Poorna Bell is an award-winning journalist, published author, digital editorial expert and charming public speaker. She works extensively across a range of areas including women in business, the BAME community and diversity, mental health and physical health.
Poorna has written for a number of well-known publications such as The Times, Grazia Magazine, Red Magazine and The Guardian, as well as broadcasting on Channel 5, ITV and the BBC.
Poorna Bell started working in journalism in 2003 as an editor for Asiana, Britain’s largest Asian magazine, before moving to The London Paper as a commissioning editor and then a features editor for Grazia India. In 2013, she was appointed as HuffPost’s executive editor and global lifestyle head, covering lifestyle, technology, style, parenting and blogs. Whilst leading editorial innovation around men, women and parenting, she also worked with the marketing and communications team and publicly represented the company at a brand level. She also spearheaded a project focused on men and modern-day masculinity and what it might mean for parenting.
Poorna has worked for start-ups and prestigious publications such as The Telegraph, Stylist Magazine, iNews and Glamour Magazine, covering topics such as relationships, coping with grief, dating after bereavement, coping mechanisms, anxiety and race. Through these publications, she has worked with the likes of actresses Jameela Jamil and Emilia Clarke, chef Jamie Oliver and environmentalist Livia Firth.
Poorna has brought her life experiences to the world of publishing, writing three non-fiction books and one novel. Her first, Chase the Rainbow, was published in 2017. She described it as a memoir-meets-journalism piece based on her life with her husband Rob, who sadly took his own life in 2015 following a battle with depression. It received rave reviews and mental health advocate and author Matt Haig said it was “surprisingly funny, brave and bittersweet”. In Search of Silence came in 2019; it explores the prevalent negative emotions in our society such as sadness and loneliness and aims to find out what happiness truly means to us. Stronger came out in 2021 and is described as part memoir and part manifesto. It was inspired by Poorna’s journey to get physically strong after she lost her husband, documenting her journey to becoming a competitive powerlifter.
Her debut novel In Case of Emergency came in 2022 and follows a woman who, after an accident, finds her ex-boyfriend has been called in as her emergency contact, prompting her to think about the way she has been living her life.
Expertly trained at RADA, Poorna has presented in a number of formats from panel sessions to chairing conferences and has spoken on a variety of topics including women, men, mental health, BAME and social media, as well as speaking at industry advertising and marketing events. Poorna has been both speaker and guest at a number of mental health and wellness events, including for the NHS and at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. Her events have brought her in contact with a number of people including Bill Gates and HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Her speaking commitments mainly focus on five key points:
Her views on mental health and wellbeing have seen her feature on several podcasts including Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’, BBC Five Live and Professor Green’s ‘Book of Man’. She has been involved with discussions on international women’s day, bereavement, beauty, mental wellness and women’s rights.
Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic put a spanner in the works as far as her in-person events went, Poorna adapted and now offers virtual workshops to clients to help brands seek new ways to support the mental wellbeing of their remote workforces.
Her expertise in a number of areas means she has been on the judging panel for awards such as the Mind Media Awards, the Own Media Awards, the British Book Awards, the Sony World Photography Awards and the First Women Awards.
Poorna’s experience and achievements in the world of mental health and wellbeing, women’s rights and bereavement support have won her a number of accolades from Marie Claire Magazine’s Verified Power List in 2019, Balance Magazine’s Top Wellness Personalities and the 2019 Stylist Magazine Rising Star Award.
Poorna’s clients range from the small to the very big such as the Bank of England, Deloitte, Waterstones, Allen & Overy, Future Publishing, Soho House, Specsavers, Spotify, Women’s Forum, Bestival, Twitter, NHS, Henley and Cheltenham Literary Festivals, NatWest, Bupa, Lululemon, Sweaty Better and Sport England.
Using her own experiences, Poorna is a dedicated public speaker who is experienced in anything from keynote speeches to hosting events and judging awards and aims to encourage and inspire any size audience.
“Poorna is a trusted advisor and consultant to The Unmistakeables team. She collaborates with us to provide cultural and creative insight that can build, better or change client work. Poorna brings all of herself to what she does, which makes her truly unmistakeable to work with.” – The Unmistakeables team.
“Raw and Poetic” – Fearne Cotton, on the publication of In Search For Silence.
“This amazing book reminds us all that we are stronger than we know.” – Stacey Solomon, on the publication of Stronger.