This article was originally published here: Vivek Pandit – Co-Founder, VP of Partnerships
Not many people start their entrepreneurial careers by exploding an egg in their boss’s face, but then Vivek Pandit doesn’t take traditional routes!
What’s your story?
I was in Detroit working for Dan Gilbert, owner of the CAVS. I accidentally exploded an egg on his face… yolk dripping down his $10K suit. He started calling me Scrambled, and he eventually became a mentor. He once told me: “We are not for-profit, we are not non-profit, we are for-more-than-profit.” This revolutionized what I believed to be possible. I went back to college and fell in love with social entrepreneurship. Now I have co-founded a company that will allow me to make millions of dollars while helping millions of people. Purpose, work, fun, and money all in one.
What excites you most about your industry?
By connecting corporate America with diverse talent, we are helping underrepresented students discover what is possible – both in the workplace, and within themselves. As we make corporate America look like real America, we are broadening the horizons of what is possible for our corporate partners. With diverse talent comes better, nuanced understanding of various customer segments, markets, products, etc.
We are unlocking business and human potential… and we make money doing it. Tell me what could be more exciting than that!
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I am philosophically driven by the idea that the human body and mind are capable of extraordinary things. At a young age, the word “potential” elicited a curious and passionate drive to see what I and others are capable of. When I discovered the power of the private sector in sparking effective and efficient change, I began to wonder how far my financial success and social impact can reach. Instead of trying to understand the game of life, I have focused on understanding myself as the player. By putting these three things together, I have realized that anything is possible.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Maintain and chase a vision, but get lost in the present moment.
Figuring out how to embody that balance has been a persistent challenge, but it has allowed me to navigate how to create possibilities and opportunities in the present moments that will ultimately add up to a beautiful vision. Many people work on hard skills, but I’ve realized it is the soft skills, people skills, and self awareness, that is extremely powerful. I treat every person like a walking miracle and incredible story, and I expose myself to environments that constantly reshape what I believe to be possible.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? : “In the measurement world, you set a goal and try to achieve it. In the world of possibility, you set the context and watch life unfold.” – Art of Possibility
This quote changed my entire focus: instead of pursuing a tangible goal, I focus on setting the context – my attitude and mentality – and let the journey of life take me for a ride. It is incredible the amount of spontaneous events that have occurred in my life that have all added up to my current success. Maintain a vision, but find the beauty in each moment.
Who inspires you?
This is cliche, but there’s not another answer: my parents and sister. My dad taught me how to be self aware and think from an interdisciplinary lens. He made me a fantastic problem solver. My mom taught me how to genuinely connect with people and view laughter as a powerful tool of influence. My sister opened my eyes to the true definition of patience and empathy. My being is 100% a combination of my family. I am proud of who I am, excited for what I can do, and it’s all because of my incredible parents and sister.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Adults are just kids in bigger bodies! The more I meet with CEO’s, Venture Capitalists, Influencers, etc. I’ve come to realize that nobody understands anything and everyone is trying to figure out their individual pursuits of happiness. Just because people are older and more experienced, doesn’t mean they know as much as we think. In the end, everyone has an inner kid in them, everyone is trying to figure it out, and it’s a freeing realization. Treat adults with respect, but understand that we are all human in the end…
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Trust the process. I think when we get caught up in the stresses of life, we miss the bigger picture. I’ve learned to have faith and trust in myself, the people around me, and the universe. I wish I wouldn’t have doubted myself so much, critiqued myself so intensely, and appreciated how the little things add up. It’s important to constantly evaluate yourself, but be proud of yourself and have faith in yourself. Trust the process and let life do its thing.
How do you unwind?
Dancing! I was a competitive dancer in college, and have been going to hip hop and break dancing classes the past few months. Before bed, I like to dance alone in my room and feel the music in me. It helps me detach from all my thoughts and physical possessions and lets me truly appreciate the current moment. Dancing helps me feel free, confident, joyous, and excited to start fresh and conquer the next day.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
Being young and inexperienced can be a huge advantage.
I used to be intimidated when I’d enter rooms with people way richer, older, and more experienced than me. What the heck could I provide? The ah ha answer: A fresh perspective.
Experience is great, but it means you are closely connected to a process or mentality that can sometimes prevent you from zooming out and seeing another solution or perspective. My inexperience and young age is something I can use to my advantage. It’s the youth in me that is the catalyst to disrupting rigid, standardized ways of thinking.
Everyone in business should read this book:
1. Principles, Ray Dalio
2. Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda
Principles – this book revolutionized the way I live life on a daily basis, and gave me insights into creating and fulfilling a vision.
Autobiography of Yogi – this book shocked me, as it made me realize that nothing is impossible. Steve Jobs was buried with one thing in his casket… this book.
Shameless plug for your business:
If you are a talent recruiter, or an underrepresented student looking for an internship, visit our website! We are bridging the gap between corporate America and diverse talent. If you haven’t heard of us yet, you will soon.
Here’s a trailer of a show that is going to be based on our company: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhTvCktU5EA&t=27s
How can people connect with you?
DM me on social media! Feel free to send me an email ([email protected]), and once we connect, I’ll most likely give you my cell so we can chat anytime!
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.