How Sonali’s Passion for People Led Her to Coaching



At The Forem, we are passionate about developing people — and we love finding others who share that passion. Our Mentor Sonali Arurkar has been passionate about personal development her entire life.

“I have always been drawn to figuring out each person’s superpower,” Sonali told us. “As a kid, this came in handy because I always knew who to turn to for anything I needed. When I ran for student government in school, I asked my friends who were great artists to create my posters, my connector friends made sure to get the word out, my wordsmith-y friends created my slogans, you get the picture.”

This skill also served her well as a leader in tech for twenty years. Sonali valued professional development and career exploration, which was always a topic in her 1:1s with her direct reports. She loves helping  people identify their strengths, their passions, and what they need to thrive.

“Mentoring has always been important to me. I have learned from and been supported by some great mentors and always wanted to pay it forward. However, it wasn’t until five years ago that I thought about doing what I loved full-time as a coach,” Sonali reflected recently. “I was worried about giving up other parts of my job that I also liked, such as having a P&L, having quarterly metrics to hit, building a team, etc. It took some further exploration and deep introspection to make the move, but I am so happy I did.”

Now, her goal is to help people overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and live fulfilling lives. Her leadership experience also qualifies her to help people with managerial issues, confidence building, leadership development, networking, building influence, career advancement, and communication skills.

Sonali knows that careers have ups and downs, and learning experiences that come with that. One “career fail” that she remembers clearly?

“In one of my jobs, my team became very successful, very quickly, and we significantly increased headcount without thinking about the management implications for me. I pushed myself to do more without thinking to ask for more managerial support until I nearly reached a breaking point. In retrospect, I should have had the conversation with my boss sooner, so that I wouldn’t have felt as burned out as I did for as long as I did. The lesson I learned is to ask for what you need.”

Besides professional development, Sonali’s other great passion is traveling with her family and two children.

“Traveling can be a great metaphor for life,” she said. “There are going to be bumps in the road, but when you slow down to take in your surroundings, there is great joy in the unexpected.”


TV Shows: Schitt’s Creek, Modern Love (Season 1)


Sonali Arurkar is an Executive and Leadership Coach. She is an invested thought partner to executives and leaders looking to level up, effectively manage transitions, and reduce stress.  She helps clients identify and address the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. She works with high-impact individuals to reach beyond what they think is possible and tackle challenges that arise, including communication issues, feeling stuck, managing difficult relationships, motivating employees, and leading through change. Through coaching, her clients push past limitations, explore new perspectives, and create more fulfilling professional and personal lives.

Prior to becoming an executive coach, Sonali led and managed teams in social enterprise tech companies for over 20 years, specifically as an executive in Client Services, Business Development, and Partnerships. She is a proud mom of two, and knows what it takes to juggle home and work priorities effectively. 

She holds a Masters from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. from Cornell University and currently lives in California after spending over half her life in Maryland.