A chat with our co-founder : Nanki

As co-founder of Blueberg, Nanki works independently as well as with partners to build diagnostic tools and develop programmes for companies to implement in their workplace. With Nanki’s background in healthcare, community and in the non-profit sector, she is specifically in charge of product development as well as programme building and coordination. 

Nanki was born in India, brought up in Hong Kong, following which she lived and worked in Australia and Singapore before making her way back to Hong Kong. Having spent most of her life away from her passport country has allowed her to assimilate into a diverse community, feeling an emotional pull to many different cultures yet unable to fully claim any as her own. 

Previously, she was unable to pinpoint to a place she would be able to call home. At times, one of the most dreaded yet seemingly simple icebreaker question she would regret to hear is “Where are you from?” or “Where is home for you?”.  She would change her responses depending on who she was talking to, how much time she would have, and if she felt that if the person was genuinely curious. 

She realised she was able to notice cultural nuances, norms, and trends very quickly. This was an adaptation skill she realised she learned from all the transitional experiences she had since childhood. 

Since moving back to Hong Kong, several people have asked her what it is like to be a minority here.  She would tend to reply that even in India, she is a minority – a woman, from a minority ethnic background and a religion compromising just 2% of India’s population. 

Overtime she began to realise that stereotypes remain highly prevalent, and some members of society may even begin to act upon those stereotypes or entail prejudice.  There remains a bias and several members of society believe that differences between racial and ethnic groups are real and we’re all genetically distinct. Stereotypes about innate racial differences are still used to justify treating different groups of people in different ways and having assumptions about them. 

Nanki began to realise that society feels comfortable with putting her and others into a ‘box’ and this can take away our individual voices.  People start expecting you to act and feel a certain way.  By assuming everyone should fit into this box, others may have difficulty understanding that we all have expansive identities that go beyond gender, ethnicity or nationality.  

Why are we in today’s globalised world still not looking beyond the obsolete concept of naturally-occurring genetically-distinct racial groups?

The truth may be that humans are scared of the unknown.  Like in animals, tribalism is inherent in humans and we like to stay within our comfort zone. 

Our point of view can sometimes hinder us.  Without even meaning to, we can start to see perspectives via tunnel vision and stop seeing the bigger picture.  But when we begin to expand our perspectives, we broaden our reality and horizons.  

As the co-founder of Blueberg, Nanki’s aim remains to bind people together, but not just being a coach but also a collaborator; by assessing and working with clients to understand their cultural profile, and working with them to develop a holistic solution towards their diversity goals. 

Blueberg was founded on the basis of these perspectives. We use evidence-based practices and tools to help you and your company embrace.  We don’t just need to support each other but also bring our differences together.  We want to move away from having a culture of integration towards inclusion – taking into account identities and preferences of individuals.

Blueberg emphasises that we’re more than our race or ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual identity. We are markets, customers, ideas and talent. We are people with creativity, cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence.

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