The Ladies Who Lead Engage Conference saw many luminaries in attendance. Namely, Mr. Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman of ASCENT Foundation, Gauri Devidayal, Director of Food Matters India, Sangita Reddy, MD of Apollo Hospitals Group, Roopak Saluja, Founder & CEO of 120 Media Collective, Sarika Sethi, Director & CEO of Gemini Power Hydraulics, Karishma Parekh, MD of Karishma Sarees and Suits, Musthafa PC, CEO of iD Fresh Food, Manisha Sangani, Director & CEO of Just Lifestyle, Paras Shah, CEO of Neoteric Infomatique, Smriti Dalvi, CEO of Florista, and many others.
Here are some key takeaways we’d like to share from the event, for the people who weren’t able to make it:
1) Find your Purpose
An Entrepreneur wants to leave a footprint in society, transform lives, find meaning in what they do. They are driven by a larger purpose, a goal which sometimes feels hopeless, irrational and self defeating but is a calling. “They need to serve, they are fuelled by a need to fill a gap”, says Sunita Reddy about her father who came back from the US to India to serve and built Apollo Hospitals Group. It’s the entrepreneur that truly invented the phrase ‘ I Can’
2) Once an Entrepreneur, always an Entrepreneur
Most successful entrepreneurs will never stop being entrepreneurs. They are constantly evolving, reinventing, redefining and constantly learning. Whether it be Kishore Biyani building a distribution empire that now spreads to every corner of the country, to Falguni Nayyar, reinventing herself – and succeeding – with Nykaa, and Mr Mariwala who says after a while it’s about a higher purpose altogether, in his case to mentor, to fuel other entrepreneurs, to create an ecosystem that can nurture this spirit.
3) The Human Touch
We are all familiar with the phrase ‘Knowledge is Power’ and it truly is. Knowledge is not always found in books. It’s everywhere you look, whether it be in new people, different destinations, your own experiences. You have to be curious about the world, feel human stories, understand what makes people tick and learn what makes you and your business tick as well. As Rajiv Bajaj says, “Only when you indulge in a little quiet time and humility can you truly listen and discover where the problem is that you can solve, how you can be counter intuitive and be disruptive. And that’s the single most important point in journey to success.“
4) Key: Overcome Failure
It doesn’t matter if you’re super smart or not – neither Mr Mariwala or Rajiv Bajaj went to B-School. PC Musthafa went from school dropout to billionaire – you need to be driven and passionate, ready to learn and unlearn, find a new path, and overcome your fear of failure. As Rajiv says, “You need to earn it. You can afford ad spends, distribution, not because of success, but as a result of success”. Milind Soman adds, “ Don’t let your mind stop you from achieving life to its’ fullest”, and as Gauranga Das says, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
5) ASCENT is a family
As it grows from strength to strength every year, the conclave brought to light once again the multiple facets of building a big business, the various people from different walks of life, sectors, and backgrounds that have beaten odds to do so and have made a difference. There were several references to friends in the audience, to people that have helped and supported one another, mentors, travellers in a journey together, all aspiring to do so much more. Mr Mariwala hopes to see his dream go nationwide and we’re sure it will. India has always been a country where people dream of doing something big and all it takes is a network.