The last few years have been eventful and impactful for 17-year-old Zayn Patel. He’s taken various experiences and started initiatives he’s passionate about to solve problems facing Gen Z’ers just like himself.
Last year, he was rushed to the ER following a life-threatening allergy attack. The experience “I have had food allergies for 12 years now, experiencing two severe reactions and a myriad of minor ones as well,” he said. “I've been immersed in research, attempting to find a way to solve the allergy problem and allow prone individuals to live with culinary freedom.”
“I decided that a podcast would be an amazing way to reach people all over the world and share my story with everyone."
During his freshman year of college, he moved to Washington State without knowing anyone else in the community. He wanted to find a platform to tell his story of moving to a new state. “I decided that a podcast would be an amazing way to reach people all over the world and share my story with everyone, but once the pandemic hit, this resource was imperative,” he said.
Through his venture, La Nourriture, Zayn works on solutions for allergy-prone individuals like himself to have culinary freedom and hosts a podcast, FOUNDATIONS, where he covers entrepreneurship, innovation, and his own journey. He is also a consultant for an MIT startup called PathCheck, where he works on innovative solutions to the pandemic through a contact tracing app. Through his various projects, Zayn is on a mission to positively impact 8 billion people, notably the entire world's population.
Zayn was honored for his work in Healthcare through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact. Zayn uses his voice for good by inspiring others through action recognition. “I look fondly on pictures of me as a kid, and I don't think I have a picture where I'm not smiling,” he said. “I despise negative bias, and I love promoting positive bias on my podcast by providing tips and concepts to re-frame perspective and develop a positive mindset.”
"When you feel passionate enough about an issue, you will strive to make a change.”
Zayn advises anyone struggling with finding their voice to become more self-aware and invest in building self-confidence and self-trust. “Spend time with yourself,” he said. “See how you react to different social issues and world problems. After you react, then reflect. Write down how you feel when an event happens, and then write a plan to ensure that the same action doesn't happen again. When you feel passionate enough about an issue, you will strive to make a change.”
Over the next five years, Zayn wants to hit 120k listeners on his podcast. He plans to expand La Nourriture and speak with the consumers who are impacted by the product. “I hope my legacy is the fact that I provided an opportunity and a path to those who couldn't see it,” he said. “Whether it be through a startup, podcast, 1-1 session, I hope people remember me by my willingness to offer an ear to listen to them and help them in whatever way I can.”
Zayn resonates with The Conversationalist’s mission to foster a space where conversations with active impact are possible. “The Conversationalist provides me a platform to amplify my voice and discuss my ideas for a better world through unity,” he said. “The atmosphere and environment is incredible. The chance to be surrounded by other people in the community who want to be a change-maker and improve the world continues to empower me to make a change.”
Zayn uses his podcast as a medium to break open his echo chamber. “Through my podcast, I reinforce the importance of self-care, journaling, and timeboxing, so my audience understands its importance,” he said. “My hope is that through this echo chamber, they will begin to reciprocate the steps I'm taking to a more positive life, and they will begin to see the effects as well.”
“If I am going to have a conversation about the vaccine and its effectiveness, I want to define what the end goal of the conversation is."
When it comes to tackling complex topics, he tries to set intentions. “If I am going to have a conversation about the vaccine and its effectiveness, I want to define what the end goal of the conversation is," Zayn said. "It might be to understand the other individual's perspective and see how we can stay calm throughout the conversation. Defining success allows both parties to understand the intention and metrics used in the setting and the process by which they can execute it.”