Interview with Natasha Pinto | Leader | Life Coach | Global Co-Lead at LSEG Accessibility Network

Natasha Pinto

At BrilliantRead Media, we always strive to bring meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world to empower and motivate our growing community. As part of this endeavour, we invited Natasha Pinto for an exclusive interview with us. 

Natasha is the Global Co-Lead of the LSEG Accessibility Network and Manager, Culture and wellbeing at LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group), this is a key role in shaping, implementing, and leading the Culture and wellbeing agenda across LSEG divisions and functions.

She has led a passionate diverse team in Order Management, Fixed Income and Deals prior to this. She has 16+ years of experience in Refinitiv, an LSEG business (formerly Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk). She is a strong advocate of Diversity & Inclusion and is heavily involved in enabling and promoting a disability-inclusive environment in her organization and community.

She actively supports persons with disabilities by raising awareness and sensitizing people about invisible illnesses among many disabilities, as she personally is going through an invisible disability called Multiple Sclerosis. She’s featured in the 2022 Heroes Women Role Model Lists supported by Yahoo Finance! The winner of the NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Award – 2021, Finalist for the 2020 D&I Champion of Change Award by Community Business sponsored by Intel and AIECS – Pride Of The Community Awardee.

She has been featured under #100MindfulWomen by Shenomics. She has a penchant to research about any topic under the sun. She is an adrenaline junkie, Lover of life, Grateful, Blessed and Thankful. Also, love dancing through life and researching topics related to metaphysics, the subconscious mind, the brain, wealth management and anything related to Life. She enjoys going on adventures and stepping outside her comfort zone. She absolutely loves and celebrates life.

She echoes the words shared by Maya Angelou – ”My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style”

She’s a Certified Life Coach and is invited as a guest speaker at various corporates and colleges, she shares her life journey of overcoming barriers and achieving success. She has spoken at Microsoft, Northern Trust, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, Thomson Reuters, Société Générale, colleges like the IIMs, Christ University, and organizations like Enable India, R’Eussir Trust.

She was a speaker at the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry)Innovation Summit-2022, New Delhi on how a culture of equality & inclusiveness drives innovation. Let’s learn more about her incredible journey, her background, and her advice for our growing community! 

Here are some excerpts from our exclusive interview with Natasha:

We are aware of your resilience and how bravely you continue to fight your battles, could you shed some light on your medical journey?

I noticed fairly early on that I was different from others. I had to put in a lot more effort to do the same things that other people did seemingly easily. I’d experience difficulty every day. One day I’d have an issue with my vision, the next day my legs, the third day my hands and so on. I did try to seek help.

For over 10 years no one believed me or my symptoms. They thought I was making things up. Doctors would tell me it was nothing – according to them the symptoms seemed vague and did not add up. 

My vision continued to blur, I walked with a walking aid, I needed help to change clothes, and I would get 45-50 spasms a day. I had to use brain teasers daily like translating letters to their corresponding numbers, like repeating 1A, 2B, 3C and then backwards 26Z, 25Y, 24X. I would get lost in my own washroom. My brain would play games; the washroom would appear like a maze and I couldn’t find the exit. On the outside looked like any other person but all the drama was happening inside me.”

I would wonder what the reason was but I’d give up after a while believing what others often said to me, that it’s all in my head. And surely it was, as I would later learn, although more literally than I had hoped. 

I was 20 or 21 when I went for my first MRI. It wasn’t prescribed, I asked for it because I knew something was wrong with me. I had shortly before fallen seriously ill, had suffered three attacks of Typhoid, was experiencing vertigo, my vision was blurring, and my body would randomly go numb or tingle with pins and needles – I didn’t know what I would find out but I knew something big was about to hit me.

The MRI revealed several lesions in my brain, my spine and my optic nerve. My nerves were under attack from my own immune system. The cells that were protecting me ended up destroying the coating on the nerves that played an important role in taking signals from the body to the brain and vice versa.

I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – an illness that I dreaded as I was aware of what it is, but I was happy to finally have a name for the illness I’d been battling.

Even now, I don’t sleep with the front door closed. I keep it unlocked in case I fall and nobody knows what has happened to me. I keep my emergency contacts on the bedside and near the main entrance, along with my meds and instructions for what to do if I’m having a spasm.

Every day, when I wake up in the morning, I have to check if I can see and if I can move my hands and legs. It’s amazing how many things we take for granted. For me, every day is a new day. I love it, I love my life, and I try to live it to the fullest.”

My doctor told me after a particular hospital visit that I can only walk about 2kms now; not run or do anything else with my legs. I decided that was not going to be me.

I was an athlete in school. Others don’t know what I can do; I know myself the best. I’ve run Pinkathons despite my condition – while limping and with an ice pack one time! I’ve climbed mountains in the Himalayas, jumped off cliffs, bungeed, skydived, trekked, ridden a bike, what not.

Late last year I had a relapse. I began to limp and realised it was getting worse. But I wasn’t ready to surrender. I wanted to make the most of being able to even walk. So for New Year’s, I backpacked Europe with a 10-kilo rucksack. I just decided to scoot. It was tough, no doubt, but it was also exhilarating. I’m so glad I did it!

I don’t do this for me alone. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that they finished a 100km Oxfam after seeing me walk and run even as I limp. I often take to social media to put my story out because I know people are listening and watching. I think it’s a powerful medium.

I cheer for others via social media, and it makes me so proud and happy to see someone achieve their goals that were inspired from my journey.

Natasha Pinto

What keeps you motivated and going despite all the battles/challenges?

> I don’t just exist; I live. I make a checklist every quarter of what I want to do, and then I go ahead and do those things. Even tiny things like folding a bedsheet and washing utensils are a win for me. My mission in life, as Maya Angelou put it, is not just to survive but to thrive! And as my dad kept saying since I was a kid “It’s better to wear out than to rust out”

> I make a note or take a picture when I come across something fascinating or positive, or when someone tells me they look up to me. This is nourishment for my soul, especially on a down day when I’m questioning if I’ve done enough. I go back to those notes to remind myself of the fight I’ve been fighting and how far I’ve come. 

> I love myself and am my biggest cheerleader. I talk to myself every day; I imagine my nerves with their tiny heads struggling to hold everything together, and I tell them I’m sorry they have to go through this ordeal but also that I’m grateful. I thank my body every day, even if it’s acting cranky, for doing everything that it does for me.

I wanted to continue working no matter how hard it was for me, with MS, because I felt the need to raise awareness about invisible disabilities. So, apart from my day job, I head the disability network in my organisation and work to create a more inclusive environment for all our persons with disabilities, globally. I believe that the stigma needs to go. Persons with disabilities have dreams too, and if provided with support, systems and accessibility, they can achieve anything.”

I began by sharing my story, widely and willingly, and getting people in the company to see the need for a safe environment where people can talk about their disabilities and freely ask for support. It’s so important to hear people out, especially because everybody’s needs are different. Even two individuals with the same condition/disability can have entirely different needs. Aim to fix the system, not focus on the problem.

Some days I think that my MS had a purpose all along – to help others so they don’t have to go through what many others went through in the past. I want to make it easier for people with disabilities to work and live in society. And most importantly, when they share their story, I want them to feel safe and supported, not marked with stigma.

What is good Leadership? How do you see it?

For me, since the very beginning, titles don’t mean much. I don’t believe that somebody has to earn a certain designation to become a good leader.

I used to tell my team the same thing, “don’t chase titles,” –  If we look at India, we are a population of over one billion people, and not all are going to become managers or CEOs. Instead, irrespective of the title, lead with purpose.

The other thing I believe is that our job is a part of our lives, it is not our whole life. Yes, it is important because it pays the bills and puts the food on the table but we need to ensure that we live beyond our jobs.

I know so many people who are great at their work but when they look back they realise that they buried themselves in it and barely lived. Pursuing our passions and hobbies makes us whole, enhances our personality, and makes us more authentic leaders!

What are your most important leadership and life lessons?

– Make today better than yesterday, run your own race

– As Robin Sharma says, develop an unbeatable mindset, heart set, health set and soul set

– Prioritize your mental health and wellbeing, physical health and fitness, meaningful relationships, your career and financial security

– What is the price of that wall? Remember that wall that protects you also restricts you

– Focus and take care of your mind, body, heart and spirit

– If you stumble, make it part of the dance

– Treat others as you want to be treated

– Be mindful of your unconscious biases

– Be driven by passion and purpose

– Get up, dress up, show up

– Be you, be a human ‘being’

– Spread joy

What are some of your key career highlights and achievements throughout the journey so far?

During my 17 years of corporate journey, here are a few of my accomplishments that I’m grateful for, among many.

~ Featured in the Heroes Future Leaders Role Model List – 2022 supported by Yahoo Finance

~ Speaker at the 2022 FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) Innovation Summit

~ NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Awardee – 2021

~ Finalist for the 2020 D&I Champion of Change Award by Community Business sponsored by Intel.

~  Featured under #100MindfulWomen by Shenomics, 100 stories|100 lessons and

I’m a strong advocate in the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) space and have been heavily involved in corporate responsibility in the company and community. I’m often described as a storyteller and an adrenaline junkie who loves and celebrates the life and has a penchant to research about any topic under the sun.

Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over a decade, from using a mobility aid to running, sky diving, bungee jumping, trekking in the Himalayas, backpacking across a few countries in Europe, all the while redefining and breaking stereotypical mindsets of what the disabled community can achieve.

Natasha Pinto

What is your Advice to Young Women Leaders who want to do something similar?

Don’t leave without considering your options: Many women leave the workforce when they are about to get married or have a baby. It’s ok to do so if it is a personal choice but if you think it is the only choice, I’d urge you to reconsider. Companies today are hiring and rooting for more women in leadership roles. They want us! They are providing support, facilities and opportunities that were unheard of 20-30 years ago, to retain women. Make sure you’re aware of the support offered once you return. Consider your opportunities carefully before calling it quits.

Invest: This might be the oldest advice in the book but it’s the one that makes a huge difference. No matter what you earn, invest a certain percentage of it every month. Educate yourself about the power of compounding and then leverage it. Don’t just work for money; make money work for you.

Use your gifts: A lot of people think that they are good/great at just one thing, and they stick to that; never exploring more. But everyone is gifted in so many different ways, and should make the most of it! If you don’t use your gifts, they will atrophy. What a waste! Create your own opportunities if you must, but use your talents/gifts.


Follow Natasha At: 
E-mail[email protected]
Please don’t forget to read – Interview with Namrata Sharma | ICF CCE Certified International Trainer and Life Coach I NLP Practitioner | Healer | Blogger | Influencer

BrilliantRead is committed to bringing stories from the startup ecosystem, stories that reshape our perspective, add value to our community and be a constant source of motivation not just for our community but also for the whole ecosystem of entrepreneurs and aspiring individuals.
Note: If you have a similar story to share with our audience and would like to be featured on our online magazine, then please write to us at [email protected], we will review your story and extend an invitation to feature if it is worth publishing.
Sponsors and Co-Sponsors

Leave a Comment