The first session is a chat session with the CEOs. We have some pretty amazing people on board.
- Debjani, MD, South Asia Intel Corporation, kickstarts the proceedings sharing how she landed at Intel and how the journey to the top has been. Everyone sure agrees when she says “you must know how to open the doors (they exist). You must have that confidence of listening to your gut and opening the doors to opportunities in life.”
- Navyug Mohnot, Founder, CEO, QAI Global, shares how accidents and collisions of life have brought him where he is today. What a brilliant story – of an entrepreneur who acquired his parent organization! And how life has shaped up after that- building offices across China, Malaysia, Singapore and more.
- Anuradha Das Mathur, Founder & Director, 9.9 Media, brilliantly shares her experience, with the hall, of building 9.9 Media and how her journey has been. It’s absolutely wonderful to see her smile across all these years and on stage today. Wonderful listening to her live.
- Reshma Anand, Founder, Earthy Goods. Ohh, she’s brilliant! 6 years of doing all – from sleeping on the office floor, to selling soap for a large Indian FMCG company. And then one day realizing this is not what she’d be doing for the rest of her life, her journey of exploration starts. She travelled through-out India and the road trip changed her life. There’s not been a day which has been dull and boring since then. We have learnt so much every single day. There have been many road trips, each one more remarkable than the other. For women, she says, you’re more than capable of doing the task at hand and much more. Shut up that noise in your head.
It’s a brilliant session with the awesome speakers on stage sharing some very key experiences from life. It’s so REAL. And that’s what everyone is loving.
Anuradha blows the audience away with her amazing clear thoughts with which she addresses her personal and professional life.
Reshma comes up with a brilliant pointer and engages the entire audience by creating a powerful parallel with women in the rural India and how they have to work because they will have a problem if they did not get that money home. Though 95% of the women in this hall, don’t raise their hands, when asked, if their families will have a problem if they did not get this money home! Reshma creates a clear distinction and makes the hall feel all the more powerful!
Debjani, emphasizes on the trade-offs. As women we have to first of all set the right expectations in our minds about ourselves. I keep telling every young girl I talk to: marriage is the biggest career decision you will ever take. You need to sit down and have a conversation with yourself. Compatibility is- I have a dream, are you with me on that journey or not? you have to be at peace with yourself. If you can’t cook, it doesn’t make you a bad woman! The definition of the perfect woman keeps moving with every generation!
We so wish, every woman in Delhi was here. This is one place, which is full of REAL people. Talking life.
SHEROES Session II: Entrepreneurial Ventures
Interesting panel we have here.
- Pearl Uppal, Founder, 5Ideas, Founders in Heels
- Prajakt Raut, IAN and Hub for Startups
- Ramona Miranda, Executive Coach
- Gauri Bafna, Fleximoms Alumni
- Pearl: its been terribly challenging and terribly exciting. There were 2 motivations: what’s the next step and why am I spending my energy at an individual level. Why don’t I challenge to do something where the satisfaction is much more!
- One thing which happened was, as my children came along, I started resenting the structures that corporate life brought along. Eg: flexi is a great concept today, but a few years back it was not there. I started saying, I wanted to do more. Entrepreneurship gives you that opportunity!
- Gauri: bio chemistry – HR – baking, wow, what a journey! The only reason I started baking was for my family. But again, entrepreneurship came much later. I decided to be a mother before.
- We love how clear Gauri is. Simply brilliant. She has it figured out for herself. Proud of you Gauri!
- Ramona: I have 2 sons. We started this company about an year back. It’s not about where your kids are. It’s about where you are. Are you willing to take the challenge of building those 2 leaders at home and if you have that additional capacity to build the leaders at your workplace. It has to start with me. Am I willing to say that I don’t have a support system, but I’m going to get there.
- Prajakt: there are 2 ways of looking at it. There is this large opportunity, which is I want to do something, which is my area of passion and I want to do a start-up and be an entrepreneur. The current environment is a much more enabling environment. About 10 years back, it sure was tough.
- Today because the cost of setting up the business has gone down so significantly, its literally possible for most of us to start doing something. Entrepreneurship out of choice is now available to each and every one of us.
- Pearl: be honest with yourself. Having an equal partner at home is an absolute must. I did not let go of all the other things, while I am enjoying my mother-hood. It all goes in parallel.
- Gauri: only when I started I realized that people really need it. Its not really such a huge challenge to start-up and grow.
- Prajakt: in India all of us, have much lower aspirations (men and women both). Though with women entrepreneurs, the scale of aspiration was narrowed down drastically, which is not true. Whether you do a 1 crore company Or you do a 10x company, it does not have to be dependent on how much time you are committing to it. When you are starting up, it does not help, if you say, let me start small and let me see how it works out. Take a very clear view of what size of the market really is and when you know this is where I can possibly be in 2-3 years, then start planning out. Backtrack.
- Ramona: one question that I ask myself is, where does my core talent lie? Then I look at the market and how one can tap into the niche. How innovative can you make your products, solutions or services. You’ve gotta ask yourself the question that how will your company provide a real value add to your customers? As an entrepreneur, you must AIM high. According to a survey, women leaders in India DO NOT suffer from aspirational deficit. The question that you must ask yourself is what’s stopping you?
- Pearl: Try to articulate your goals and priorities; be true to yourself.
- we love what Pearl said. If you have ambition, don’t dull yourself. But if you don’t have it, then don’t lie to yourself. Self actualize as a mother, be a good wife and build a life. Its okay to just be 100% true to yourself. Brilliant stuff Pearl!
- Gauri: you must know what you have left behind, it does not matter. You must jut have the courage to move on. I started working on what I needed to do to get into professional baking and I took it further.
- Prajakt: i really don’t think there’s a difference between men and women in the resources they have etc. I think the opportunities are accessible to everyone. I don’t think the investors or service providers discriminate one way or the other. When we get plans, we see many people who keep mulling over their plans and they don’t do anything about it. But I also think, an equally big reason to not start-up, what if I fail? As a society we have become a lot more tolerant and accepting.
- Brilliant stuff Prajakt. Collisionable is my second venture, after the first one failed. And I so agree to you. Resources are all common for everyone.
- Ramona: I think, walking into the coaching space, the one thing I’d say, is get yourself a coach. Get yourself that mentor. One question that I ask myself : why do you wanna’ make this transition? How is it going to help you as a leader? Where does your talent really lie? Can you work on your most passionate/ core talent and earn money? There are a lot many people who will tell you a lot many things. So said people to me as well. Its about how you wanna’ see yourself. How do you dull the voices around you such that you hear yourself clearly. One of my biggest successes, I have my husband at my side. When I had to move my career, he’s been ever willing to move. And we moved.
- Pearl: people who understood me, kind of figured it out, as to what I wanted to do with my career. I always tell my female friends if you think big, you will make a big impact. The entire environment will start supporting you. because ultimately you are delivering an economic benefit to that society. They will support you.
- Prajakt: one of the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs do is to confuse between an idea and a business. A business has to be built around it. You need to understand the complexity of the business. You must understand the dynamics. Fundamentally the structure of the business, that’s what you need to understand.
- Ramona: you must position yourself different by being absolutely honest with yourself. If you haven’t positioned your business people are not going to come and ask you. That’s been my biggest learning.
- Prajakt/ Gauri: a business plan is not about your excel sheets. At some stage you should be able to read those excel sheets and balance sheets. But when you are only starting up, the excel sheet should be the last thing you should be looking at. Start looking at broad numbers around what you are looking to do. Once you start with the entire planning process, then you involve someone who’s a professional!
- Gauri: It just stresses me out. I cannot work with numbers. For me its a one many army for now. I am just about an year old in my work. I am now looking at formalizing my whole setup.
- Pearl: the fund that I run, does not have a gender bias. When we put the filters on what it takes to build a high growth company, we have seen women founded businesses in India are still not there yet. We run an early stage capital fund. We see businesses in the tech sector. They are largely internet and mobile based. One part is that we have seen very few business plans, but even when we meet women, the vision is too small. Networks are highly important. The vision does not require venture capital.
Interesting Opportunity for women entrepreneurs: Prajakt is looking for 2-3 women entrepreneurs to nurture to the next level. Reach out to Sairee and Prajakt!
And we break into lunch now… catch you on the other side!
View more photos of the event here: http://bit.ly/18z8PmR
Author : Collisionable team- Here is their work : http://blog.collisionable.com/
Photography by Rohit Upadhyay . Here is his work: http://musafirhuyaron.com/