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Amid the pandemic, she found a window of opportunity–in her basement

Photo courtesy of Val Singh

With a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Northeastern in her pocket, Vallabhi Singh lined up an enviable job at Beautiful Destinations, a travel marketing and media company in New York City—and a perfect playground for her curiosity.

She reveled in taking walks around the metropolis, pausing at Washington Square Park to watch street artists, and ducking into trendy coworking clubs in Manhattan.

“Going to one of the most global universities in the States, and living in Boston and New York [where I was] surrounded by creative, entrepreneurial, hustler minds played an enormous role in shaping who I am today,” Singh says. “It helped develop my curiosities and meaningful relationships with friends, colleagues, and professors from various different cultures.”

Singh currently lives in Delhi. Inspired by her experience at Beautiful Destinations, where she says she cultivated an interest in working in the digital media and technology fields, she started her own company earlier this year named Creatives Around the World. She describes the company as a digital medium through which she wants to tell the stories of the people behind creative companies.

But the road to Delhi—and Creatives Around the World—wasn’t a straight shot.

Leaving New York wasn’t easy. She loved her job, but encountered a complication with her work visa upon leaving the country. Returning to the States, and the life she’d built there, was no longer an option.

“Within a second I had to say goodbye to my life there,” she says. “That was a bit of a shock.”

Singh took some time to travel around the world and think about her next career move. She’d had an enduring fascination with entrepreneurs and founders of creative businesses. She thought about forming a global network to bring them together.

“I wanted to come up with a business framework to bring people together and foster creativity, connection, and collaboration,” she says. 

She spent a winter hunkered down by herself in Donzac, a remote village in France, to study French. It was an ideal breeding ground for these ideas to percolate. 

“While I was there I started to conceptualize Creatives Around the World,” Singh says. “I wanted to create something that I enjoyed, and that aligned with my personality and interests.”

In March, right before the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a standstill, she moved to Mumbai to help kick-start operations for a Norwegian cloud-based software company. Through an acquaintance, she learned about Northeastern’s Global Leadership Summit, which was happening there at the same time. The event brought together Northeastern leaders, including Joseph E. Aoun, the university’s president, with the university’s global community and business executives.

She ended up attending the summit, making a strong impression on the event’s organizers, who invited her to join the university’s Young Global Leaders program. The group comprises more than 100 graduates who advise university leadership and help to strengthen Northeastern’s network of international alumni. 

“They asked me as an alumnus to organize virtual events to engage the Northeastern community,” she says. “I told them that I’d do that under the Creatives Around the World brand.”

For the first time ever the stars have aligned for Singh to direct all her attention to Creatives Around the World. She’s had the time to build on an idea that until now seemed far-fetched. In a way, Creatives Around the World is the culmination of all that Singh has been through and everything she aspires to do.

“We’re slowly mobilizing a small team and building our very own portfolio of companies, brands, and collectives to co-create and share ideas,” she says.

Singh says she’d like to bring together “cool people with cool ideas, bold brands in bold spaces, and businesses doing things differently.”

“We are exploring the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship, humanity, and technology,” says Singh.

Since May, she has been hosting virtual roundtable discussions with entrepreneurs, academics, and creative thinkers to discuss a range of topics including reconstructing fashion in 2020, game theory by design, and farming in the 21st century. 

She’s working on developing a network of ambassadors who—when the pandemic is no longer a threat—will host intimate networking dinners and in-person roundtables in different cities across the world.

She’s thinking locally, too. In Delhi, Singh says it’s not uncommon to hear people gripe about a dearth of creative minds. But it’s just a matter of finding them, she says.

“There’s a lot of creative people here,” she says.

For media inquiries, please contact media@northeastern.edu.

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