On Women’s Day, wise words from India Inc bosses: Dream big, work hard and use the equalizer to win battles

The bosses of India Inc share the advice they would give to themselves at 18, professional and personal:

Vandini Gupta, co-founder, Mary Cohr India

Personal advice: Love me much more. Growing up, I was an overweight kid and it made me very self-conscious. I wish I accepted myself more and enjoyed it rather than being in a constant state of flux. There is nothing more important than loving and accepting yourself at every stage of life and that is the best lesson/advice I have learned in life.

Professional Tips: Slow down and have faith that everything will happen. I was a very focused student and as a result, I feel like I missed some fun times growing up. While hard work and focus are essential, balancing it with hobbies, passion, and fun is equally important to becoming a well-rounded personality.

My advice: Having both an emotional quotient and an intelligence quotient is a woman’s superpower. Always know that and nurture and nurture those two sides of you. It’s what would set you apart so you could have business acumen and a heart for the world.


Shilpa Khanna Thakkar, co-founder, Chicnutrix

Personal advice: As a teenager, I had a lot of skin problems. It had to do with a hormonal imbalance, as well as the fact that, like most teenagers, I didn’t know how to deal with my skin type. One piece of advice I would give to my younger self would be to accept my skin and find a way to improve it instead of being hard on myself for glass skin.

Professional Tips: I never imagined myself as a business owner or leader, but here I am. Life happens, and you should allow yourself to fully experience it. You never know when an opportunity will knock on your door. Remember to be confident and believe in yourself. The conclusion may not be exactly what you hoped for, but it can still be fantastic.

My advice: See big. Most of the time, we were told that being too ambitious is not a good idea. But I would say that you should just go beyond, get out of your comfort zone and get to know your own abilities, it will help you understand yourself better.

Shilpa Khanna Thakkar, co-founder, ChicnutrixAgencies

Anika Parashar, Founder, The Woman’s Company

Personal advice: You’ll be amazed that all those people you’re trying to impress, all those expectations you’re trying to meet, all those trends you’re trying to follow to fit in — won’t matter in the long run. Dig deep and be true to yourself – the world respects authenticity and individuality – be yourself.

Professional Tips: Don’t take life so seriously – you’ll change careers many times, think and rethink and hit rock bottom and fail no matter how hard you try, then in the end you’ll be fine because you’ll land right where you’re supposed to .

My advice: Don’t compete with anyone – not public figures, friends or peers, fictional or real people. So be yourself and do what’s real for you.

Anika Parashar, Founder, The Woman's CompanyAgencies

Aditi Srivastava, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces

Personal advice: Marriage is not a defect. It will probably be the longest partnership of your life. Choose wisely, think about the kind of person you will need when life gives you lemons.

Professional Tips: You can do whatever you decide to do. Your education simply defines your fundamentals and your base. After that, focus on improving your skills and focus on building something in every place you work. Success doesn’t happen by accident… if you focus on building products, relationships, your reputation, etc., the rewards will follow.

My advice: Don’t be ambivalent about your ambition and success. Work hard and achieve your dreams. You deserve it as much as the next guy. Yes, man.

Aditi Srivastava, Co-Founder, Pocket AcesAgencies

Jyotsna Uttamchandani, Executive Director, Syska Group

Personal advice: I think it would be ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself. Whether it’s with your goals, your ambitions, your hobbies, your body for that matter. Learn to love yourself first. As a kid I always tried to focus on perfection, now I realize it’s always about being persistent, consistent.

Professional Tips: It’s something my manager always told me when I worked with Microsoft: “Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.” Set deadlines, set goals, but also learn to slow down and breathe deeply. It will help keep you from burning out and keep you energized to keep learning and exploring.

Jyotsna Uttamchandani, Executive Director, Syska GroupAgencies

My advice: I would just say one thing and it’s not just for young girls – You can be whoever you want to be. I promise. Make your weaknesses and insecurities your greatest strengths. Be yourself but be open to continuous improvement. Don’t drown in the noise of the world.

Kirti Kabra, Director, RR Kabel

Personal and professional advice: At 18, everyone is very ambitious and wants to achieve a million things they dreamed of growing up. Choosing the right path is a must, but having the right orientation is just as important. It’s important to have the right mentor in life who can guide you on your chosen path and prepare you to face the real world. I believe that everything we do is either an opportunity or a new experience.

Kirti Kabra, Director, RR KabelAgencies

My advice: It is important to enjoy every moment and make the most of it. Young girls today are much more confident and know their direction in life, I would tell them to explore all opportunities and take everything with an open mind that comes their way. When things don’t work out the way you want, just go with the flow, because something better is sure to come out of it. Also, financial independence is important because it will allow you to live your life on your terms and pursue your dream.

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