Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I am a Bengali happily married to a Bohri. Married for 28 years now with 5 years of courtship. My 2 children, a son and a daughter are my strength and support.
Have you had any formal training or family business?
I am an Ex Digital professional, Digital was my passion and was privileged to be a part of this industry from its nascent stage. I was featured as a Top 10 Powerful Digital Indian woman and Top 20 International Marketers.
A MS and crohns warrior (both autoimmune disorders), took a toll on my health.As my health deteriorated, I tried what I could do on the given day and started talking to people with autoimmune disorders.This got me to realize how mental awareness is so vital and crucial in today's day. I never thought I could be so passionate about anything beyond Digital, but today I feel empowered by making a difference in the lives of people by helping them with personal counselling analytical approach and CBT. My mission in life is to ‘HEAL’. I am also a sex educator.
How did you come up with the idea for your business, and what was the process of turning that idea into a reality?
For me Digital was my lifeline. What better way to reach out to people suffering from Autoimmune disorders, I created a group to address many common issues as well as provide support and understanding. I took to talking to MS patients. Around the same time Heart to Heart Institute of human technology introduced me to counselling and there was no looking back. I found my second passion, ‘HEAL’ people.
How have you grown as a leader since starting your company, and what have been some of the key lessons you've learned along the way?
Guess because I am a people's person, leadership comes naturally to me. I believe one needs to work as a team allow them to make mistakes, let them falter and learn and above all give them the right credit. Make them grow with you. I have always believed in sharing the knowledge I have and pass it on. And my best compliment is today I am still in good books with all my seniors and my colleagues who till date call me an inspiration. That's my accomplishment.
Can you tell us about a time when you faced a major setback or failure in your business, and how you overcame it?
Years back in 2009, post I was diagnosed with MS and Crohns,the doctors told me I could work no more. I lifted myself up and got back to my career and yet kept moving forward. My passion pushed me saying, Never Say Quits. And I believe I may have MS but MS cannot have me. I did not allow that to cripple me more, instead it opened the doors of counselling and healing. Most of us don't realize when one door closes many open but we don't tend to look at them.
How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals, especially during challenging times?
Tomorrow is another day. I live everyday as my only day. Challenges will always be a part of our lives. How to steer away and make those challenges your strength is what I do. Also I believe, the challenging times will also pass. If there can be dawn after dusk we are bound to see a smooth life too. The only way is to stay focussed and not let your mind slip into procrastinating about tomorrow. One can only motivate oneself. You can take a horse to the water but not have him drink. Similarly one has to be one's own motivation and inspiration, to raise one's own bar.
How do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a business?
If one is diligent enough, one can easily break up the time between personal and work responsibilities. One has to set a boundary without burning oneself by prioritizing the task at hand and what needs your attention. You need to know to switch off and not get so involvedthat one is not able to do justice to any. Time management and prioritizing your to do list is important, at the same time having ‘Me Time’ is equally crucial.
What are your plans for the future of your business, and how do you see yourself evolving as a founder and leader?
I want to reach out to as many people as possible building awareness about ‘Mental Health’, a word used loosely and scary to many. In today's generation, I feel each and everyone needs that one person to speak to without being judged or taken seriously. Mental health problems are mostly invisible. What one goes through may not really appear the same, unlike a bruise or fever that one can see. It is therefore very imperative to get into the root cause. Many times it is just a temporary problem and can be solved with talk therapies. And sometimes it's surprising that it is something that is lingering from your childhood and it manifests at a later stage in life. The only thing we don't know is we all have the ability to think and have resources within us, but need help to tap the solution lying within them, which needs to be stimulated and nurtured. Beyond that definitely I am also looking at it as my second profession. So I would call it passion and profession. I want to give my clients a safe place to talk without inhibitions, fear or judgements.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I have never regretted my past. In fact now when I look back I feel I have been able to reach every milestone I’ve set for myself.And given my health condition now, I am happy with all that I did and never left things for a later date. “Yesterday has passed beyond recall, tomorrow may never come… Today is only mine so let me make the most of today” as poet Rabindranath Tagore says. I would not advise but suggest, think before taking up something…have a back up plan… Do not regret your decisions, for they would have taught you some lessons, good or bad and allowed you to evolve into a better, happier and successful individual.
What's the most unconventional thing you've done to grow your business, and what was the result?
Moving from a Digital career to philosophy and counselling, two extremes, yet marrying the two, I am sure with my discipline and passion, I will reach out to more and more individuals who need help and therapy.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from a failure, and how have you applied it to your business?
It's perfectly OK to fail. But it's important to get up again and not give up. The statement apt to this is “Failure is the only way to success”. If you have not faced failure you can never enjoy success without being arrogant.
What's the most meaningful compliment or feedback you've ever received from a customer, and why did it resonate with you?
“The reason I chose to work with you was because you were honest to tell me that the campaign won't work in the budget, instead of choosing to take the money and giveme unsatisfactory results you chose not to take the project”…..One of my close clients comment.
Also one of my senior colleagues standing up for me stating, ‘what I could deliver being on a wheelchair showed my strength and not weakness’, after one of my highly applauded presentation, for a sales campaign for a reputable brand.
If you had to choose one thing that makes your company truly unique and sets it apart from the competition, what would it be, and why?
I think being an Autoimmune warrior myself, gives me the empathy and understanding to approach people needing help, also being a digital professional I can reach out them more effectively and constructively.