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Skydeck is the HBS alumni podcast series that features interviews with HBS alumni from across the world of business, sharing lessons learned and their own life experiences.

Jun 10, 2021

Three days before giving birth to her second daughter, Parul Somani (MBA 2009) felt a lump in her breast. Still unable to walk from her C-section, her husband wheeled her to the breast clinic for an ultrasound and biopsy. On her newborn’s one-week birthday, Somani learned she was in the early stages of a particularly invasive and aggressive form of cancer. Her maternity leave suddenly turned into a medical leave to accommodate 10-plus rounds of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries.

Five years later, officially in remission, Somani drew on the lessons learned during that difficult time to launch an inspirational speaker platform called Silver Linings in an effort to champion resilience, advocacy, and mental wellbeing. Somani believes that silver linings aren’t meant to just be “found” during the darkest of times, but can be created through mindset, intention, and sense of purpose. These are all learnable skills, she says, that can be used to build resilience and better navigate the uncertainty and challenges we all confront. In this episode of Skydeck, Somani talks to Associate Editor Julia Hanna about the moment of her diagnosis, an unexpected silver lining from her own experience, her career pivot, and how she sees her work evolving in the future.