Amla Mehta is a Connecticut-based motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, and author of Eye with a View, a memoir and a self-help book. She is also legally blind. Through her website Amla Speaks, she encourages people to be involved with her journey as an advocate and activist on behalf of all people living with disabilities.

MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price met Amla through the Ladies’ Power Lunch and connected with her to learn more. 

NAN PRICE: Have you always been entrepreneurial? How have you created your brand?

AMLA MEHTA: No. My blindness became the catalyst for me to become a speaker almost 10 years ago. So, that professional work began then and then my book came out in October 2019.

In terms of entrepreneurialism, I’m a newbie, so to speak. I created a following over the years because I’ve been speaking internationally and nationally. My target audience is people aged 40 and up who are coping with life challenges, but I’ve also spoken at senior groups and schools all over, reaching kids as young as five years to teenagers.

My last speaking engagement was at a women’s empowerment event sponsored by the India Association of Central Connecticut, which took place right before this pandemic. There were about 100 women in attendance, and I was one of three keynote speakers including Mantha Puttaswamy, who was Mrs. India Connecticut 2019.

NAN: Aside from Ladies’ Power Lunch, have you become involved with any local the resources to help you build your brand? 

AMLA: It’s slowing happening. I’ve connected with the Bureau of Educational Services for the Blind (BESB), which has been very helpful. I’m trying to collaborate with them to reach a bigger audience for the blind. I’m also involved with The NEAT Center at Oak Hill, which has a school for the blind.

NAN: As you’re building your brand, what nuggets of wisdom and lessons have you learned along the way?

AMLA: My tagline is: “I am authentic, I am brave, and I am strong. With that, I am enough.” It’s very powerful for me because I embody that. I own who I am. And, I want to encourage others to do the same. You’re the creator and producer of your own life. Act it. Embrace it. Be it. Because I sure have.

Another thing is, you live and you learn—the important thing is to keep on plugging away. There’s always somebody out there who will say yes. Go to those people and forget the people who say no. And trust me, every day, somebody is saying no to me because of my disability.

NAN: You do a lot of in-person speaking. How has COVID-19 affected that?

AMLA: I’ve been spending some of the time writing. I’m in the middle of two books, one will launch October 1. It’s a collaboration with 24 other authors called The Ultimate Guide to Self-Healing. I’m writing a chapter called “Heart Connection Through Divine Communication” about what I offer as a speaker and how I can help people through struggles. And then I offer a chant. So, I’m writing about how I grew up with Indian chanting and how they can be used to open your heart.

I’ve also been spending more time networking with things like the Ladies’ Power Lunch events. It’s a beautiful way to network and authentically get to know people like you.

In addition, I’ve been a guest on some internet radio shows, so I’m expanding that way, too.

NAN: What’s the most important message you share with your audience?

AMLA: I want to empower people to know that they’re not alone. Throughout the struggle I’ve been through with this whole blindness thing, I felt alone so many times, but I know I’m not alone. People out there just like me, who are also struggling, are willing to help you. That’s the key message. And, the last thing I want to end with is my signature saying: Shine love! Shine light! Shine you. You can shine, too.

Learn more about Amla Speaks | Facebook