Amra Sayed began working as a speech language pathologist in Plano Independent School District in 2006. In her work, she found both enjoyment and fulfillment in working with children of all backgrounds and ability levels. While working at Plano ISD, Amra joined the Diversity Advisory Committee. She appreciated that the district took its diverse population into consideration, but she noticed a lack of representation amongst South Asians like herself and felt compelled to change that.
“I learned quite a bit in a short amount of time, and how diverse our city actually is. But in terms of people on boards and committees, we need to work on that,” Amra shared.
Amra grew up in Richardson and is the daughter of immigrants. Born in India, she and her parents moved to the States when she was just nine months old. She watched her parents build a life from scratch, and cites them as the people who taught her important life lessons.
“They’re amazing,” she said of her parents. “They created their own business that was very successful in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I learned a lot from them,” she said.
Amra’s husband, Mohammed, is from India as well. They met while traveling overseas, and after getting married in India, they lived there for a little less than a year. Shortly after, they moved to Plano, and Mohammed began working at AT&T. Mohammed is a champion for diversity as well, and the two of them often team up to join diversity efforts in the community.
“Once we were in Plano for seven years, we knew we probably weren’t going to leave for a while. We just love it so much,” Amra said.
When their two kids became teenagers, Amra felt a desire to pivot into part-time speech pathology work. Conveniently timed, she decided to start up her own virtual speech therapy practice in January 2020. Two months later, the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Amra’s practice fit perfectly into the new normal.
Because she was working part-time, and because the pandemic slowed things down, she had extra time to brainstorm, like so many of us did throughout the last year.
“I was talking to my husband, and we thought, ‘What if I made a podcast?’ We came up with a name. I was able to put it all together. I learned everything on my own,” she recalled.
Amra’s podcast is named “Mind Your Desiness” as a play on the term “Desi,” a common nickname for South Asians. It primarily focuses on the South Asian community but is not limited solely to that. Amra discusses current events with people of all backgrounds and works to promote awareness of the diverse voices in our community. Recent conversations have included topics of domestic violence, mental health, the restaurant industry, physical therapy and nutrition.
Amra is a self-professed busybody. That said, she has more projects in the works that she plans to launch in June this year. “There’s always something around the corner,” she said of her work life. “As I’ve become older, I’ve become more willing to take risks. There’s just so much out there to learn.”
If you’d like to learn something new today, check out Amra’s podcast at the website below, or search “Mind Your Desiness” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts.