Transformation Story: Sonal Chakrasali

Last month I put out an invitation connect and share your personal stories of transformation. After sharing what I've been experiencing this year on the blog I have a craving to hear from you.

Today I'm sharing my conversation with Sonal Chakrasali, a freelance designer and illustrator dipping her toes into the world of professional winemaking. You can watch the videos or scroll down to read through our conversation.

Here are my biggest takeaways from my conversation with Sonal:

1) Listen to what you're craving and go find an outlet to explore that craving. Sonal craved working with her hands and she craved being outside which led her to study wine making in Napa.

2) Be open to all ways of working even if it's not part of your plan; Sonal has been a freelance designer for years because she wanted to work on more than one brand/project at a time AND be selective to support brands that were doing good in the world. Recently, she said yes to working full-time in corporate again because she felt inspired by the mission of the company.

3) Define what success means to you and let that guide you - For Sonal that is doing work that's interesting and meaningful to the world. So her career decisions always are in check with her north star of success.

Watch Part 1 (24 minutes):

Read the transcript from part 1

Watch Part 2 (10 minutes):

Read the transcript from part 2

(we kept taking after recording and there were some really interesting shares that I wanted to capture)

After watching, would you be willing to share your story? We can only help each other if we know each other? I'd love to hear from you, submit your story concept here or connect with me on Instagram.


Our Conversation

Lizzie: Hi Sonal, welcome! I can’t wait to learn more about this career expansion you’ve been exploring. I was so curious when you told me you were not going to be available in September because you’d be at a winery making wine! Why did you decide to study winemaking and take mini-sabbatical breaks from our UX and design consulting business? Is this an alternate career you’re pursuing? A career shift?

Sonal: I don't know if it is an alternate career, but I was thinking about ways I could enable myself to work with my hands. One of the things that came up when I was doing research was winemaking, and living in California and being so close to wine country also really helped. I found a program at UC Davis that does Continuing Ed, and so I started with some of those classes there because it seemed interesting and like a good way to do more hands-on work and actually get in the field and learn that way, vs behind a screen.. and I enjoy wine.

Lizzie: So there's two parts I get: first you enjoyed drinking wine and second you're close to Napa, but this last part… were you looking for a wine program or did you feel a spark when you saw it listed as an option?

Sonal: No, I wasn't specifically looking for a wine program, I was actually pretty open to exploring different avenues where I would get to be a little bit more hands-on. Be in nature a little bit more. And yeah, this one just seemed to align a little bit more than others with my interests and also just seemed like it had a lot of different career options within it. There are a lot of different ways that you could enter the industry. You can be more hands-on in the fields or do more of the lab work, or even just working as a buyer or something.. So if I did want to pursue it as a job, there seemed to be a lot of options and variety in the work itself.

Lizzie: Do you have an extensive wine collection or are you more “I have a glass of wine and I go out to dinner with my friends” type of person.

Sonal: Yeah, no, no, I'm not very serious about wine at all. I am more like the latter. Just have a glass of wine and I enjoy trying new wines from different areas. I think it's really interesting because every bottle of wine is kind of like a little time capsule of the year on time it was made, I think that's really cool.