I really wanted to share it with all of you. So this course, it’s happening from August 7, to September 8 2023. It’s the only productivity course specifically designed for Women in Public Health. And during this course, you’re going to learn how to get more done, reduce your to do list, and have more time both at work and at home without burning yourself out. So if you’ve been struggling to find, quote, unquote, work life balance, or find the time to work on your personal goal, then it’s a course that I think you should definitely check out. And Marissa, she’s a former public health leader who turned into a rest coach. And it’s, you know, it’s someone that we’ve had inside our public health career club to come in and speak to our members. It’s someone that I’ve had on the podcast, someone I keep in touch with regularly because I find great value from Marissa. So I hope you’ll check this out. If you’re kind of in a season of your life where you might need a little bit of support as you’re trying to balance, work, home, all the different priorities that we have. And the course includes on-demand video lessons, worksheets, as well as private one on one coaching. There is a $500 USD enrollment fee for that, for that course. Registration closes on August 3rd, and there are limited spots available. So make sure to grab your spot if this is something that you want to work on for yourself in August. And it’s also probably something that you should maybe inquire about with the organization to see if they will support the course fee. Because, you know, I know for some of our courses that we’ve run here a PH SPOT, for example, the infographics one on one course, we have had many of our students be able to get funding support from their organizations, their universities, if they were grad students. So definitely inquire about that. And if you would like to find out more information, you can go to So that’s We’ll include the link in our show notes. It’s also in our newsletter. So if you are subscribed to our newsletter, you’ll see the link over there as well. And you know, as always, if you have any questions about the course about Marissa, please don’t hesitate to send us an email and we’ll get back to you. So, again, the course is happening from August 7 2023 to September 8 2023. It’s called, “Not Your Average Productivity Course”. It’s the only course designed for women in public health. To help you get more done, reduce your to do list and have more time both at work and at home without burning yourself out. So, super important topic, I hope you’ll check it out. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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.

Hey, and welcome to another episode of PH SPOTlight. It is Sujani here, and I’m here again to share a session from inside our career club. So if you missed the last time we did this, it was in Episode 123. So that’s not the last episode. But the one before that, where I held a session inside the career club, titled, “Ask Me Anything”. And it was such a well received session and we got to talk about so many important topics. And what I did was I pulled out a couple of clips from that session where people asked me really, you know, neat questions. And I think we had a great discussion around it. And I wanted to share it with everybody, you know, not just individuals who are inside our career club. And so this is an episode that comes from that session. And it’s actually a conversation around a topic that I love to speak about. And the question that I answer here is, how did I start PH SPOT, and how can I start a side hustle. So these were kind of the questions that people in our membership had at the time. And so I introduced them to kind of the- the idea of a side hustle and how I was exposed to it. What my first side hustle ended up being, which was a not for profit organization that I ran for over five plus years with hundreds of volunteers, and then kind of how PH SPOT was born. And then I also address a few questions from, from our members. And, again, I kind of explained this in Episode 123, that at times the episode sounds very choppy. So, you know, I might like ask somebody a question, but you may not hear their answer, or I kind of like go into a different conversation. And that’s purely because I wanted to make it a nicer kind of like podcast episode, a better listening experience, but also to kind of protect the conversations, and kind of any any personally identifiable things that people may have said, although you know, once in a while I do, I end up sharing people’s voices when they are speaking back to me just so that you can kind of get the context. But I hope you enjoy this episode. And if you’ve thought about building a side hustle, working on a side hustle, whether it’s a not for profit organization, a company, a product, maybe it’s a podcast, or a blog, I hope this episode acts as an inspiration. And if you want it to kind of you know, jump into a community of other public health professionals also exploring this area, I invite you did join the public health career club, there are dozens of individual in there who are also kind of exploring this path and this journey. And, you know, just having people around you to support you, as you are building something is super cool. And I just love doing office hours with this group. We did it, we did another office hour very recently. And we got to talk about everybody’s ideas. And we even said, like, we’re going to have launch parties for you. So commit on the dates that you’re going to launch your podcast or your blog, and we’re going to have launch parties inside the club, because that’s how much we’re going to support you. So, you know, those are some fun things that are happening inside the public career club. So without further ado, here is that session. Again, the- the kind of like two part question that I answered here is, how did you start PH SPOT? And how can I start a side hustle? And yeah, I hope you enjoy that.

So I saw a question on how I started PH SPOT. Is the business incorporated provincially and federally, why do you choose that, too? So maybe I’ll talk about learning about side hustles, awesome. I love that topic. So if there is anything related to side hustles and talking about PH SPOT, I will maybe tell you quickly, how we started PH SPOT, a little bit about you know, side hustles and then whoever had those questions, I think it was Sherry, Erica and one more, Deanna. Feel free to unmute and ask me specific questions. So I got into this idea of side hustles and building something thing when I was in my, I think it was my second semester of my master’s program. I was not someone who was interested in building a company or starting a business or even thinking that way. It just never occurred to me that I could be that person. But in my, one of my assignments that I had to do, I was looking into a research question. I can’t remember exactly what the research question was, but it somehow was connected back to the community that I was from, in Toronto. I’m from- I was born in Sri Lanka. And my family emigrated to Toronto, in the 90s. And so we speak Tamil, that’s the language that we speak. And when I was doing that project, it was around just how my community was able to access health information online and navigate the healthcare system. And so I think, as I was researching for that project, I realized how difficult it was, for me, someone who knew really good English, was almost a, you know, a master’s level graduate, and I was having a hard time navigating the information and my healthcare system. And I thought back to, you know, my mom or my aunt, or, you know, anybody in my community, right, and I realized how difficult it would be for them. So the initial idea that I had was just to create a website, that would be a resource for people in my community, it would be translated into Tamil, and you know, whatever they found on, say, the Canadian Diabetes Association’s website, or heart and stroke, or the hospital or the Government of Canada, we would have, you know, some form of it in Tamil, and then help them navigate the resources and the information they needed. So that was kind of the concept that came to mind as I’m doing this project, right? And so I had a little notebook. I forget what it was called, but I’ll find it, I still have it. But it was like, my notebook that I hung over my, my bed, and I would write all these ideas in there. And so I had a few friends in my program, they were first year I was in second year, and I would tell them about this idea. And one thing led to another and I can’t remember if it was my husband now but my boyfriend at the time, and he was encouraging me to kind of like think bigger about it. And I don’t know when the moment happened, but that website got created like it, it became a not for profit organization, like the idea grew to becoming an all for profit organization. So after I graduated, while I’m searching for jobs, I’m building a not for profit organization on the side. So that was like, you know, 80% of my time was spent on job, job searching and the other 20% I was building this not for profit organization, I think being ignorant to the fact of how big of a project this was going to be was probably a blessing because I incorporated, I pulled together a team, I did so much in that summer. And we, like brought together so many volunteers, we were able to put together a needs assessment survey, I spoke to all these really big festivals and got these like $1,000 tables for free. They let me go there to these events, run these needs assessment survey. So I could hear directly from the community what it was that they were missing when it came to their health, right? So I- we collected all of this information, we created all these outreach programs. You know, I ran this organization for five years as a side hustle on top of my job. And we saw- I know- I think at one point I must have had, you know, over hundreds of volunteers go through this organization, we had two grants, we got totaled over $30,000. I was- I did lots of interviews on TV related to you know, health in the Tamil community. We did research projects, we collaborated, we helped other organizations, we saw that, you know, health research was a strength that our team had. So we ran all of that. And the trouble I kept facing each time was funding. Right? I had an amazing group of volunteers, but you know, as life got busy and everyone had their own job, this became like a second thing that they thought about, it wasn’t the primary thing. So I could see that momentum after the five years really slow down and myself included because, you know, I was wanting to grow in my career, I got married. And so things were slowing down even on my my end.

So recently in the- in the last couple of years, I told myself, I was going to pause a nonprofit and see if there are other ways I could generate some sort of revenue to then like fund other projects. And so I had kind of slowed down on the nonprofit side. And then kind of along the same, you know, timeline, I was getting lots of messages on LinkedIn, from new grads from the MPH program wanting to talk about their career journey, right? And so I did that for a number of years, I’d say four or five years doing one on one, just coffee chats with folks. And it became unsustainable. And so I kept thinking about, you know, how can I solve this? How can I make this more sustainable? And so, going back to being someone who didn’t see themselves as a person solving the problem, I think that’s kind of the first thing that if, if that’s you, if you’re always seeing problems in the areas that you’re working, or you’re you’re living in, and you’re not asking, like the questions around, how can I solve this, maybe you shared, right? If like starting a side hustle or starting a company of some sort, or a non for profit or an organization, whatever it is, I think we often would see ourselves as not being the ones to create the solution, like, like build something to solve those problems. And I was someone like that until I think I launched my not for profit organization and saw how much impact we had in the community. And then soon after PH SPOT, also came from kind of a need of wanting to serve and support more people at scale, because I couldn’t do coffee chats with everyone around the world. And I really wanted to be, you know, involved in some way in their- in their careers. So the idea for PH SPOT was kind of natural. We initially started off as a job board. And we realized, you know, that wasn’t where the- the true value was, it was really in bringing people together, the community, you know, resources, the newsletter was one of the first things that we released, and people really loved that the hand picked aspect of the jobs. And then we launched a blog to tell the career story. So that was a piece that was the scalable piece of being able to share each other’s stories, because people often told me, they reach out to people, but don’t really hear back from them. And I felt like I had a really large network of public health peers. And so I was able to lean on them to contribute to the blog. So if you go to our website, there are some really good articles there that people have written about their experiences. And then we launched the podcasts as a complement to the blog, and then courses and then more recently, the membership community. And then I think Erica, you had a question about incorporating it, I just automatically went to a federal incorporation because I think I saw a larger vision for PH SPOT. I definitely, like, saw this as a much larger brand. So when I launched it, it was in 2017. The online space wasn’t so huge when it came to career development in the public health space, like I saw it in the business space or the tech space. But for public health, it wasn’t that huge. So I already had a vision of wanting this to be something global. So I started with the federal incorporation. I don’t know if there are any specific questions. I know, Sherry, you had a question around side hustles. And I think Deanna, you had a question as well. So let me know if I answered your question around side hustles.

Sherry 18:41
I- No, you answered the question, it’s great. Thank you.

Sujani 18:43
Awesome. Thanks. Erica and Deanna, were there any specific questions about that journey? I don’t know, if I addressed, you know, any of the questions that you had running in your head. Yeah. And I don’t know if you’re in Canada in the US, and it might be different. And I think more recently, there’s a- I think when you go federally gets automatically registered, like you just have to take a box and you get registered provincially as well. So it could depend on the country you’re in as well.

Club member 19:17
I don’t know how to start, you know, like, do you write a vision down?

Sujani 19:22

Club member 19:23
Do you-

Sujani 19:25
I think regardless of the idea or the problem, start talking to people about it, right? Like as you’re talking to me, you’re probably answering your own question. You’re probably like, Okay, I didn’t word that properly. That didn’t come out, right. Like what’s this?

Club member 19:41

Sujani 19:42
That’s gonna happen, right? And for me, it was kind of happening the other way around, because I was doing the one on one coffee chats with people people were telling me I picked up was that, regardless of who I sat down with, I was telling them the exact same thing. So the problems were the same, right? So for you, if it’s in the laboratory space, go talk to like, quote unquote, your ideal customers and see, what are they saying? Right? That’s one of it. And the second thing is, take some sort of action, because the momentum will come from that, right? If, if you’re afraid to start, because you’re like, Oh, my God, do I need to Incorporated? Do I need a website? Do I need this? Do I need that? Right? Like, start taking some action in those areas and see how you feel? Right? When you go to incorporate, are you like, do I really need this? Maybe I still need to go talk to people, because I don’t know what it is that I’m that I want to do yet, right? And maybe even like, what is the smallest most simplest thing you could do today that addresses that problem? Or that question in your head? And maybe it’s talking to your ideal customer about it to say like, Hey, is this a problem you’re seeing? Right? And we can probably have another session on that. And we could have something specific to side hustles. But that’s kind of where I would start is start talking to people about it, so that you’re even formulating what you’re trying to say, right? Even with PH SPOT I knew is building a platform, some sort of community. But I think up until maybe this year, I couldn’t really verbalize exactly what I was building. To say like, this is it, right? And so that takes time and you kind of just try stuff, you try it, you do it, you pivot you, you know, take a step back. But that, you know, in your head what that overall vision is, you just don’t know how to talk about it, you don’t know what the right words are. You don’t know who you’re targeting, right? So those are the pieces that you’re going to have to figure out. And that’s going to come from taking action talking to people, it’s not going to come from you just thinking about it in your head or just reading a few articles, right, you got to go out and do some of that talk.

Hey, hope you enjoyed that episode was that such a- such a fun conversation to listen in on? So you know, like I said at the beginning, I really hope that this kind of like kick starts your journey into entrepreneurship and to exploring a side hustle. If you have ideas that you want to kind of bounce off and get some support on, I definitely encourage you to join the public health career club. We are opening the doors to that again in about a month. So in August of 2023, we will be opening up the doors again. So make sure you get yourself on the waitlist and then you will know exactly when we open up the doors. So that’s at We’re also thinking about building a course around how to launch a side hustle within like 30 days. So it’s something that I’m still thinking through and wanting to build and put out there in the world. And so if that’s something of interest to you, and you want to make sure you don’t miss out on that, when we launch that definitely, you know, join our mailing list at up or if you find me on LinkedIn and follow me there, that’s also a place that I would be sharing that. Again, I hope you know this journey is fun for you. If you do go down this route of building something, it definitely gets your creative juices going. It helps you, you know, learn business and helps you learn so many things that I think is- is so beneficial to your public health career. I know. I’ve learned how to like manage people how to build partnerships with stakeholders, how to organize my time, just so much great things that have come out of building my not for profit or building PH SPOT. And it’s been such a great complement to my public health career. So I hope you know this journey ends up being as exciting and fun as it was for me. And with that. This is PH SPOTlight. I’m Sujani Siva, and I hope to see you on the next episode.


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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