women entrepreneur

Meera Chature Sankhari Entrepreneurial Journey, Achievements, Challenges and Tips for Aspiring women

WOMEN INTERVIEWS

How did you come to be an entrepreneur?

It was not a conscious decision at the time I started.

How is it different from other companies?

The firm offers all the legal solutions that are generally required by other businesses and companies. It consists of the highly qualified lawyers, most of who were Partners at the other established firms in India. Despite being a young firm, we can offer all the services that any large Indian law firm can but in a highly time and cost-efficient manner.

Throw some light on your business and its offerings.

We offer all the intellectual property law related services, including prosecution, transactional, litigation and advisory services. We also offer other allied services such as the customs recording, brand enforcement, patent drafting, design drawings, clearance searches, etc. In addition, our firm is a full service corporate commercial law firm and focuses equally on the corporate laws. We offer legal advisory and services relating to M&A, banking, infrastructure, real estate, employment, and other routine requirements to our clients.

How challenging is it for a woman to start/ or associate with any company? /Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in India as a female entrepreneur?

Yes, it is challenging to start one’s own venture. As a woman entrepreneur I did not face any challenge in relation to developing my own business, meeting client expectations or maintaining my clientele, etc. The biggest challenge that I faced came from within the firm and not externally. I have always believed that women face their biggest challenges and deal with the obstacles that are posed by the people within her immediate circle – such as family members, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, so on and so forth (and not from the strangers / extended community). Likewise, I faced and overcame similar obstacles from my own partners within the firm, including in the form of not being taken seriously, ignoring my emails and/or ideas, the lack of faith in my leadership skills, failure to acknowledge my skills – some of them tried to “mansplain” things to me, called me aggressive, etc. But here I am! Since my childhood, I have loved challenging situations and I genuinely see great value in those situations. It is probably because I have always known how to convert them into opportunities and ultimately overcome the challenges.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

I have started working from home post Covid. Most of my travel involves attending conferences, which typically take place in foreign countries as a large part of our client base is international. Having said that, I am blessed with a wonderful husband, who is my dearest friend and he happens to be a Partner within the firm as well. He respects my ambition, my capability, my hunger for growth and the need to travel around the world. I always make my own plans for business travel, business meetings and simply share with him, in case I am required for anything. Even if we happen to travel to the same city for business together, we have our own individual schedules and meet only when our day is over. In these ten (10) years, he has never once asked me to change my plan and nor have I ever felt that I am taking his permission. We are truly equal in our marriage and I am of the firm belief that when people around women understand, she can fly as high as can and she will. My kids have also grown up seeing an independent woman who leads her own life and yet have a very happy marriage – so hopefully, they’ll observe both of us and grow up to be as secure and loving human beings as one can be.

Did you have a mentor to guide you through your professional journey?  

Yes, I have. I reach out to my close network of people, which is about 5 – 7 people spread across my personal and professional life and reach out to them for guidance every time I feel the need to.

How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?

Very important. When a woman succeeds, she touches everything and everyone within her immediate surroundings and change occurs. And for the country to change and improve, women must start with themselves.

Define a perfect business leader. What are the qualities you think a great leader possess?

A perfect business leader is adaptable, constantly learning, pragmatic, can hear criticism, has the courage to implement new ideas and treats everyone with the same respect as she expects for herself.

What is the road map of your organization?

I hope that in time, my firm grows in terms of ticket value, number of people and the number of offices while retaining the current clients and onboarding many more. We are working towards making deeper inroads into the India SME / MSME sector in the immediate times to come.

A brief description of the major awards won by your company.

I have been recognized as the Top 100 Individual Lawyer by Forbes Legal PowerList 2021, “Recommended Individual” Silver band by WTR1000, the Firm has won the ASSOCHAM 2nd IP Excellence Awards,2022, Top 50 Companies award by IPR Gorilla.

What advice would you give to other businesswomen who want to thrive in a male-dominated industry?

Just keep striding. It does not matter how many times you stumble and fall, the only thing that matters in the end is to get up and walk again.

Describe the most memorable incident of your professional life.

Getting to represent the client, as a new firm, in what came to be recognized as Asia’s largest transaction of the year 2017 (deal value USD 13 billion) after setting up my own firm. Previously, filing 224 trade mark applications (manually), within 24 hours of receiving the instructions in India, for one of the largest US based companies in the entertainment sector and that too for my favourite series of magical books published at the turn of this century, which were adapted into a series of films.

One word that describe you the best…

Persevering

If you had one piece of advice to rising entrepreneurs just starting out, what would it be?

Observe, interact, ask, read and learn

How would you like people to remember you and your company?

As diligent, efficient, effective, and prompt.

What is your favourite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is akin to gardening. There will be all kinds of seasons and storms, the art of keeping the garden green is what it takes for the Entrepreneurship to flourish.

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