September 16, 2019
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women’s special

encourage our society and womens rights Dr. Sruti Gondi, Founder and MD, Science of Skin Clinic, Hyderabad

Tell us about yourself:

I come from a family full of doctors…. I have grown up watching them treat patients and have always wanted to be a part of that. This led to my passion of becoming a dermatologist and opening Science Of Skin Clinic, Hyderabad.

Share your journey

Filled with hard work and emotions, today when I look back I do feel proud of myself. I struggled working in a few clinic set ups but they weren’t very satisfactory as the scope was very limited. But today my clinic leverages me a good space to practice and help clients. This gives me a good sense of satisfaction and happiness.

What you expect or think on this woman’s day

I think you and me are really blessed to be born into a family where being girl we were encouraged to live our life to the fullest and achieve our dream. But there is still a section in our society where woman are struggling for their basic rights like sanitation, education and some place even right to live. So this woman’s day my request to the society is to please come forward and help this section. That is the true sense of woman’s day for me .

Life time goals

I wish and work hard to grow up to a level where I can dedicate my time to service the society for good. Being a mother and a doctor, I work toward supporting the society especially in development of girl child.

You opinion and suggestion

On this international woman’s day I would suggest each and every woman to first stand up and support themselves only then would they be able to help others.

Describe woman in words

Women are really strong, maybe not physically, but even mentally and emotionally. They do a really good job of maintaining a work life balance. It is not easy being one, but they make it seem so easy and effortless. I would like to take this opportunity to give full credit to the wonderful women in my life, my mother, my teachers who have moulded me to the woman I am today.

Ritu Grover, a single mother, and CEO of TGH Lifestyle Services Pvt. Ltd. To keep it short and simple, I’m a workaholic entrepreneur who loves car rallies, golf and public speaking. I’ve been in the service industry for over 30 years and am now authoring a book on workplace productivity.

Share your journey?
My entrepreneurial journey started right after I finished college. I started working as an interior designer right after my last day of college but realising that employees all over the country needed work-life balance and that was the need of the hour, I started TGH. My daughter at the time was 2 years old and now she’s 20, so it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way.

What you expect or think on this international women’s day?
Personally speaking, I think every day is women’s day. We should celebrate both genders equally, every day. However, in our country I expect crime against women to reduce this year. I expect more and more people to realise that women are equal to men and that feminism stands for equality of both genders.

Lifetime goals?
When it comes to my personal life, I want to become a mentor to budding entrepreneurs and women in particular who feel like their life ends once they get married or have kids so that they can dare to dream and see their dreams turn into reality.
On the professional side, I want TGH to be known as an international brand.

Your opinion and suggestions? (international women’s day )
No hero is complete without ‘her’ and if women are half the population of the world and they raise the other half of the population, there can be nothing more supreme than that.

Any message to given?
I want to tell women to believe in themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Have the courage to lead and dare to dream.

Describe women in your words?
I just have one word – POWERFUL. Women are extremely powerful and all it takes is a good mentor or a good leader and 20 seconds of insane courage for them to show how strong and talented they are. Empowered women empower women!

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Faridpur in Haryana’s Hisar district – a not so friendly place for a girl child. I am the eldest of my four siblings, and at the age of 13 – after the demise of my father, I did everything a son would have done.

Share your journey?

In 2013, I scaled the Mount Everest successfully from the Nepal side with a 6 member team. After the success, I wished to scale it from the China side in 2015, but an avalanche triggered by an earthquake occurred when I was at approximately 22,000 ft, due to which few of my team members did not survive the quake and many were injured. All of the other people were scared to attempt this again but I returned to make another attempt in 2017 and succeeded in hoisting the national flag on the peak on 21st May, 2017.

What you expect or think on this international women’s day?

Dream big & don’t worry about the society and the prejudices that have against women.

Life time goals?

Currently, I plan to climb Denali in North America & Akansha Dua in South America.

Any message to be given?

Women should ensure that they get the right education and once they have reached their goal, try and become mentors and friend to other women around you and help them to grow.

Describe women in your words?

A woman is the perfect combination of grit, beauty, determination, strength & is a great multitasker. She can perform varied roles with ease – be it of a mother, wife, sister, friend, mentor – a women can balance it all and that what’s makes every woman special.

Q.Tell us about yourself ?

Hi, I am Dr. Geetanjali Chopra. Born and brought up in Delhi, I completed my schooling from Convent of Jesus and Mary, got my Bachelors from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, my Masters, M.Phil and PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Through my education I formed a solid base in journalism and political science. I have also studied a few courses on International Law from the Hague and Utrecht University in Netherlands.
Philanthropy runs in my family. I still have fond memories of going to a school for the visually impaired with my grandfather to celebrate festivals and occasions. My family made sure to inculcate values in my younger brother and me- basic civil values like honesty, charity, humbleness. These were just some of the principles that were imbibed in us from the very start. My parents, and my grandparents especially, have played a very large role in making me who I am today.

Share your journey ?

I have had quite an interesting journey, and I’ve had my finger in a number of pies. I started out as a journalist with The Hindustan Times. I have also been a lecturer and taught students pursuing International Relations. I have even tried my hand at baking, handicraft design and radio jockeying. I have been an active academic for over 15 years and have been widely published on issues like female prisoners, the role of NGOs in international peace, and human rights. I was a fellow at Centre for Policy Research, a Delhi think-tank. This job allowed me to travel the world and attend various seminars on politics and human issues. I was also able to work with a lot of international NGOs through this job. I was happy, and it paid well, but I felt there was something lacking. It was a well-cushioned job, but I felt that it had become monotonous. It was only after setting up Wishes and Blessings that I felt I had found my place; I felt settled.

What you expect or think on this international women’s day ?

I think it is a very important day in all our lives. Women have so much potential invested in themselves, and because of many aspects whether familial or societal or economical, they are not allowed to go out into the world and explore that potential. Wishes and Blessings works with many such underprivileged and homeless girls and young women. The need of the hour is to provide a stable and wholesome childhood so that these young women can go on to build sustainable futures, so that they can escape the vicious cycle of poverty. If we are committing to #BalanceforBetter, education is of prime importance. If you teach a man, you teach an individual. If you teach a woman, you educate a family.

Life time goals ?

My goal might seem cliché, but I stand by it. I want to spread smiles and happiness. Some people might find joy in material things, or prayer, or travelling. My joy comes from somewhere else- seeing someone’s tears turn into happiness. My goal is to help the underprivileged, fulfil their wishes and help their dreams come true.

Your opinion and suggestions ? (international women’s day )

If we are to work towards #BalanceforBetter, people need to join hands and come together. Gender equality exists in all arenas of life, and women have to be given the chance to be heard, understood and given the opportunities to explore multiple avenues. The power of choice must be extended to all, as this is the one thing that guarantees empowerment.

Any message to given ?

Follow your dreams! No goal is too big or too small, however it is important to be realistic. Follow your heart, but make sure to take your brain along.

Describe women in your words ?

Women are powerful and strong. They have the capability to do anything they set their mind to and have the passion and the potential to change society for the better.

Namita Shah, co-founder of Presolv360, a tech-enabled platform that resolves legal disputes without recourse to courts.

“As a Chartered Accountant, CPA (USA) and lawyer, I worked in the diamond and jewellery industry, where I experienced top companies crumble to bankruptcy, only due to disputes turning demonic, ruining businesses and families likewise. I realized that it could be prevented if there was a proper dispute management mechanism. And I made that my goal – to empower people with a platform that can amicably resolve disputes without recourse to courts. This led me to co-found Presolv360, a platform that blends law and technology to provide dispute prevention and resolution services, and empower people to resolve conflicts without going to courts – right from their smartphones.

As a first step, I quit my well-paying job and spent over a year studying global dispute resolution practices, undertaking surveys on-foot across courts and learning technology – without earning a single Rupee, and in fact, investing all of my savings into this vision. And after all of the research we undertook several pilot projects where we helped people resolve their disputes.

In a particular matter, the sole breadwinner of a family passed away in a motor accident, leaving nothing but responsibility of three children, mounting debt and a torturous litigation. After half a decade of running pillar to post, dealing with erratic lawyers and barely making ends meet, the victim’s wife had another decade to go before any expectation from Indian courts. Presolv360 undertook a neutral evaluation & bilateral negotiation between the insurance co. and the lady through the platform, and within a span of 50 days, the matter concluded. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Thank you for saving me!”. That day I knew that every single effort, sacrifice, risk – is all worth it. And I have dedicated my life to this cause fully.

Giving up a cozy corporate job to venture into unchartered territories (against the wishes and advice of my family, employers and well-wishers) is one of the biggest, and boldest, risks that I have taken and the thought of proving my decision right fills me with enthusiasm every morning. Even today, I reinvest over 90% of the earnings back into the business. I know I don’t have a bank balance and comforts I would have had, had I continued with my job, but I have found my purpose, and nothing is more satisfying!

I am truly grateful and humbled to have been recognized among the top 60 in the ‘Women Transforming India, 2018’ initiative of the GoI. It has been my privilege to be a part of movements such as WEE Foundation (Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment), AFI (Action For India) and Agnii.

This story is my reality..”

Tell us about yourself ?

Sahiba is a digital marketer by profession & the co-founder of Walnut Folks. At a young age of 21, she set up her first startup, which was an EdTech enterprise. The same got awarded as the best startup on the campus by Economic Times in 2015 for the unique business model & unparalleled growth. She has also worked in the capacity of Business & Marketing Head and Marketing Consultant for media giants in India & abroad. Presently she is the marketing wizard at Walnut Folks who seamlessly integrates thought-provoking designs with pertinent marketing strategies to create highly impactful campaigns for the brands they work with.

Share your journey ?

Sahiba started her first startup at the age of 21, an EdTech enterprise with a strength of more than 200 people, which got awarded as the best startup on campus by Economic times in 2015 for the unique model & unparalleled growth. The startup raised funding from marquee investors like Matrix partners & India Quotient. There amongst other things, she led product marketing & that was the start of her learning of all the things she knows about marketing today. When working with your own venture at stake & a thrifty budget, the only possible outcome is ‘A growth marketer’ and that is what she is today.

After that, she has also worked in the capacity of Business & Marketing Head and Marketing Consultant for media giants in India & abroad. Her experience of working in the US & middle-east ecosystems gave her extremely valuable learnings & insights into marketing strategies & their nuances. However, she felt a strong gap in the Indian digital Marketing ecosystem- especially for Indian B2B organizations. Most mid-sized agencies & marketers in India use a one size fit all approach to B2B marketing, which doesn’t get results. She found this as a uniquely exciting opportunity to start a full-service marketing agency to translate her rich experience into results for Indian B2B organizations.

Today, Walnut Folks is a living example of her spirit. When anyone thinks about a big Marketing agency, they think of cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad or Pune. No one ever tries to consider tier 2 cities like Nagpur & Sahiba wanted to change that. She wanted to make people believe that just to pursue their dreams & careers, they don’t need to move their lives outside their hometown, they don’t have to go to Mumbai or Pune; they can do it by staying in Nagpur. For the last year, running Walnut Folks from Nagpur, she has been nurturing young talent there, while at the same time providing our clients exceptional quality & working like any leading national agency would.

With a 30+ membered strong team she has worked on brand strategies and nationwide marketing campaigns for big and powerful multinational B2B brands like BVC Ventures – World’s leading precious logistics group, Sopariwala Exports – a leading export house with 100s of product lines, 4Fruitz – a multi-national confectionery brand, Cranfield University UK – incorporated by the Royal Charter of UK, KCC Construction Group, DP Jain, University of California Riverside and many more.

Apart from providing such high profile clientele to work with the Walnut Folks family, Sahiba has also gotten actively involved with grooming the talent by directly working with colleges. She aims to create a full ecosystem of highly skilled marketing professionals in the city and not just at Walnut Folks. Undaunted by the scale of the task ahead of her; she, with her team, is determined to put Nagpur on the Advertising map of India, and eventually the world.

What you expect or think on this international women’s day ?

I’d like to start by addressing this social stigma that is associated with being a woman entrepreneur, that I saw quite a lot of women face. We usually talk about the hurdles in achieving success, but the worst is once you’ve toiled hard to achieve all of it and then the due credit is given to your face, skin colour, body type or character but not your brains, capability or hard work. Dealing with that is fairly challenging, as you feel embarrassed of wanting acceptance; contradictory to your strength and self-sustaining attitude.

First and foremost, believing in my own force, without feeling undermined by anyone, and at the same time not behaving like I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m a woman, makes me empowered. Feeling equal, makes me empowered.

Life time goals ?

Nobody remembers who came second! That’s my life mantra and motto.

Your opinion and suggestions ? (international women’s day )

Let’s build a world where we wouldn’t need to celebrate a womens day to appreciate her

Any massage to given ?

My only request to all budding women out there is, the next time you hear of a successful woman, don’t think about how rich her father must be to have supported her, or how she might have a husband who created a business just for her. Appreciate her mettle for who she is, as today we need to drive a change together and we will stop when there’s nothing newsworthy about a woman entrepreneur.

Describe women in your words ?

She’s not a goddess when she brings luck into a home, and not a slut when her neckline is deep. She’s a human, and that’s the best way to describe her.

Q: Tell us about yourself? Share your journey? Describe women in your own words

A: With a paltry sum of Rs. 750, I was the Daughter in Law of a respectable family out on the streets at about 2 AM in the night with nothing but tears in my eyes, bewilderment at the cruelty of my new found family of my husbands, yet When I walked out, I had dreams in my heart and the grit and determination to survive. I said to myself, “I must amount to something in life. No one will ever trample upon me again because I will be a ‘somebody’, and the ‘something’ that this ‘somebody’ eventually did was to not only turn my own life around full 360 degree!) but also helped thousands of other women, in similar predicaments seeking a new identity and meaning to life.

My own divorce took 10 long years, but instead of sitting and moping around looking for sympathy or being a victim, I decided to be a ‘Victor’. I set up India’s first non-judgmental divorce support group for those going through a divorce, which challenges the mores of a patriarchal middle-class society that obviously has different rules and expectations for women and then, wrote a book ‘360 degrees back to life – a litigant humorous perspective on divorce’ based on the experiences of the support group.

Since I was penniless, I took up various jobs instead of depending on a handout from my in-laws/husband. Instead of sobbing at the lack of funds or support, I decided to study law to help me in my own case/court battle. Each time, a new obstacle came I just learned to either jump over it or sidestep it. My father who was a fighter pilot with the Indian Air taught me how to shoot down problems as though they are the enemy and my mum taught me how to be a risk taker. So essentially, I would think that the path to be extremely empowered and successful in life is to let go of negativity and only focus on positivity. I also would want parents of Indian women to support their children when going through a tough marriage or any other problem which may not fit into the societal norms, as I also believe that society is there to create hurdles and roadblocks and not necessarily to lend a meaningful hand to those in need.

Today my life journey has taken me to being a successful divorce lawyer and I am honoured to have been empanelled as a senior advocate by the NCW (National Commission Women) and I am hopeful to be able to provide legal aid to many more women.

Another book of mine “EX-Files” was published by Penguin and now under the also launched India’s first legal app ‘Divorcekart’ – which provides 24/7 lawyers on call/chat.

As I stand, at another crossroad of my life, I look at more horizons to conquer and I’m proud of my life philosophy, “It is better to elevate yourself rather than pulling down another”.

My objective in life is simple to make ‘divorce’ sound a less dirty word than it is, despite the change happening in our socio – ecobomic set up. In other words, I want to help to reduce the stigma of divorce, to provide nonjudgmental support to those going through it and most of all to rebuild life while going through this, in India.

I strongly believe in to look at the positive side of life. …It’s better to look at life as a big triple Sundae than a glass half empty. It was this philosophy that helped me to combat the vitriolic abuse in a marriage, having no support from relatives, highly judgmental society which only looks at women who are divorced as Vamps. When I restarted my life, I put aside all the negativity and only focused on the positive path to growth.

Q. What you expect or think about this international women’s day? Your opinion and suggestions? (international women’s day)

Women’s empowerment is about realizing your potential as a woman and working towards maximizing it. The glass ceilings are so many, stemming from the fallacious belief that women cannot employ their brains on anything other than beauty, cosmetics, children, family and of course shopping. Cracks in the glass ceiling appear every time a woman achieves her goals. If the goal is getting into space like Kalpana Chawla did then so be it, if it is setting up a business enterprise like the women at Lijjat Papad or SEWA did, so be it. The point is to go right ahead and forget about the narrow definitions of womanhood that we are expected to conform to. There are no rules except the ones that are set by others or us to limit our flight to success. Each time we feel that it can’t be done because, “I’m a woman” just Google the names of women achievers and their inspiring stories to lay all doubts and fears to rest. The glass ceiling is not a myth but it will have only as much but it will have only as much power over us as we let it. I wish I could list down the names of all the women achievers I know, living their extraordinary lives on their own terms–fearless, fabulous and flying high because they didn’t let themselves get into a victim mode but a victor zone.

Let’s embrace ourselves for what we already are and what we can become if we set our mind to it. This Women’s Day lets achieve our potential to the maximum and let’s not allow the dreams in our heart to be encumbered by our gender. power over us as we let it. I wish I could list down the names of all the women achievers I know, living their extraordinary lives on their own terms–fearless, fabulous and flying high because they didn’t let themselves get into a victim mode but a victor zone.

Q. Any message to give?

This women’s day we should give the message:

  1. It’s better to elevate yourself than bring down another
  2. Embrace ourselves and be the best version of ourselves
  3. Be positive and conquer the world Empower ourselves financially, emotionally
    4.Break the chains that keep us in mediocrity
  4. Be the Empress of the World

Lifetime Goals:
The journey has just gotten more interesting-keep living life EmpressSize