The Katniss Everdeen of Growclass: Meet Aparna Allam

December 4, 2023
Hannah Permell

There’s a special type of person that’s rare to find in life. Someone who looks out for you, seeks your best interest, calls you out when you accept less than you’re worth, and comes to your defence until the very end. 

In the Hunger Games that person was Katniss Everdeen. 

At Growclass that person is Aparna Allam

Aparna is the Director of Marketing at Espresso Capital, but more importantly she’s a friend with a heart of gold. She constantly shows up for the Growclass community, ready to rally the troops whenever anyone needs a helping hand. And she does it in the most kind and genuine way.

Aparna has been a role model of mine since my early days at Growclass. She’s always there to give me a gentle reminder that I don’t have to play it small. And helped me feel more confident stepping into my power. I admire the way she can command the attention in any room while still holding space for others to step into the spotlight too. She’s a person you can always go to if you need a pep talk or a strategic plan. Or even a little extra help putting your inner critic to rest. I’m grateful to have her in my corner.

And I'm not the only one.

“Aparna is the kind of community member who roots for the success of others and willingly offers insight on work in progress. Beyond her great gift for strategy, she's got an eye for technical design, copywriting, and brand aesthetics. She's a tenacious, caring person who will also deliver the tough love you need from a place of genuine kindness.” – Elizabeth Monier-Williams

“Aparna is like the glue that holds our Growclass crew together! She's the first to extend a helping hand when you're facing challenges, a constant source of laughter and joy, capable of brightening the darkest of days with her infectious laughter. Plus, when it comes to brainstorming, she's our secret weapon – I always say her strategic thinking is her superpower! Without a doubt, Growclass thrives because she's in it.” – Tiffany DaSilva

“Aparna is an incredibly kind and smart person I feel lucky to call a friend. She’s always been the first hop on a call whenever I’ve needed support or to hype me up! Aside from her always sound advice and eagerness to help out, she’s absolutely brilliant. Aparna builds systems like no other and learning from her wealth of knowledge is such a gift. I’m so grateful to have met this amazing woman through GC” – Kirsti McNabney

Aparna first came to Growclass to fill in the gaps she felt she were missing in her untraditional career path.

“I always felt like there was a gap between me coming out of university and going into the workplace and finding my people–– the marketing people that I could talk to about the things that mattered. People who got to the heart of things in a particular way–– without all the fluff and the noise. 

Basically I was looking for Growclass. So when I stumbled upon this gold mine of badassery, the heavenly chorus came out. These are my people.”

Through meeting people in the community, Aparna was able to make the pivot into her current role as the Director of Marketing at Espresso Capital. There she focuses on building scalable digital marketing infrastructure and growing and developing her team. 

“What I find really exciting at work right now are the possibilities. The fact that we are coming together to work towards an ambitious goal 2-3 years down the line. We’re not just building something for today, but making sure that what we build can grow and stand over time in a very dynamic environment. That is super exciting for me.”

So often we’re taught to play small and not brag about the things that we’re great at. But if I’ve learned anything from Aparna, it’s how to step into your power and own it. So of course I wanted her to share what her superpower is with you too: strategy.

“One of my early managers made a comment about my strategic capability and it gave me the words to describe what I enjoyed doing in my career. I love strategy. It’s like moving the pieces of a puzzle around like a maze and figuring out what is the most efficient way through.”

If Aparna could give one piece of advice to her younger self it would be: to be open to learning.

“If you’re able to emotionally decouple from the work that you are doing while still being intellectually invested in it–– that’s a smoother path to success because it opens you up to learning. And it keeps you in that frame of mind where you don’t have to know everything.”

Aparna has learned a lot of valuable lessons over her career, with the most important one being: to trust yourself. 

“Knowing that you don’t have to stay in an environment that doesn’t feed you was a very big learning. When I was younger I didn’t fully understand or appreciate that. 

Choosing to stay, choosing to leave, choosing to lean in, or choosing to sit it out–– they are all conscious decision points that are within your power to make. 

Fallout be damned, do what you know is right. Take the chance

And do it before you have to. Do it when you want to. 

There is an autonomy in that, and it’s a much more empowering choice.”

She also recommends reading the book Dare to Lead by Brené Brown if you need some extra help leaning into vulnerability when doing the hard things. 

When it comes to productivity Aparna identifies her top priorities by asking one question: glass or rubber? 

“We’ve all been in those situations where we feel like we’re juggling 100 balls at once. Learning how to identify which balls are made of glass and which ones are made of rubber has been huge for me. 

The pressure of keeping everything going is not achievable. Something is going to drop. 

Knowing that you can drop a rubber ball for now and it’s not a failure–– it’s a conscious decision to put something down so I can keep other things up.”

If Aparna could be remembered for anything, it would be for her kindness and intention.

“Whenever I think about people remembering me, I think about my son. I would want him to remember me as someone who lived with intention and kindness.

As my mentor, Harry, would say: “You can be the kite or you can choose to be the wind.”

I want my kid to grow up seeing me make these choices.”

We can’t thank Aparna enough for always sharing her wisdom and generosity in the community. Growclass wouldn’t be the same without her.

 “Aparna is the friendtor everyone needs. She will call you out if you’re speaking negatively about yourself, she sees through all of the bullshit. She’s also uncommonly kind, and will remember to check in on and hold up folks in the community in the moments they really need it. I’m consistently grateful that she’s part of the Growclass crew, she makes us all better.” – Sarah Stockdale

Are you ready to connect with this inspiring mentor? You can find her hanging out in the Growclass Slack or on LinkedIn

Keep an eye out for more inspiring stories from our incredible community members and mentors.

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