30Under30 Honouree: Sucharita Ghosh

Great to hear from our 2023 Global 30-under30 honouree, Sucharita Ghosh who is excited to drive positive impact to improve the quality of life of real people, specially in the space of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women, in her capacity as a researcher and consultant working with behavioural insights.

I have been in love with storytelling from a very young age. The world of stories is dreamy and magical – no matter how harrowing the setup, you can always change it all with the flick of a pen. It was important to me find a profession that would keep me close to human stories. I wanted to listen and learn from these stories – and help make them more joyful, if the opportunity presented itself.

In college, I encountered social psychology and consumer behaviour for the first time. From there, I sought out internships to understand the field better. I was amazed by the sheer diversity of stories brought to life, and the scale of day-to-day impact on real lives. I joined Purple Audacity as a Research Trainee shortly after and the rest is history! In my four years, I have grown to lead my own team. I have a 200+ strategic project portfolio under my belt, spanning across commercial and development sectors. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to lead truly innovative cultural ethnographies, trend foresighting studies, semiotic decoding projects….and have won a couple of awards while at it!

Overall, I would say my entry into the industry is a lot like a river meandering its way to the sea; I took my time to get here, collecting a lot of meaningful experiences along the way, and when I finally did, a whole new world of opportunities was waiting for me.

I am most proud of the work I have done to advance access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and build allyship for the LGBTQIA+ community in India.

While I do have experience in the development sector too, the projects closest to my heart are the ones done for commercial clients – because I also understand what it takes to get projects like these greenlit, and then actioned out.

To me, it signals hope that the world cares about meaningful change outside of designated days/months of the year when these subjects are more topical, that there is potential to effect change at a systemic level….that there is possibly a universe where access to SRHR, and equal rights and facilities for the LGBTQIA+ community would not fall under the bracket of ‘activism’.

What two things should junior researchers focus on as they progress in their careers?

Training and mentorship, specially in first couple of years. Find places that would invest providing you a strong foundation and a clear growth trajectory. Places that will give you opportunities for what you bring to the table, and give you the space to fail forward. Mentorship is just as important; having someone in your corner to build you up with foresight, and actual usable advice is irreplaceable.In the long run, it will make you resilient and fearless for all intents and purposes.  

Come with an open mind. Always keep an eye out for what else you could do to here to build your own niche. There are always new opportunities and directions popping up, and if you are dead-set on just one trajectory, you may miss out on something much greater.

If you are nervous about whether its for you, come anyway. We have a lot of transferable skill sets.

Keep adapting with the times. The world is going through a massive reshuffle – tech innovation is changing the way we work, gaps between people residing in metros vs mini-metros vs smaller-towns are being drastically bridged, approaches to life and lifestyle is undergoing an overhaul, there is a whole new generation actively seeping into the work force…..among other things.

Beyond studying and reporting on these trends for clients, we need to adapt our own tools, processes, policies and way of work to keep up with these shifts – especially to invite and retain more diverse talent in the workplace.  

Yes, loads! It really does take a village but I’ll try not to turn it into a whole speech 🙂

I want to thank my mentors at Purple Audacity – Mukul Gautam and Sharmila Das. Above and  beyond everything that comes with the role, I will always be grateful for their support through the pandemic years. I was barely 20 when I started this job and the pandemic hit not long after. Over night, my friends moved back to their home-towns and I was stranded alone in a city that was once full of friends and family. The industry itself was undergoing drastic cuts at the time, so it was a very stressful time overall – specially for someone with a career spanning <1 year. Had it not been for them, I am not entirely sure I would have had the courage to trust the career-decisions I made for myself until then, and see them through.

And a huge shout out to my parents – who have been cool enough to let me explore my interests to my heart’s content till I found what worked for me. That is not the norm where I live, and I will forever be grateful for their unconditional support through it all.