Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Aparna Arvind, Founder of Christopher Leah Consulting, Inc., located in Potomac, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are an executive coaching and leadership development firm that focuses on mental fitness and emotional intelligence for emerging leaders within the for-profit and non-profit healthcare sector (Program Managers to C-suite in medical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and biotech). We are an Authorized Everything DiSC Partner that provides psychometric assessments and training facilitation kits to organizations for the Everything DiSC portfolio of products. We administer & debrief Genos Emotional Intelligence 360 assessments, as well as facilitate leadership trainings on Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

Tell us about yourself

I am a certified executive coach & emotional intelligence practitioner with a background in healthcare as a primary care physician and extensive experience in healthcare & change management. I am an International Coaching Federation accredited coach with an MBA and Prosci-certified change management practitioner.

I started behavioral coaching in my medical practice when trying to help clients manage chronic illnesses effectively. This led to a passion for coaching itself, given that it empowers individuals to explore options to take ownership of the narrative of their lives, leading to a more fulfilled experience and favorable outcomes. This passion continued to manifest as I worked with leaders across various projects, which ultimately led to my transitioning into a full-time role as a coach. My own personal transformation and ultimate focus on mental fitness came to be when I went through the Positive Intelligence program founded by Shirzad Chamine. This raised awareness, based on root cause analysis, of how we experience emotions and make decisions in our lives and provided tools to significantly improve mental fitness. With a healthcare lens, this sounded like preventative care and an absolute necessity in a world of relentless change, ambiguity, and stress. I decided to incorporate mental fitness into my coaching engagements as a core component to working on any developmental goal. In my capacity as an executive coach, I have helped leaders from Managers to CEOs across various industries, including healthcare, technology services, business services, and non-profits.

What motivates me each day is the passion to create a positive impact in the world. By helping to create transformational leaders who are deeply empathetic, confident, and resilient, I help to scale the impact of mental fitness and emotional intelligence within organizations. That is one powerful motivator to pick me up when faced with challenges or adversity and inspires my children to follow their hearts.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Getting into business and not giving up! We all know that many businesses close down within the first 5 years of starting. Entrepreneurship can be extremely challenging as you are forced to move beyond your comfort zone, work with ambiguity, face risk and forge ahead not knowing what lies ahead with some kind o certainty. It takes grit and resilience to pick oneself up and avoid making easier or safe choices. So I believe that as a business owner, showing up each day with optimism, energy, and passion is a huge accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Versatility. As a business owner, you need to wear multiple hats. It's not enough to be a subject matter expert on the service or product you provide. You need to know how to plan, market, innovate and sustain. And all of this requires a lot of work with no one else footing the bill for your hours or hard work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Believe in yourself and your vision: If you don't believe and trust in what you do, you cannot come across as authentic and win the trust of those who will consume your service or product.
  2. Make time for mental fitness: Just as you would invest in going to a gym to work on your physical fitness, carve out the time to get in touch with yourself and practice techniques that bring focus, calm, and decisive action. There's a lot of noise out there when you're growing a business. Make sure you're operating from a space of self-control and not from one of 'fight or flight.'
  3. Invest time in planning and revisiting your business plan regularly. There can be a lot of ambiguity in business, and what you set out to do, based on certain forecasts & assumptions, may not be the reality you face on the ground. By revisiting your plan, you get to adopt a more agile approach to your business, tweaking & pivoting where needed. Having a sounding board to do this can be very useful.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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