Entrepreneur

Shanu Malkani Decisive Leader, Entrepreneur and Woman of Substance

WOMEN INTERVIEWS

How did you come to be an entrepreneur? – by Chance and some inspiration??.

A few years ago, I saw that accomplished professionals were choosing to move out of the corporate rat race, earlier in their career – and were embarking on an independent path – to follow their passion and also offer their expertise as advisors and consultants. Companies relied mostly on word-of-mouth to engage such independent experts. I saw a need-space to build a curated Platform for senior professionals and for organisations who wanted to engage them.

How is it different from other companies?

  • We have 3 USPs compared to large tech-driven freelancer platforms.
  • We cover a wide range of management expertise areas on our Platform – across all functions and 30 Industries.
  • Our Platform is Curated – we follow a rigorous curation and verification process
  • We follow a high-touch and human-centric process to connect Freelancers with Organisations

Throw some light on your business and its offerings.

  • We serve 4 Client segments – Large consulting firms, Corporates, SMEs & Startups and Non-Profits.
  • Our service offerings include –
  • Expert-led consulting projects,
  • Senior Advisory Roles
  • Flexi-CXO Roles
  • Expert Advisory Calls and
  • Interim/Project based resources on-demand

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 was challenging to setup the Platform and engage Experts and Clients at the same time. As a lady you aren’t taken as seriously initially, but with constant perseverance and hard work the clients and experts do understand the value you bring to the table.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

I am constantly juggling priorities on both sides – at work and home, so achieving a balance is not easy. Women have an in-built capability to multitask, so that has been an advantage. Given all the demands on my time – I have take extra efforts to make space for time for myself – but this is an important factor to achieve this elusive balance.

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

I was lucky to get good leaders in my career but more than that my husband who has been the Co-Founder of the company has been my biggest supporter and mentor for this startup.

How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?

Women bring with them a high EQ and sensitivity which makes a connect with the clients and teams working with them. Bringing in this perspective, helps your co-workers also appreciate and achieve work life balance which enables teams to perform sustainably.

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

When the leader leads from the front and stands up for a belief system, coupled with empathy for the Team – it becomes a big differentiator. It helps in turning situations around and aligns the Team with the organisations goals.

What is the road map of your organization?

The space we are in – it is the Future of Work. Post pandemic, the professional gig-workforce has been fuelled further…confirming our belief that the way people can have a balance and flexibility, and yet have an enriching career is by being a professional in the Gig economy.

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

We are a seven year old organisation. Our reward is the satisfaction of our experts and clients which has grown 3X in the last year.

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

Don’t give up ! Believe in yourself.

Are you a decision maker & risk taker?

Yes, I believe I am a sound decision maker. I am conservative around taking unknown risks, but when I see the potential for growth, I believe in taking quick decisions and actions.

Describe the most memorable incident of your professional life. 

We have been having the networking events for which we get distinguished Business leaders to speak at our panel. This required me to organise and speak at events with Industry leaders like Mr Harsh Mariwala, Mr R Gopalakrishnan, Mr Ramesh Damani. The learning I got from listening to these leaders, and participant feedback at these events, have been a high-point in my recent professional life.

One word that describe you the best…

Versatile

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

The road is tough and long but rewarding …Believe in yourselves and stay Positive.

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

Bringing value to people’s lives

What is your favourite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?

I see building a business as an entrepreneur – as running a marathon in sprints. You got to have endurance – but also need the ability and speed, to take quick decisions and actions

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