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What if… we support others by sharing stories?

A photo of Rupa and Vardeep under a banner for their Courageous Collective podcast

This month’s guest blog highlights the impact you can have when you support other people to share their stories. Rupa and Vardeep are experienced communication professionals who bring their skills to this area of kindness and share practical suggestions for how you can do the same.

Throughout our working lives, we’ve both had moments of thinking, “Where are the women who look like me?’’ Once you start asking that question, it’s difficult to unsee the lack of diversity, and this realisation brought us together.

We’re two creative business founders from South Asian backgrounds who got talking when we worked on a client project together. Our conversation led to our similar experience of industry events, where usually white men were on stage, alongside a handful of white women and even fewer women of colour on the stage or in the audience.

Fed up with undiverse events we decided to do something about it. In 2023, we launched The Courageous Collective podcast which amplifies women of colour, who are creative business founders, so that we can share stories that people might not otherwise hear.

We’re now in season two of the podcast, have interviewed 20+ women, and built a thriving Instagram community. Central to the podcast’s success is our ability to support others in sharing their stories of how they’ve built their businesses.

Why share stories?

Stories spark human connection and have the power to change the way we think. They remind us of who we are and help us make sense of the world around us. When we don’t hear about individuals who share our experiences, it can lead us to believe they don’t exist. This can send us subconscious messages that we are not capable of achieving the positions or goals we aspire to because do not see people like us in those roles.

Building trust

Our guests trust us to share their stories. We always treat them respectfully and never force them to focus on a particular topic unless they are willing. Often, when we’re talking, we find similar themes or topics come up naturally, which helps break the ice and create a bond.


It’s challenging to put yourself out there, so we carefully manage the whole podcast experience so there are no surprises for our guests. We share our questions beforehand so they know what to expect, and we always ask them if they have any special requirements or preferences.

We genuinely want to have the best informal conversations so it’s important the whole experience is comfortable for them. That means we’ve had to adapt to changes that happen on the fly – like rescheduling at the last minute when one of our guests suddenly felt unwell or not using video as one of the guests preferred not to. Actively listening to our guests is also crucial. We give them the space to share their journey without interruption or taking over the conversation to suit our agenda. 

Clear about our purpose

Our purpose runs through everything we do with our podcast. It’s our North Star, keeping us focused on the guests we choose and the topics we discuss. We spend a lot of time researching our guests and topics and ensuring they are the right fit for our podcast.

Role models

It can be inspiring to hear from people who are doing creative things, especially for so many of us from ethnic backgrounds who didn’t always have role models when we were growing up. We consider the stories we are sharing and who is telling them to make sure we have a diverse representation of women of colour. We don’t want the podcast to feel like an exclusive club so we go beyond our immediate networks to seek our guests from different backgrounds, experiences and industries.

Cheerleading others

Doing the podcast has helped grow our networks. We now have access to many bright women of colour business founders in different industries, so we put their names forward when we see relevant events and speaking opportunities. And just because they’ve been on our podcast once, we don’t forget about them. We continue to share their stories and champion their businesses through our social media channels and ongoing promotion.

We want to be the change we want to see which is why The Courageous Collective was created. We hope our small courageous act of starting a podcast helps others to do something they may have wanted to do for a long time.

Helpful questions to ask when considering sharing stories:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the purpose of sharing this story?
  • Does the story resonate with the audience?
  • What do we want the audience think, do and feel?
  • How can we make the story relatable and engaging?
  • What do we want the audience to take away from the story?
  • What are our audience’s needs, e.g. accessibility, different formats?
  • How can we encourage audience interaction?
  • How can we market the story to show we represent our target audience?

Rupa Bharadva and Vardeep Edwards are the creators and hosts of The Courageous Collective podcast. Listen to the latest episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Get in touch with Rupa and Vardeep via LinkedIn or Instagram.

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