Ask for help. Ask and you shall receive. When you don’t know anybody, don’t struggle on your own ask for help, the community is giving and people are always willing to help you and give you all the information you need to be successful and establish your new roots.
Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.
Erlin has over 12+ years of experience working as a Business Process Transformation consultant within the Banking and Financial Services industry. She started her career in India and later travelled to Canada before immigrating to the US.
Erlin is passionate about women entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2020, from her own experience in searching for a childcare, She founded Kids Care Share — an online childcare search portal for parents with young children. It helps parents find childcare openings, reviews, compare and enroll in the daycare.
Erlin regularly speaks at various events including Lean conferences, Creative Problem-solving forums and women entrepreneurship groups. She also frequently gives guest lectures on topics related to problem solving, Inclusion and women in finance at various leading universities and events.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in Dubai. Growing up I split my childhood in Dubai and Mumbai, India. I was not a bright student in the class and I had to work very hard to prove myself. I studied hard for many years, desperate to lead a better life. I followed my dreams and enrolled in STEM education in High School. I wanted to get into medicine. To my disappointment I couldn’t fulfill that dream. I ended up getting a BS in Computer Applications and a Masters in Human Resources. Later I chose a career in a contact center providing technology support and customer service to customers in North America. In a few years my career blossomed and I found myself travelling globally and I landed a short- term assignment in Canada and later another short assignment in the US.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?
By the age of 25 I had multi-cultural exposure through my work as contact center consultant. In this career I had chosen I had the opportunity to work with peers and partners in the UK, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Philippines and the United States. I was living and learning every day. One day, I took to an online dating website for Indian Men. I was ready for a serious relationship. The website didn’t yield promising results, and on the last day before my membership was going to expire, I got a message from a young man with a sweetest note. I decided to connect with him and go along with the flow. I didn’t know at the time that he was in the US, I learned it in the initial call. We spent time in a long-distance relationship for what seemed like a really looong time, it was for love that made me travel the path to the US.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
I landed in Illinois, 2012. This journey did not come without reservations. Finding employment was tough. Even though I had leadership experience across the globe, many recruiters downplayed that and said that I didn’t have that “experience in the US”. I found it very hard to find employment. We moved to Arizona and then moved to Des Moines, Iowa one of the best decisions we made.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
Uprooting a well-established career and leaving behind family and friends to relocate to another side of the planet is a tough and a scary decision. My spouse made this decision and move as easy as it could get. I made very few friends and they were there on every step of my new life chapter.
So how are things going today?
In 2018, I started my entrepreneurial journey by moonlighting my first founded company — Engineer Creative Thinking to foster a place of creative thinking. In 2020, after I had 2 kids and learning from my own experience in finding a good quality daycare for my babies, I created another Tech product as a service — Kids Care Share. Through Kids Care Share which launched in 2021, will be an online tool for parents looking for daycares. They can compare the providers by pricing, availability, quality and reviews. Thus, making childcare decisions easy and quick with the information at their fingertips.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My focus has been on women and what concerns me is the invisible work women do every day to run families and the impact of that on their employment, health and stress levels. When I had 2 kids, I realized as a working mother that the childcare infrastructure in our country needs a lot of attention. I learned first-hand about this gap when I heard so many expecting mom’s considering to exit their career due to lack of affordable and quality care. When I was searching for childcare while dealing with a high-risk pregnancy, I realized the information was in different places and many didn’t show me the pricing and openings for daycares. I took this experience and started developing a website directory for childcare in the area to help parents. I got positive feedback from the community and we’re going to create a faster website and roll out nationally. We are currently bootstrapping this project and is causing delays due to money constraints. But we’re moving along.
You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?
I would like to make the Green Card Process for spouse faster. America believes in keeping families together and that is our strength in this country. I’d hope to reflect that in the process’ timeline.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
- Travel and gain Cross Cultural experience. This is what makes life worth it after all is the experience of rich culture and the opportunity to meet different people.
- Ask for help. Ask and you shall receive. When you don’t know anybody, don’t struggle on your own ask for help, the community is giving and people are always willing to help you and give you all the information you need to be successful and establish your new roots.
- Core values and Individuality. Respect everyone’s individuality and stay true to your core values.
- Stay Curious. When you are curious to learn and seek information, you will find yourself thinking about new and different ideas and solutions to your own problems. Be willing to share information and invite people to be curious about how you learned and experienced life that helped nurture your character and values.
- Examine where you spend time — Follow what makes you happy and avoid living a life of routine. Create your own design.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
- Creativity and Innovation. Every entrepreneur has a chance to work hard to succeed here. The resources and support are there. As long as there is the foundation and support for new innovations, I feel very optimistic about the future in the US.
- Education modernization. The early education and the modern approaches in the schools and colleges, makes me confident as a parent of 2 wonderful kids that they’re going to have a wonderful future to learn, explore and invent.
- American Dream. US has a lot of diversity through its immigration. Everyone coming in, I believe has the opportunity to make it what they want and achieve their dream they aspired to achieve when they began their journey to the US.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Barbara CORCORAN — I’ve been a big fan of Shark Tank and I would watch the episodes aired in India on my cable TV. I always was drawn to Barbara, her authenticity, how she challenged the idea, and very CURIOUS about the person behind the product. She is a role model to women.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
You can follow me on my company website https://kidscareshare.com/ I am also active on social media Twitter — https://twitter.com/ekakkanad , LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/erlin-kakkanad/ and Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/erlin_kidscareshare/?hl=en
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!