An Entrepreneurs Journey: Niduk D'souza

With our August networking night just a few days away, we would like to introduce our YWiB community to one of our featured speakers: Niduk D’souza from Impact with Intention. Niduk has helped hundreds of nonprofits raise more money, think strategically and implement their programs effectively, and at our networking night this Thursday, she will be teaching those in attendance how to ‘Pitch Your Way to Success.’ But until then, we hope you enjoy learning more about her journey as an entrepreneur.


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Everywhere I look these days I see the buzz word of our time, ‘Entrepreneur’. Across LinkedIn, social media posts, articles and incubator programs popping up around the city, the message these days remains: become an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur myself, I find the rise of the entrepreneur era fascinating because our world struggles with disrupting the status quo. Our whole lives we are conditioned and trained to get a job and become a good employee. Attending school, tasking out classes by the hour, going onto university and developing a little more autonomy, we are still taught to ‘do’, and always with the intention to get a job and be a model citizen.

My entrepreneurial journey has always been wholly focused on building businesses with impact. Was this because I’m a woman? Perhaps. I recall attending a seminar once where a speaker mentioned this. Maybe it is the case that more women than men start social purpose businesses. Regardless, my personal values have always been rooted in supporting the most vulnerable beings on our planet. I remember when describing my business (helping NGOs, charities and social purpose businesses become more effective at what they do) to a relative who told me to go get a ‘real job’. This wasn’t the first time I was told that and to be honest, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Ironically, while having dinner with this same relative 17 years later, they mentioned that now in their retirement they were focused on giving back. I laughed and said, “well, if you hadn’t been working in businesses that were taking in the first place, then you wouldn’t need to spend your retirement giving back”.

Aligning my values to my vision of the businesses I wanted to create has been fundamental to recognizing the type of life I want to lead

Aligning my values to my vision of the businesses I wanted to create has been fundamental to recognizing the type of life I want to lead. I knew right away businesses with social impact are what I value most. So it’s not a surprise that every business I have ever built or associated myself with has been tied directly to having a positive social impact. I have intentionally surrounded myself with entrepreneurs and business owners who are now lifelong friends. Learning from and building masterminds with them has helped me to grow revenue by landing 7 figure deals.

But here is what I believe my secret sauce to success has been - I’ve been very selective with whom I surround myself with. I have with intention, built myself a community of women business owners, a large number of them who also share experiences of migration, being a person of colour or who have also had to learn to live with chronic illness. There is strength and power in shared experiences and lessons. Community and adaptation is not learned in any certificate, diploma or degree program, even if they add the words culture, women, diversity and inclusion to it.

Developing clarity is one of the greatest investments an entrepreneur can make. Sadly, few do. My greatest successes as an entrepreneur have come to pass because I continually invest in sharpening my clarity on who I am in this particular season of my life and who I am serving in my businesses.

Clarity evolves, as you do. Over the years, this has led me to stop ‘pulling up a chair’ or ‘taking a seat’ at tables with people who don’t look like me, lack common experiences and the context of individuals who seek to serve the audiences I serve. So, I have built my own table.

This is entrepreneurial disruption.

In my experience, this is what we do as entrepreneurs. We build our own tables. Tables not for everyone, but specifically for those who we are looking to serve. By finding our community, building a table for purpose, we find ourselves in our most perfect niche, serving those we were always meant to.

By finding our community, building a table for purpose, we find ourselves in our most perfect niche, serving those we were always meant to.

It isn’t always easy being a South Asian woman building your own table; most tables are still surrounded by older Caucasian men and women. Some of them have read books and earned degrees that certify them as “specialists” or “experts”. Some of them are called to the table by a particular good, especially in the sector I work in. These tables often stand on legs built with institutional and colonial legacy and money, re-branded as investments, ultimately geared towards preserving and maintaining the integrity of specific ways of life cloaked in the ‘do-gooder’ complex. These were never tables designed for someone who looks like, dreams, or thinks like me. 

Here is the real secret I’ve learned about tables. They are never permanent.

Here is the real secret I’ve learned about tables. They are never permanent. At this point in time, we are seeing a lot of discord around the world because traditional concepts of the table are being challenged by disruptors. That is us. The entrepreneurs finding our niches to serve. 

 If you are interested in learning more about Niduk’s work with social entrepreneurs, visit: www.impactwithintention.com/the-entrepreneurs-table


Niduk D’souza has been a nonprofit leader and advocate for over 17 years. From working with grassroots community organizations across Africa and Asia to large donor organizations in the UK and North America, Niduk has helped hundreds of nonprofits raise more money, think strategically and implement their programs effectively. In 2006, Niduk helped to build Kenya’s first free children’s library - Nguuni Children’s Education Centre. Over a decade later, over 100,000 children have read, studied and played here.

In 2018, she launched her latest social business, Impact With Intention, an online educational platform for nonprofit leaders. Taking her years of experience teaching and practice in the field of helping nonprofits both online and in-person she has designed this educational and learning resource for small nonprofit changemakers and leaders to strengthen their capacity across 4 pillars: Governance; Fundraising & Communications; Project Management and; Monitoring & Evaluation.

Niduk has also recently joined the leadership team at UP Fundraising, where she is leading a new division focused on fundraising strategy and stewardship.

Previously, Niduk founded and ran an international development consulting practice working global across all major development focus areas. In 2018, her practice was acquired by PGM Africa. She has also served on the boards of a number of nonprofits from development charities such as The Haller Foundation, Livingstone Tanzania Trust to arts-based nonprofits such as The Red Betty Theatre.

Earning the Max Rotman Humanitarian Award, Niduk is also recognized as a community influencer for visible minorities and women by the Canadian Armed Forces.

Niduk holds a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Industrial Relations from McMaster University. She conducted a review of minimum wage policy in Ontario for the Ministry of Labour. She continued further academic work in worker’s rights, economics and law, at the London School of Economics and Political Science earning a Masters in (Economics) International Management and a Masters in Research Methodology and Statistics at Middlesex University while pursuing her doctoral research. Most recently she completed a case study on Coal Mining in Mozambique and the Leading of Nonviolent Social Movements at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has published and presented at numerous conferences.

Meet Lindsay Johnson: The Radical Connector

With our November networking night just a few days away, we would like to introduce our YWiB community to our keynote speaker: Lindsay Johnson from The Radical Connector. Lindsay has made it a point in her career to help others build their business, and at our networking night this Thursday, she will be teaching those in attendance how to Become a Client Magnet in 3 Easy Steps. But until then, we hope you enjoy learning more about Lindsay and the amazing work she is doing.

What exactly is the radical connector?

The Radical Connector is a company that’s dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses and themselves! On the surface The Radical Connector is a business development company here to teach entrepreneurs the skills and strategies to build their businesses and make money with their perfect clients. Under the surface however, this radical biz is all about connecting folks to a deeper sense of self-acceptance and self-love for a richer life and more fulfilling business.

What made you want to build a business like this?

I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by entrepreneurs and I’ve seen the high times and the low. I’ve witnessed the toll that stress from running a business can take on an entrepreneur as well as the wasted time and money spent on working harder and harder (and harder) on something that isn’t growing. I started The Radical Connector because I wanted to teach first-time entrepreneurs “how” to grow their businesses effectively while connecting to their own inner biz badass so that they can build their business their way based on what has value to them.

One of the key elements I’ve gotten from your site is the idea of combining business development with personal growth. Why do you think this is approach is best when building a business?

Your business will only grow as much as you do. When we are building a business from scratch we are pulling a vision from deep within ourselves and bringing it out to the world. This process also brings all sorts of deep-seated gremlins out to play. Impostor Syndrome, self-doubt, self-sabotage and all of the negative stories running through our heads and keeping us up at night take over our headspace really quickly. Entrepreneurship brings the gift of self-awareness and growth, if we embrace it. Working on yourself will help your businesses grow so much faster.

How have you seen businesses fall short in this respect?

I’ve watched entrepreneurs work really hard to build businesses that are not aligned with what they really want to be doing. I think this plays into a weird shame or guilt a lot of folks feel around doing what they really want instead of what they think they “should” do based on what they “can” do or what will be the most profitable. I’ve also seen so many businesses compromise and take on clients or projects they don’t want to do or even accept abusive treatment from others for the sake of building their business. I’ve watched as entrepreneurs ignored red flags in partnerships, collaborations, and with clients or customers that almost always burn them in the end. But mostly, I’ve just watched entrepreneurs become unhappy and live with constant stress, disconnected from their own joy and fulfillment in their biz. When we don’t do our own internal work, it affects our business’s trajectory and the activities we do to make it grow

How has the radical connector helped you in your own journey through personal growth?

I’ve had to face all of the same gremlins that any entrepreneur does. I’ve had to overcome that voice in my head telling me I’m crazy, that I can’t do it, or that nobody cares. The biggest opportunity for growth that has come out of The Radical Connector is recognizing that I can’t do it alone and I am allowed to ask for help. Whether it’s support from family and friends, purchasing a course, or hiring a professional; building a team of supportive superstars who can help my biz grow has been essential. I’ve also learned to listen to my gut and follow my instincts when something lights me up.

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What are some of the challenges you’ve faced while building your business and how did you overcome them?

Money! Or lack thereof. Also, time. Like most self-funded service based entrepreneurs, I didn’t have much funding and I still needed to work full time to pay my bills (which seem never ending in a city as expensive as Toronto). In order to build my business, cover my operating expenses, and still put a roof over my head and food on the table, I had to make a lot of sacrifices for the first few years. I moved into a shared living space with cheap rent. I stopped spending money going out unless it was to networking events, business meetings or something that would put me in front of my ideal clients or collaborators . I stopped spending money on clothes, movies, vacations, etc. I asked family members to help support me financially with small amounts of money per month for two years so I would only have to work a job part time. And I left my full time marketing gig for a job as a nanny (that’s right…a nanny!) so that I could have more time (and less stress) to focus solely on my business. In short, I got creative and did anything and everything I could to focus on my business and grow it the way I wanted, compromise-free.

Was there any support available to you? If not, did you seek out any? What kind(s) of support?

There is not a lot of financial support available to service-based businesses outside of traditional bank loans. In fact, access to funding for service-based businesses owned and operated by women has now become a part of The Radical Connector’s mandate. I’ve seen what women can do with $5000 and the right business support and mentorship. Access to funding and support for women starting service-based businesses is something I’ll be working on in the very near future.

How have you been able to carve your own career path during a time when so many people seem to be taking that career route?

I’ve never been a corporate career woman. There was something very weird to me about picking a career from a piece of paper in high school and then building my entire life around my selection. I had no idea what I wanted to do at that age so I chose to follow my heart and do things that lit me up and excited me. That’s not easy to do when surrounded by super focused friends who are getting, what felt like, a big head-start in their professional lives. It was hard not to compare myself to my peers and feel like I was falling short. There were definitely times I wish I knew what it was I wanted to do with my life; it certainly would have made my life easier. But I didn’t want to sell myself out for financial security or to fit in with the status quo. I stuck to my guns and worked in various roles, always following what lit me up and leaving things that didn’t fit behind. Eventually I got to the point I am today where I get to do work that fulfills me, makes a difference in the lives of others and serves my greater purpose. I’m so happy I didn’t give up on myself and my dreams.

What role does your personality/personal style play in your do business?

I have been called a ray of sunshine since I was a little girl. To this day, that is one of the first things people say when we first me. Having an optimistic, outgoing, and caring personality definitely plays a role in my business. I’m also super strategic and my brain is always trying to understand how and why things work and how to get from A to B in the most effective and fun way possible. Add to that my open, authentic, and accepting demeanor and it’s clear to folks that they are safe to open up and be real with themselves and me about what they really want out of life and their business. Then it’s my job to help them get there.

How important is it to have a community, either of other entrepreneurs or women in general, in helping to build a business?

Community is EVERYTHING! Entrepreneurship is very different than working in the corporate world and if you don’t have a supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs you will feel lonely and isolated very quickly. Without a community of likeminded folks who are on a similar journey you’ll notice your own creativity and drive dry up. Being in community is essential to your own inspiration, motivation, and sanity! I have several communities around me for both business and my life in general. I tend to get involved with women-identified communities as we face a lot of the same challenges and frustrations…and really we just speak the same language. There’s an ease and depth to the interactions of a group of women-identified folks that allows for authenticity and vulnerability that results in deeper growth and connections. Being part of different communities has led to friendships, business growth, a wealth of resources, and opportunities I would have never had access to if I was trying to do it all alone.

How were you able to find your community?

Lots of networking! I love meeting new people, so that’s an easy one for me. Going out to events that interest me or where I know I’ll meet like-minded folks and then starting a conversation with a new face is how I expand my own community and learn about others. I’m also a member of a few different co-working spaces so that I not only get out of the house (just say no to isolation) but I’m also constantly meeting new and fabulous people. And finally, I’m a member of several Facebook groups, including my own called Rad Connectors. Facebook groups give me 24/7 access to support, resources, and fun conversations around the world.

What are some of the projects you are currently working on?

I have just launched a beta version of a new online program called, Irresistible Entrepreneurs Academy. It’s an 8-week virtual program that teaches entrepreneurs exactly what to do to build their businesses with their perfect clients. I’m really excited about this program because it will cut through so much confusion and overwhelm many first-time entrepreneurs experience and get them attracting the best clients and making money, fast!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Entrepreneurship is a personal growth goldmine. You’ll develop patience, persistence, and resilience along with a deeper connection to yourself. Radical self-acceptance and trusting your gut will propel your business forward. And if you get stuck come connect with our kickass community of entrepreneurs in my Facebook group, Rad Connectors, where we support your entrepreneurial journey inside and out!

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Lindsay has over 14 years of experience in the world of business development and community building. Born into a long line of business owners and pioneers, she is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship. She started her first business, a neighbourhood babysitting collective, at 14 and hasn’t looked back. Never one for the corporate world, Lindsay has dedicated her life to learning the art of sales, marketing, community building and business development.

Whether running the show in her family’s businesses or consulting with small businesses on how to: connect to their target market; create high-demand products and services; strengthen their reputation and build a loyal community; or simply develop and train teams on how to become stronger in sales, Lindsay has a knack for electrifying businesses and bringing them to life!

However, Lindsay knew that entrepreneurship wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. She’s watched as folks have worked themselves to the point of exhaustion and burnout, wasting years and thousands of dollars struggling to understand how to build their businesses.

Lindsay’s passion for speeding up the learning process and cracking the code for rapid growth inspired her to create, The Radical Connector, in 2013. Now, she spends her time teaching first-time entrepreneurs how to build their businesses from the ground up. She has rolled her vast experience into a powerful system for faster growth and unshakable confidence 

Beyond Lindsay’s business coaching she also: travels between BC and ON supporting her thriving entrepreneurial community, Rad Connectors; speaks around North America on topics related to business development and radical self-acceptance; facilitates the Radical Biz Retreat twice a year; and is the Vice President of the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce where she supports sustainable growth and business development programming for LGBTQ+ business owners.

Lindsay will help you get crystal clear on your deeper purpose and big, bold business vision and then teach you how to bring it to life!

If you would like to learn more about Lindsay and The Radical Connector checkout these links:

Rad Connectors Facebook Group

Irresistible Entrepreneurs Academy

Facebook and Instagram: @radicallinds