Dedicated to Shishu Bharati, Seshi Sompuram Mixes Music, Invention, Research, Community Service and Entrepreneurship

Seshi Sompuram

LEXINGTON, MA—Known as president of Indian languages and culture school Shishu Bharati for 11 consecutive years, Seshi Sompuram blends invention, research, community service, music, entrepreneurship, and persistence.

He failed five times to win the local Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa competition. But don’t underestimate his persistence and passion for singing. After failing five times, he got ready for the sixth round of Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, and finally made to the second runner-up in 2017.

Mr. Sompuram is an inventor with five patents and has co-authored numerous publications and textbooks. He has over three decades of expertise in molecular biology, antibody engineering, and phage-display technologies (both antibody and peptide phage display). During his Post-Doctoral training, he was involved in developing cancer therapeutic polyclonal phage antibodies, which were eventually commercialized. He is Co-Founder, Co-Inventor and Vice President of R & D at Boston Cell Standards LLC.

But on Nov. 19, 2022, he will receive New England Choice Award for his Community Service for his dedicated service to Shishu Bharati and other non-profit community organizations. At Shishu Bharati, Mr. Sompuram manages all day-to-day operations of the organization–everything from facilities to teachers, and from students to volunteers. He co-ordinates with a team of 200 student and adult volunteers and about 900 students each year.

Here is a Q/A with Mr. Mr. Sompuram.

Seshi Sompuram

INDIA New England News: Who Inspired you the most and how?

Seshi Sompuram: My late father is my true and great inspiration. He was kind, gentle, and caring human being. He only had a 3rd grade education, but he had amazing wisdom, and found ways to accomplish many things (electricity, roads, irrigation canal etc.,) for our very small but beautiful village, “Sompuram”. He always believed in giving back, helping people whatever he could, and had great respect for education and educated people. He encouraged and supported many children to get good education. He always inspired us to have faith, work hard, and trust in ourselves and something good would prevail. He also emphasized respectine people, having gratitude, making a difference, and leaving something good behind.

INE: What has been the secret of your success?

SS: Again my father’s words always assured me to go for it with all my might, and eventually success would follow. I enjoyed being creative, a team player, and inspired by successful likeminded people. I cherish the success of making an impact as scientist, volunteer, singer, painter, and entrepreneur so that I can celebrate the success with the whole team.

My wife Sandhya Raja has been a great support and played an important role in my success.  Also, I learn a lot from children, Rahul and Nitya.

Another secret of my success is having tons of wonderful friends, where I can be who I am. I am very grateful to my family and friends for their support and encouragement to be who I am today.

To me success is perpetual inspiration to create or lead many more things. But I always remind myself to be humble and grateful. I remind myself that there are lot more things to learn, there are plenty of very smart and very successful people around us, and humility makes us appreciate that.

INE: When in doubt, what do you do?

SS: I always go with my inner instinct or gut feeling. I first try to understand the issue on hand, then weight the choices I have, and also seek some help from people who can give me honest and thoughtful advice/suggestions. But in the end, I go with my instinct, and trust whatever the outcome is. I always remember my school teacher’s words. When we hesitated in answering his questions, he would say to us, “whatever you want say, say it boldly and confidently. At the least I might be wrong. You would rather be wrong boldly than be wrong with fear or be right timidly.”

Often we make our doubts/worries even worse by overthinking, and loose ability to think with clarity. First, have a clear mind and confident heart. Have the attitude of “what is the worst that can happen, I will be fine.” Often we put barrier on ourselves. Take a deep breath, think confidently with positive attitude, let our mind and heart overcome the doubt.

INE: One advice you will give to the person you love?

SS: When my children or beloved ones feeling bad because of a failure, I advise them not to be afraid to make mistakes, and tell them they learn more from the failures than our successes. I advise not to compare to a successful people in a negative way that puts them down. But rather boost their inner strength and also advise them to learn from successful people without feeling bad. After all, it is our life, so do things that matter to you, that makes you happy, and that gives you wisdom.

INE: How do you look at failure?

SS: I take a deep breath and try to do these four things: First, I accept the failure (that helps me not to think too much about the failure). Second, I try to salvage or repurpose the failure (you never know where else this might help…. A scientists approach). Third, I analyze the reasons why I failed or how I would have prevented it. Fourth, I then think, plan and get ready to do better (from lessons learnt). (And I write down these, so that I can have goodnight sleep… otherwise the failure makes one restless).

I believe failures makes one humble, and challenges us to muster our efforts and try even harder. As someone said, “Look at the failure as 100 ways what not to do, but 101th time what to do”. As Albert Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress”. One must experience failures, then only one would appreciate, enjoy, and celebrate the success.

INE: Your favorite books?

SS: My professional books, self-help books (e.g., Who moved my cheese etc.,).

I spend “my time” listening, learning, practicing, and performing music (all kinds of music), it is like meditation…..but with musical overtones!

INE: Your favorite quotes?

SS: 1.  “Don’t be someone you are not!”

2. “Sometimes we are tested not to show our weakness, but to discover our strengths.”

3. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” –Abraham Lincoln.

4. “Life is what happens when we are making plans for it.”– (Mrs. Drinan…my Landlady”

5. “The difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is weeks’ time. Don’t sweat on small stuff (Mrs. Drinan…my Landlady).

6. “Treat others how you wanted to be treated.”

INE: Your top three favorite movies?

SS: Deewar, Chitchor, Shankarabharanam (Telugu)

INE: How concerned or enthused you are by other people’s opinion?

SS: First, I would seek and value opinion only from credible people. If they are not credible then I don’t entertain any random opinions. I listen to the opinions from people I trust or have regard for, evaluate or reason their opinion, see the merit or value in the opinion, and then listen to my own instinct or gut feeling, and take next steps.

INE: What truly matters to you in the end?

SS: Peace of mind, spending time with my family, helping, and giving back to the best of my ability. I enjoy making a difference around me, and leaving a legacy. Professionally, also accomplishing or inventing something that helps people/humankind.

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