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Trailblazing Entrepreneur


Uppma Virdi is a trailblazing female entrepreneur.

Just when her legal career in a disruptive startup was about to take off, she made the decision to run her own business called Chai Walli. She built this business from the ground up, making it her and her team’s mission to preserve the Indian culture of teas and spices by bringing the most authentic chai blends to the Australian market. She runs her business and her side projects with deep values of purpose, vulnerability and passion. She’s proved to be an innovator, a natural leader, a marketer and a conscious entrepreneur changing the face of business.

Uppma is a natural public speaker. She is a truly captivating speaker who brings her own unique style to the stage. When Uppma takes her place on the stage, her raw and honest persona will leave you feeling moved and shaken. She’s perfected the art of having uncomfortable and difficult conversations on an open stage. Uppma is known to push boundaries with her work and her speaking, continually challenging herself to make the impossible possible. She challenges her audience to expand their thinking and slowly peels back layers for and with them, allowing them to see things they normally would not.

Uppma has an unshaken commitment to self-awareness and strives to show up each day as her best version. Being a first-generation migrant with no role models growing up for her to look up to, she needed first to inspire herself to believe that she could achieve anything. She is now a role model for other WOC, BIPOC and South Asian communities. Uppma’s connection to her Indian heritage and pursuit to preserve culture inspires others to tap into and explore their roots.

Some outstanding achievements Uppma has been awarded include being listed as a Forbes 30 under 30 in Retail and E-Commerce, CNN’s 40 under 40, Business Woman of the Year by the Indian Australian Business Community Awards, featured as a Woman to Watch by the Project on Channel 10 featured and being DFAT’s Guest of Honour for International Women’s Day in India by the Australian High Commission.

Talking Points

The Chai Walli Story

Uppma’s journey as a first generation Indian Australian migrant venturing into business and entrepreneurship .

Starting your own business isn’t easy, let alone being a woman of colour. There are many cultural nuances existing in South Asian communities, such as being a lawyer or a doctor are the epitomes of success. But what happens when you challenge the norms? Uppma weaved her way through many societal expectations and questioned the status quo. She left her promising legal career to forge her own path as an entrepreneur and created her business, Chai Walli, to preserve the cultural heritage of Indian teas and spices. She recreated the blends her Grandfather, an Ayurvedic doctor, would make in his medical dispensary in India. She now leads a team of people who help her create 40+ different spice and tea blends which they wholesale, retail and educate the world on through their workshops.

Key Takeaways:
- The strength of self-awareness to empower yourself to take steps to follow your passions and dreams
- A raw insight into the cross-cultural issues that a lot of people go through.
- The realities of starting your own business and changing careers.
- Bonus: How to avoid an unwanted arranged marriage (a joke).

Diversity & Inclusion

Practical and real ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into your community and workplace.

Diversity and inclusion shouldn’t just be a policy; it should be a way of living and working. By embedding the values of a diverse and inclusive mindset in an organisation, we can reduce classism. Diverse and inclusive teams have proven to increase problem-solving, knowledge sharing and global awareness of people. It’s difficult to learn D&I from just a book or one policy; it needs to be shared by diverse leaders who have lived examples to share and teach.

Key Takeaways:
- How to embed values of diversity and inclusion into your organisation’s why.
- How you are a leader in your way and can impact positive change.
- The differences between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.

Living an Authentic Life with Self-Awareness

We all understand how important it is to make time for mindfulness, but it shouldn’t
be a box on our daily routines to tick.

Mindfulness is about being intentional, self aware and authentic. How do we take steps to listen to ourselves in a world that constantly feeds us content? Through this talk, Uppma teaches us that our job isn’t to find ourselves, as we are already here. The job is to explore ourselves, because with us lies beauty, talents and wisdom yet to be uncovered. Through this talk Uppma, through lived experiences, will take you on a journey into mental health, spirituality, work, logic and science. And how, we really can create and sustain a modern day spiritual and balanced life.

Key Takeaways:
- How to live a life that is authentic to you by reflecting and growing.
- Simple and practical ways to bring more mindfulness into your life.
- Why it is so important to confront your inner demons and the impact of avoidance on your mental health.
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