Profile: Riana Singh- UCLA Alumna and Business Developer for Headspace

Location: 
Neck of the Woods
United States
US

In the Spring of 2017, Riana Singh graduated from UCLA. She spent her academic career learning about social, political, and economic disadvantages minority social groups are facing. As a woman of color, she is using her platform to make a difference and inspire other young women to pursue their dreams and passions. As a lifestyle blogger and Business Developer, she strongly advocates for women empowerment especially through Boss Women Collective.

Her Campus: What made you choose UCLA and what did you major in?

Riana Singh: After I didn’t get into NYU, UCLA was the next school inside a big city. I liked the fact that LA was not too far from home and if I wanted to, I could go back home on the weekends.

I majored in Asian American studies. I chose this kind of last minute - by accident actually. I started off with economics. I did it for two years and I really liked it, but it was very math heavy and I didn’t like how I was not learning practical business buildup. I took an Asian American women’s class for my GE and on the first day of class I literally started crying because I was so moved by what I was learning. I felt like I was inspired in a way I have never been before. I knew that I wanted more of a challenge in a creative way.

HC: What is Headspace and what is your role within the company?

RS: Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app. When you log into the app you have over a thousand hours of content. So anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes, it teaches you to be a little bit more present, focused on your breath, and it just takes a few minutes out for your day to focus on being present.

What I typically do is sell Headspace to organizations that are looking to provide it as a tool for a mental health benefit. It’s a mixture of customer support and business development.

HC: How does your day-to-day look like as a Business Developer at Headspace?

RS: Everyday I speak to 10 to 15 companies, set up meetings to chat with them about their company, what they are doing to help their employees, and if they know about Headspace I pitch them our program. A lot of it is reaching out to organizations that have never heard of Headspace. I also lead a team of three other sales development reps (SDR). I serve as a team leader by helping facilitate training, collaborating with different teams, and doing research.

HC: Why is Headspace important to you?

RS: I went through a lot of anxiety and at that point I didn't know it was anxiety. I was just constantly stressed out with school, being in-between majors and having roommate problems. I felt very alone and I really wished I had a tool that would help me navigate that journey in my life. When Headspace was created, I saw how valuable and important it was to have a tool in your phone since we are always on our phone. It helps you especially when you're in college - when you're in such a transformative point in life. I really like our mission statement and that is to improve the health and happiness in the world. You can never really stop improving the health and happiness in the world, so I knew it aligned with a lot of things that I was really interested in. Overall, I just really like what the company stands for.

HC: What activities were you involved in on and off campus? How did these experiences at UCLA help you enter the field that you are in now?

RS: The main one I joined in my freshman year was the Undergraduate Business Society. I got accepted to a community member position winter quarter. I was a part of it for three years at UCLA and I felt like it was definitely the most helpful organization that allowed me to learn more about business. Before that, I didn't know anything about marketing, entertainment, banking, or consulting and because they were focused on financial services, I thought I wanted to be a banker or consultant. I quickly realized that's not what I wanted, it was more so heavily promoted.

I was on the career development team. We created the jobs fair so we had over three hundred students come to the Ackerman Grand Ballroom. I would email business professionals, asking them if they wanted to attend our event, and get them to pay for the event. It was a really good experience.

Another organization I was a part of was the Bruin Women in Business. The club was created my senior year, so it was the first year they did it. I was on the social media and retail committee as a director. That was really fun and I liked how it was women focused, so I felt very comfortable. I was able to dive into social media which I thought was not really present in other business-focused teams. I thought it was really helpful to see that there are so many young women that are really interested in getting into that space.

HC: What advice would you give to college students who want to go into this field of work?

RS: I would say to try to get into as many internships as possible while you are in college. I did seven as an undergrad student and I feel like those were so helpful because in every internship I found out what I liked and what I didn't like. I was going through the funnel of what I wanted to do. Each internship made me get a little more narrow in my discovery phase. Obviously, it’s hard sometimes when it comes to finals week and having to balance working and internships, but if you could just learn what it's like in the real world, it kind of makes you appreciate being a student. If you know you want to go into marketing, get an internship in PR, digital media, social media, content creation and graphic design for a small boutique so you have experience. When you graduate you can’t do that, you can't hop around as much.

Thank you Riana for taking the time to answer our questions! We can’t wait to see what else you will be doing in the future. If you want to learn more about Riana and what she does, check out her Instagram page or go visit her blog.