Straight Talk with Ninorah Fernandes-Brookshire

Ninorah Fernandes-Brookshire, founder of NRIWomanPodcast, NindiBindis, NayaJeevanFoundation & HappyHanksCoffee shares insights with Sameera Fernandes on how she has managed to establish herself both personally and professionally and live life to the best.

As a professional working woman, what are some of the areas that have contributed to keep you going?

Everyone has unconscious biases – even the best-intentioned people. But I am one of the lucky few to have co-workers who always recognise my potential. I am appreciated for the work I do and the Management constantly pushes me to do more. Working women of colour face a unique set of challenges across race/ethnicity, gender, and culture but thankfully I haven’t faced any of these roadblocks. I do believe that if you stay true to yourself and are genuine, people recognise it instantly.


How do you manage home and work? What tips would you share to other women in a similar situation as yourself?

I went back into the workforce after being a SAHM for 17 years. All my children ever knew of me was being around the kitchen cooking and doing the household chores. It was a major shift in tides for all of us. “Never say never” like they say. Roles are reversed now. I work a 9-5 job with an added 2 hour commute but I make time for cooking when I am back home as I enjoy cooking for my family. I also tend to utilise the weekends to run errands, have friends over and cook for the rest of the coming week. Just remember to never forget yourself whilst juggling it all. Take time out to rest. Everything can wait and usually the world doesn’t crumble if you don’t get to the laundry on time.


What have you sacrificed along your career journey?

When I chose to have children, I had to put my career on the back burner.  I was an Account Executive Assistant for a reputed Advertising agency in NYC. Whilst most of my friends who went back to work were climbing up their career ladders, I was fixing dinners and taking my kids to after school activities. Emotionally I was frazzled even though I was grateful for being able to stay at home with them. It took a toll on my self-esteem. I tried to stay busy with philanthropy work and some small home businesses. I started Podcasting during my stay in Dubai and that helped me a lot mentally.


What is the greatest risk you’ve undertaken?

My greatest risk was putting aside a career path and choosing to look after my kids at home. I put my whole trust in my husband and the marriage. I knew he was capable of taking care of his family even though at that time, it was a rough ride upwards. I never gave it a second thought. If I chose otherwise, I would be making a six figure salary by now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life overall is inherently risky. It’s who we put our trust in, is what matters.


What are your future plans and where do you see the world headed with the current pandemic and beyond?

I work for a multinational Real Estate Company. I hope to pursue a Real Estate course in due time and continue working till my kids leave for college in a couple of years. The pandemic turned the world topsy-turvy. Our normalcy has been lost. But we cannot live in crisis forever. We have to start to redefine normal. This pandemic taught us many important lessons. So many to learn from, in these last two years. But the ones that top it all is there’s goodness and humanity even in darkness. Life is precious. Be grateful for your life and for the ones close to you and continue to help others when needed, as that’s when we are at our best. It’s called ‘Inner beauty’.


How do you unplug from work?

I go for a 45 minute walk every day after work. I work close to a beach so am very grateful for the scenery. Over the weekend, I cook for my family, spend quality time with my teens who are going to fly out the nest pretty soon. I also like to invite friends over for an Indian meal as I love cooking and trying out new dishes. Amidst all of this, I squeeze time out for wine, Netflix and news.

The views and opinions published here belong to the interviewer and the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sameera Fernandes
Sameera Fernandes is the Director of Ecosol Global and Chairperson of External Affairs - Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC). She is also the former Director – Strategy, St. Francis College, Bengaluru.

She was conferred with the Nirbhaya Award and also the ‘Woman of Influence’ Award by Archbishop Dr. Peter Machado.

Her past stints include Sun Microsystems, Nokia (UAE), Jet Airways, Al Ghurair Investments (UAE) and has been a regular contributor to the Friday Magazine of Gulf News.

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