Every year on March 8 the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Why? Because progress hasn’t been discrimination free let alone equal. In accord with the United Nations theme for 2021, which is centered around leadership, we interviewed six boss ladies who have reached the top in different fields of life.
Dr. Blossom Kochhar — Celebrity Aromatherapist
Running a company is not all roses and sunshine but I have been very lucky. My husband was my pillar of support and he had always been there with me in each and every step that I had taken. My daughter Samantha is the managing Director at Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies and that’s a big help! Now my grandson has joined in as well.
On tough days, meditation and yoga are my saviours that keep me motivated and pull me through no matter what. I would always attribute my success to my family, the employees in my organisation, my friends, and my client without who I would not have been what I am today.
Advice to young women: Do something that you really love and support and encourage other women on this journey as well! A strong support system will help you tide through the tough times and there is no better support than family.
Shivani Malik — Director, Da Milano
It was always my dream to build an affordable luxury brand in the country and take it overseas. My passion keeps me going and till you have that fire in your belly you can take motivation from the smallest of things and grow. No matter the hard work put in or the results achieved, a woman is judged more than a man in society even if they are on the same level or same profession. There is no denying I was better off than most women, but sadly, these patriarchal issues are something all woman leaders/entrepreneur in India battle and must work extra hard to prove her worth.
Advice to young women: When I was younger, there was a lot of aggression in me. Youngsters these days want quicker if not instant results and get aggressive at work but my advice to them is to be calm and be patient. Big things take time and that’s okay.
Pooja Sahgal — VP & Marketing Head, Kaya Clinic
As a woman corporate head honcho, being constantly reminded that I was a woman and should dress in a certain way in a beauty company was one of the toughest things I’ve dealt with. Eventually I learnt how to stand up for myself and remind the opposite gender to set the same action standards for himself. Today to stay motivated, I focus not only on the end goal in mind and put the interests of my team before me. As a leader I stay grounded and always remember that we are all here, in this together to find a solution to the concerns /issues that we face.
Advice to young women: Explore all facets of life, that will make you a better leader. Be patient and bet on people, they will always positively surprise you!
Nazish Mir — Co-Founder, LAIQA
Sanitary napkins have long been taboo and spoken in hushed tones. The dream that I’ve always had for Laiqa, is to make it accessible to as many women as possible so they have a comfortable and safe period. Menstrual hygiene is a part of who we are and it should be talked about openly. Every decision made in Laiqa whether good or bad has been a moment to celebrate or a lesson well learnt. In fact, I believe it’s my partners at Laiqa, my colleagues and my support system (that is my loved ones) that make me who I am today.
Advice to young women: I think as women we are highly emotionally attached to our ventures but make hard decisions for the growth of your business. Think logically, not emotionally.
Dr. Simal Soin — Founder and Chief Cosmetic, Dermatologist, AAYNA
Nothing is more gratifying than putting a smile on someone’s face who’s been struggling with despair. Physical appearance troubles people of all ages and with world class technology and my specialisation I strive to bring about the best in everyone!
I have been extremely fortunate and have done everything to live up to my own standards which, by the way, are extremely high and include being honest, committed and ethical. I am also a perfectionist. All along, I just did what I do best and AAYNA clinic and all in all, it has been a beautiful journey! I attribute my success to doing what I love, surrounding myself with a fabulous team of people who share the same dream, my creativity, commitment and intuition.
Advice to young women: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone and magic happens when you don’t give up. The universe, I believe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.
Udita Bansal — Founder, trueBrowns, a sustainable fashion brand
When it comes to quality and affordability, I felt a growing gap in the apparel and thus conceptualised trueBrowns — a sustainable clothing brand. I believe in staying true to oneself, so, I envisioned a go-to-size brand where customization is hassle free and sizes range from 2XS to 6XL.
Everyone assumes that a woman cannot run a business alone! I was often asked in different ways if my husband/ father/ brother was actually running the business, and I was just helping them out. I keep reminding myself of the overall bigger picture, the vision of the company. I am blessed to have a passionate team whose energy and belief in the work they do pushes me to do more. me up most of the days.
Advice to young women: Believe in yourself and focus. Everything that pulls you down in your environment is just temporary noise that will eventually die.