By: Ajay Ghosh
A physician by profession, having a passion for media and commitment to serve the larger humanity, with a special focus on women’s empowerment, Dr. Manju Sheth is a Board Certified Internist, currently serving patients at Beth Israel Lahey Hospital. in the Boston Region in Massachusetts.
Dr. Sheth wears many hats to her credit. A multi-tasker and full of energy.
Dr. Sheth says, “If you want to do something in life then you will find a way.” It has not been easy to be “a physician, mother, media personality, and be involved in our vibrant New England community and the media world, but each of my involvements is truly important to me, and I give my full heart and energy to each of them. I always remind myself, that anything worth having has to be worked for.”
Recalling her childhood, growing up in India, and about her ambitions in life, Dr. Sheth says, “Growing up in a close-knit family, I had a wonderful childhood with two great parents and two wonderful brothers.” Dr. Sheth proudly says, “I have made my mom’s dream a reality by becoming an accomplished Doctor.”
Dr. Sheth had a passion for writing from school days onwards. “I always loved to write and was also the editor of my school magazine and wrote for local magazines as well. Although journalism was not the most popular career for women in India, especially in those days, “it remained a big passion for me. I have always been intrigued by people’s stories. And once I was well settled in my medical career, I decided to pursue my passion for media as well. The media world has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people, and bring a platform to unique and powerful stories.”
Having endowed with the gift of writing, Dr. Sheth is known to be a natural storyteller, and “I truly believe that every life has a story and a dream. I’m always looking to hear stories of everybody’s life, in everyone that I meet, and then I look to find the right platform and the right medium to showcase it.” Her popular “Chai with Manju” celebrity series is one of the most read news features in the New England region, where she featured celebrities and spiritual leaders such as Sadhguru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Kennedys, and the like.
Dr. Sheth was the co-founder and CEO of INE MultiMedia, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and supporting charitable organizations, art, culture, education, and empowerment through workshops, seminars, and multimedia. Dr. Sheth is a former trustee of the Indian-American Forum for Political Education. Dr. Sheth is very dedicated to the education of the community about health-related issues and is also the producer and chair of the annual free mega Health & Wellness Expo.
“I am a very genuine person, what you see is what you get,” says Dr. Sheth about herself. “There is nothing fake or unauthentic in what I do. I am very creative with a big vision, always looking to create & conceptualize the next exciting project. I am also a very positive person and make a conscious effort to not have any negativity around me because I believe that negativity & conflicts crush creativity.”
Dr. Sheth has been a big advocate for the empowerment of women and she has invested her time, energy, and efforts all her life more than any other cause. “I’ve always had a passion for women empowerment, and I bring that to all the projects and opportunities I pursue,” she says. She has served on the board of ATASK (Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence) and as the Chairperson of Saheli, a prestigious Boston based organization, whose mission is to empower South Asian women to lead safe and healthy lives.
Having served on spreading awareness on women’s rights, Dr. Sheth says, “My biggest focus right now is the new Women who win # Dreamcatchers platform where we showcase dreams, passions & life lessons of a women’s journey on our website, womenwhowin100.com and on multiple social media platforms. And this initiative keeps me stay motivated each and every day.”
Born out of a combination of her passions for both media and women empowerment, this noble initiative was co-founded by Dr. Sheth, her daughter, Shaleen Sheth, and her close friend, Deepa Jhaveri. The new global media platform is founded with the “mission to empower women across all ages, industries, and backgrounds, bringing women from around the world together daily with our inspiring, relatable, and relevant original stories,” Dr. Sheth explains. “With thousands of members and daily readers, our membership and our readership spans over 80 countries, and across the United States on our multiple social media channels.”
How does this new platform reach and inspire women across the world, especially during the Covid pandemic? The new and unforeseen challenges did not deter the creative energy of Dr. Sheth. “We wanted to bring positivity and inspiration, reminding women to continue chasing their dreams and make it a reality. Through story-sharing and skill-sharing, we equip our readers and members to pursue their next dream. By voicing their story on our platform, they see that their dream is achievable, and there is a whole network of women and mentors around the world encouraging them and celebrating each other. And, I am truly excited about this new journey,” describes the women’s leader.
She served as the president of the Indian Medical Association of New England in 2013. Upon her election to be the president of Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE), Dr. Sheth said, “My goals for the group in the coming year include strengthening ties with the research and academic medical community, deepening IMANE’s many charitable, social and professional activities and organizing a collaborative health expo that will bring various hospitals and health care providers together with the Indian community.” At the end of her presidency, she had accomplished her goals and was highly praised for her leadership.
She has played an important role as the Director of the annual Woman of the Year award show, a Flagship Event of India New England News, which recognizes and honors South Asian women of New England for the past eight years, She is the co-producer and creator of New England Choice Awards along with Upendra Mishra, This is one of the most popular and much-awaited shows in New England, which has honored Nitin Nohria Desh and Jaishree Deshpande, and many others who have given back to the larger society.
Describing herself as “a visionary with a mission,” Dr. Sheth, a diehard optimistic person, says, “Once I am convinced on a mission to accomplish something, I give my one hundred percent to the cause. I am also quite a perfectionist. I do tend to work 24/7 as I get closer to my big events & am often reminded by my family & friends to take a break.”
Calling herself a “diehard mystery buff,” Dr. Sheth who was trained in Medicine in London, says, “I have been in love with British mysteries as well as mystery shows.” Having a background with varying interests and diversities has been a huge blessing. “I am a Sindhi from Delhi married to a Gujrati and went to college in Kolkata,” says Dr. Sheth. “I am also a very good cook. And I love cooking great Sindhi, Guju & Bengali food is my specialty. Spending time with family& friends, of course, is the most important thing in life.”
What motivates her to do what she has been doing all her life? Imbibed with the desire to give back to the world that has given her much, Dr. Sheth says, “I just like to make things better than what they are. Whatever I am doing in life, whether it’s seeing my patients, cooking, doing a social or media project, I have to do it better than the last time. I have to do be a better person in the evening than I was in the morning. It’s my inherent need for constant improvement that motivates me.”
Although Dr. Sheth and her accomplishments are well known in the New England region, she says, “My greatest achievement in life is being a mother and raising my beautiful daughter. She is everything that a mother could dream of in a child. She’s smart, kind, compassionate and she has a lot of gratitude for the opportunities that life has brought her.” One of the first things that she taught her daughter as well as her favorite quote is that “if you reach for the moon then at least you land among the stars.”
Dr. Sheth is grateful to all who have made her what she is today. She believes that so many people whom she has met in life have inspired her and taught, and motivated her dream big, and give her best to all the noble causes and dreams. “Gratitude is important to me. I never forget any kindness or someone going out of their way for me in life,” says Dr. Sheth. She expresses her gratitude to her “mom and my grandmother, and in the public sphere, it is Oprah. I like her ability to empathize with people and always land on her feet no matter what is thrown at her in life.”
Recognitions and awards came her way as her noble works came to be recognized by the larger society. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognized Dr. Sheth for her contributions to the medical community and her empowerment and promotion of other successful women of South Asian descent throughout Massachusetts. YWCA Boston, one of the nation’s oldest organizations that has been striving to create racial, gender, and social equity in Boston for 150 years, inducted Dr. Sheth along with Mindy Kaling in its list of 150 Boston Women of Influence Series recently. She has been widely recognized for her community services and was voted Woman of the Year in 2011 as well as among the top 50 most influential Indians in New England.
Dr. Sheth is married to a physician, Dr. Dipak Sheth, and has a 22-year-old daughter Shaleen. Her message for everyone is: “Always do the right thing. I feel that somehow life works out if you follow this principle. And pick a journey of your choice and be your best. I am not a fan of mediocrity.”
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)