Hannah Dehradunwala is a Pakistani-American entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Transfernation, New York City’s first on-demand food donation service. The company connects catering companies, restaurants, and corporate cafeterias to rideshare and delivery drivers, who then transport excess food to local soup kitchens. Recently, the service earned her a slot as a finalist in Stacy's Rise Project — a program that provides grants and mentorship to female entrepreneurs in the food and drink space.
Oh, and as a side hustle, Hannah is in the process of cementing her status as a stand-up comedian on the rise. Here's how she finds her power...
I feel most powerful when...
"I’m speaking to a room full of people and I can see my ideas resonate. Given the field that I work in, when I take the stage, people are usually expecting a talk about the severity of the food waste problem, its environmental effects, and our corresponding responsibilities. They’re expecting the same spiel that they’ve heard countless times before. But instead, I work hard to craft narratives that people can actually see themselves in. I try to challenge the conventional ways we’ve all been trained to think about and talk about charity. I feel most powerful when I can change people's minds."
Power to me means...
"Pushing yourself to do the things you think you can’t. It’s about welcoming experiences that have the capacity to change you.
"I’ve had a stutter since I was 4 years old. Sometimes it gets the better of me. And in spite of this, or rather because of this, I push myself into public speaking, into stand-up comedy, into improv. At times, I’ve come out a bit embarrassed, but all the same, unscathed. In fact, I’ve realised that I’m actually quite good at it."
What do you do when you feel powerless?
"I hit pause. I put 100% into everything I do, but if something isn’t working out the way that I want it to, I often need to give myself a little distance. If it’s my work that's hindering me, I take a day off. When I return, I’m recharged. I believe that there's no one deal, one client, one press piece, one list that’s going to make or break your career. Rest, recharge, reanalyse, then return."
What's your power anthem?
"'Another One Bites the Dust' by Queen. I listen to it every time we hit a milestone, small or large. Either way, it’s yet another challenge left behind."
Who's your power icon?
"There isn’t one person for me. It’s all the strong brown immigrant women who’ve built lives from scratch and who’ve been entrepreneurs since long before the title was invented. I know many and I carry them with me. That kind of mental strength can move mountains."
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
"My clothes have to reflect my creative energy. For me, clothes are like a wordless interaction with the world, and I think they can make incredibly powerful statements. I feel most powerful in a sleek, bright or textured, tailored suit with sneakers and bold jewellery."