I was born in Kolkata (Eastern India), and raised almost all over India,due to my father’s association with the armed forces. I was born to a non-conformist father, who wanted his daughters to be independent and self-assured before they even think of walking down the aisle; not so common in Indian families and I am talking about some decades ago. And to a mother who seemed very simple and unassuming but is the best people manager I have ever seen, a very strong and sensitive woman who brought up her two daughters almost single handedly, since my father was mainly posted in field areas where families were often not allowed. The diversity of living in different places, a strong mother as a role model, a dad who challenged us to be independent and take risks, a sister who was ready to kill for me, and a home which felt very secure and loving……….this shaped my early years.
Few turning points of my life were as under, which have shaped my formative years:
Need for adventure: An adventure camp while in 9th grade, organized by the Indian army, and my dad insisted that I travel alone by train overnight with a group of campers, if I wanted to attend the camp. The camp was life changing, 9 days of rappelling, trekking, mountain climbing, bruises, leech bites, basic discipline that one needs to maintain in camps organized by army, getting to know people, long lasting friendships, the excitement of camp fire…..I came back with tremendous amount of confidence and a risk taking ability, I was a different person than I was when I had boarded the train to the camp.
Building teams: Early on in my career with a Software Company, I was fortunate to be given the responsibility of leading a small team; the team was of people more educated than me and older to me. I struggled initially to get their buy in and earn their trust, but realized soon, that the best way to do so was to give them their due respect for what they knew better than me, and to treat them the way they wanted to be dealt with, treat them as different people with different needs, different qualities and short comings and different motivators. Every individual had something special to contribute, and needed to be heard and respected. I realized the more I get to know them as individuals and human beings the better I would be able to connect with them. We managed to work very well as a team and were adjudged the best team in the region. This learning has shaped my style of dealing with people, and has helped me thus far in building relationships and influencing teams.
I have been working for over 17 years now since 1997, right after my Bachelors in Hospitality Management, have worked in different industries, from IT Education, to Telecom, to Retail, to Hospitality to Consumer Durable. In Marketing, Sales, Business development and profit Centre management roles, I currently work with Tupperware India as National Sales Manager based out of Gurgaon.
This movement to Gurgaon happened a year ago, while my husband is still in Mumbai and travels into Gurgaon every weekend, a complete nudge out of comfort zone for me, for sure, but I guess all these experiences shape a person.
There are numerous other instances, but in a nutshell if I can say who I am and what my friends feel I am, it goes like this:
I seem like an extrovert, but need my own space; I have a mind of my own but have learnt not to be judgmental. I trust people unless they give me a reason not to. I am fairly balanced and look at life positively, and can take calculated risks. I like people and being with them and getting to know them. I completely believe in treating everyone equally and cannot tolerate people being unjust and unfair to anyone. Woman empowerment is my calling….and I am glad Tupperware pays me for doing it. Violence against women makes my blood boil and I take it as my responsibility to help women out of dire situations whichever way I can, and if ever I cannot do so, I feel miserable about myself. I have a 11 year old daughter, who means the world to me, and a spouse who is my best friend.
My two bits to all women trying to balance it all:
DO NOT try to be a Superwoman or a Supermom…..buy help wherever you need, whatever people may say. We have nothing to prove to anyone but to ourselves.
DO NOT sell yourself short; we often make that mistake……
Unless we are happy we just cannot make anyone else Happy!
And last but not the least, BE YOURSELF, people may love us for this, or hate us for this, but will not be able to ignore us…..