Shikha Shahdeo is a natural-born creative, hailing originally from India. Coming from an academically inclined family, it was a bold decision for her to pursue a different path. However, she decided to listen to her heart and hoped to combine her creative spirit with making a positive impact.
After completing a bachelor's degree in political science, she immediately went on to earn a post-graduate diploma in television broadcasting. She was grateful for the opportunity to really learn and explore storytelling a passion that she was eager to dive deeper into. She spent seven years working in various production roles for esteemed Indian companies such as UTV, The Times Group, and Star India Private Limited, before deciding it was time to move on to bigger and better things.
The University of Buffalo's interdisciplinary MA in Humanities program with a concentration in film and media study is designed for students interested in combining media studies with a secondary academic area in the humanities a perfect fit. During her time in the program, Shikha was able to learn video production skills and she began working as a one-woman army in a field that was heavily dominated by men.
Shikha produced, scripted, shot, edited, and audio corrected videos for freelance projects and contract jobs with some incredible companies in the US Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Trusted Media Brands, to name just a few. Upon reflection on that time, she shares "It was a big deal for me to have my own clients, and to work for multinational companies in a country where I was an immigrant. I realized that through all my work, I loved the process of meeting people and hearing their stories."
Having worked as a video producer for on-air promotions, branded, and user generated content for over a decade, Shikha developed the vision it takes to give any project a great narrative, more meaning, more purpose, and a more profound impact. A storyteller at heart, it became her mission to utilize her natural talents in a way that would help others.
In 2018, she launched her project This is my story, what's yours? and began interviewing people about their personal and unique stories to share on social media. Gaining momentum quickly, the project went global, and soon she was interviewing and storytelling for people and businesses around the world founders of global companies, artists, nurses, educators, social media influencers, and more. She shared intimate stories of mental illness, trauma, disease, and grief. The work was profound and struck a chord with many, leading to podcast interviews, panel discussions, and even an invitation to share the project on USA Today's Storytellers Project.
Sadly, in January 2020, Shikha had to return to India to be with her ailing mother battling cancer. Within just 10 days of her arrival, her mother passed away. Shortly after, Shikha discovered her mother's diary where she had recently started journaling about her life. It was extremely emotional for her to read her mother's words, and, in that very instance, she regretted not having captured her story in a video format in her voice, in her skin, and through her lens. Although a devastating personal loss, this was the event that allowed Shikha to find her true purpose and birth her new project This is my story: Legacy.
Shikha now creates video documentaries that preserve and celebrate an individual or family's story, resulting in a timeless video legacy. Not only do her films document the stories of ancestors, but she also incorporates conversations and the stories of the current generation to highlight their perspective on the lives of their ancestors, beautifully weaving it all together. After pivoting the work online, thanks to the pandemic, she can now serve families all around the world.
Through the project, she finds immense joy in helping her clients to preserve their heritage, journey, and purpose. Furthermore, it is deeply satisfying for her to have independently built something that is already having such a positive impact on people's lives. When asked about her inspiration, Shikha shares a favorite quotation from Marie Forleo: "No matter how many times you think an idea or creation has been shared in the world, sometimes it takes one person expressing it in their unique voice, at the right time, in the right place, for it to actually make a difference."