Interview with Sarada Chunduri- Shoesmith | Wake up gigs

Name: Sarada Chunduri-Shoesmith

What do you do? How do you describe your working life?

I am a healthcare manager and regulator. I work Monday- Friday, 9-5.  I am lucky to be able to work from home and have an office close by to whilst I have been on secondment, which means I still get a good few hours a day with my son, Edwin. It is an office based job but I spend a lot of time in meetings and the importance of influence is crucial in making a difference to care, which I am passionate about. A lot of people in healthcare work longer hours, including weekends and evenings because people get ill all the time! And occasionally I have to do the same.

Did you show any signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today?

Not at all! I think I wanted to be an international pop star when I was young girl so I’ve got a way to go to achieve that. I did think I would escape east London, where I was born and grew up but after a nomadic trip around London and an attempt at the country life in Norfolk, we have been well settled in Stratford for five years now.

Describe your morning routine

Obviously, no need for an alarm clock any more as my helpful son provides this daily service. I try and pretend I haven’t heard it and my husband usually gets my son up first thing in the morning. I might have a few guilty pleasure minutes checking my phone before joining them for breakfast. We know what time we need to be out of the house each day – so we have got a routine of sorts. I have a very simple toast and coffee each day, which I find keeps me going and has been an important part of staying healthy.

Sarada Chunduri- Shoesmith

Describe where you get your inspiration/ideas from? When do they arrive?

I had a professional career coach last year, who told me things my husband tells me all the time, but for some funny reason they resonated more forcefully with me! She taught me simple exercises like the importance of taking time to count 10 things you are grateful or that you can see in your surroundings. I’ve found combining that with making a conscious effort to try and find new things to do either in the evenings or at the weekend keeps me happy.  Since Edwin was born, we seek out the parent and baby/child events and have even been inspired to start our own, Wake Up Gigs.  When we realised that no one was doing parent friendly live music gigs in a relaxed and welcoming environment, with bands that you might have seen before you became parents but at weekends and during the daytime, we seized the initiative and despite no previous experience ran our first show in November, with the next planned for 5 March.

When motivation waivers how do you get back on track?

I tend to overly worry that I am never doing enough and my mind gets stuck on a loop of these thoughts. I have found the best way to break that is to be inspired by what others have done, take stock of what I’ve done and then make a proactive contact to all the people I find inspiring no matter how lofty or unrealistic they might be because you never know where it might lead.

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle?

At the moment the proximity to work and working from home some days has offered great balance so I can enjoy time with Adam, Edwin and family. Adam and I have the advantage of being early adopters of shared parental leave, which I feel has made balance realistic as Edwin knows there are two of us and plenty of family and friends around who can all care for him. I also actively make time and effort to ensure Adam and I have time for each other and I am not ashamed to make use of nearby family or set money aside for our babysitter friend as our happiness equates to Edwin’s happiness.

If you could do something else for the day what would it be?

I’d like to be a tour manager, which is inspired by recently watching Roadies on Amazon Prime Video, which shows a mostly glamorous lifestyle of travelling round the country (or world), getting to watch a cool band every night, and also appealing to my enjoyment of leading and coordinating events. I am sure the reality would be quite different!

How do you overcome challenges in your working life?

In healthcare management, the challenge can often be ensuring that you can sufficiently hold sway and influence senior managers so that safety and experience people have of healthcare is optimum. I try to build relationships and trust with people (though I don’t always get this right!), which help me through the difficult times.

How do you celebrate your successes?

I’ve had to work hard to do this, and can honestly say I don’t celebrate enough! Once I’ve come very close to achieving what I want I am immediately thinking about and working on the next challenge. Definitely something to work on – any takers to help me?!

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend?

I’ve loved Emily Oster’s Expecting Better and Linda Geddes’ Bumpology – the evidence and science of risk of having babies for those with millennial attention spans!

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready?

To make myself feel vaguely human, I use Laura Mercier moisturiser, NARS lipstick and slick of MAC eyeline. I am lucky that I don’t have to join the rat race of the tube commute so far and enjoy a 10 minute walk to Edwin’s nursery and then another 10 minutes to the office. I really love walking.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I wouldn’t bother; she wouldn’t listen! She’s had to make her own mistakes, burn bridges and create wounds to heal from. That’s growing up I guess.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I now cannot get that Noah and the Whale/Laura Marling song out of my head. But seriously, with my beloved day job I would like to have gained experience of healthcare management at more senior levels. And with Wake Up Gigs, I love showcasing new artists, but just once I’d love to have had a joint headline show featuring Beyonce and Adele in a small, intimate, independent venue. Of course.  

Find out more about Wake Up Gigs