On Women’s Day: Celebrating Chandigarh’s top guns

Shambhavi Sharma
On Women's Day: Celebrating Chandigarh's Top Guns

"I try to understand each and every member of the staff, their personal needs, requirements and I strive to be sensitive to the challenges they face.", says Ritu Chaudhary.

‘You have wings’

Name: Shobha Kapoor
Designation: Owner, Shobha Commerce Classes

Leadership style: I am a good leader because I think and act independently. A smooth sea never made a
skilled sailor!

Challenges: I got married at 21 just after my graduation and had twins. After my children grew up a little, I went back to studies and I did my Master’s and M.Phil and I am currently pursuing my PhD and writing all those research papers gives me tremendous confidence. Coming from a conservative family, I started from scratch and am flying high today.

Life Mantra: Be honest and confident. Hard work is the key to achieve every dream. Just keep going and one day you will be proud of yourself.

Advice to other women: Be yourself. You have wings. Girls should receive good education and then they can achieve anything. Don’t run away from tough situations. Work hard, be courageous and you will be on top of the world.

‘Make yourself a priority’

Name: Dr. Happy Jeji
Designation: Director, Public Relations Officer (DPRO), Punjabi University, Patiala

Leadership Style: For being a good leader, you have to be first a good human being and be successful in your own work.

Challenges in your journey: Every common woman faces challenges in her daily life, but I was fortunate to have a supportive family. I think if your family and society stand by you, you can achieve anything.

Life mantra: I try to remain calm, understand the needs of others and give everyone their space. For me, honesty and integrity are important values for both personal and professional success.

Your advice to other women: As women, we work hard at home and work. That’s why it is paramount that women take care of their health, focus on their roles, responsibilities, happiness and goals. Make yourself a priority.

‘Just be yourself and don’t copy others’

Name: Anju Bhatia
Designation: Founder, Right Media

Leadership Style: I have been running an advertising company for more than 20 years now and the core team of the company hasn’t changed in all these years. We all work together and I think that indicates that I am not a bad leader. Being humane is my key leadership mantra. Just be yourself and don’t copy others.

Challenges in your journey: My biggest setback was when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 18 years back. Two years back, doctors at PGI said that I would be bedridden, but here I am, high on life. Life is about facing challenges, emerging stronger and shining brighter. I have come from zero to seven crore with my hard work and without any financial help from my parents and in-laws.

Life mantra: You can’t run away from every situation so enjoy it. My passion is to enjoy everything that I am faced with.

Advice to other women: Be yourself. Be a woman; don’t try to be a man in order to be strong. We women are stronger physically and mentally than men. “Ghar ka beta banke nahi, beti banke shaan bano ghar ki.”

‘Stay calm, be positive’

Name: Ritu Chaudhary
Designation: Principal, Kidzee Group of schools

Leadership style: More than 98 per cent of our staff comprises women from different backgrounds and families. I try to understand each and every member of the staff, their personal needs, requirements and I strive to be sensitive to the challenges they face. This, I think makes me a popular leader.

Challenges in your journey: Everyday is a new challenge and we should keep learning. I try to be positive and I believe we can overcome every problem and achieve
anything.

Life mantra: Stay calm, be positive and understand the problems of others.

Advice to other women: Be empathetic towards everyone, especially women. As a leader, I try my best to understand other women. We have to empower and value each other and more importantly, understand each other. As women we all face many challenges and we must support each other.

‘Speak Out Loud’

Name: Nilambari Jagadale
Designation: SSP, Chandigarh

Leadership Style: Being part of the disciplined force, I am mindful that my department follows a certain system of hierarchy. However, a true leader is one who is an integral part of the organisation. Therefore, I believe in leading along with the force to keep myself abreast with the needs of my officers/officials, so that we can serve society well.

Challenges in your journey: I really can’t fathom the fact as to why a woman is asked this question. What is life without challenges? Everyone faces obstacles and how can we grow without scaling the hurdles? Therefore, I would rather say I welcome new experiences the moment I face them.

Life Mantra: Justice at any cost has been my mantra for life. Be it for myself or for anyone else. I exhort all, especially the women to know, ‘You are everything.’ What matters is that you
realise it.

Advice to other women: Beautiful souls, life may seem ruthless at times, but what we need to do is to take a stand and speak out, not only speak out, but speak out loud. History stands testimony to the fact that women had to fight a fierce battle for their rights. Arise, awake and don’t stop till you reach the glorious zenith.

‘Keep learning’

Name: Gurkiran Jeet Nalwa
Designation: Principal, Shivalik Public School

Leadership style: A leader has to keep transforming according to the situation. Sometimes you have to be democratic and sometimes you have to lead others for a cause, my style is mixed. I am more of a people’s person and I like to hear everyone’s perspective to resolve any solution. Leadership is a power which can be equated with responsibility.

Challenges in your journey: The going has been good so far. Every day is a new challenge.

Life mantra: Keep learning new things because life never stops teaching.

Your advice to other women: I am a proud mother of two daughters. Just believe in yourself and see yourself
as your only competition. Be brave
every day.

‘Believe in yourself’

Name: Anandita Mitra
Designation: Director General, Public Relations, Punjab

Leadership Style: I strongly believe that it depends on the situations we deal with. Sometimes you have to be authoritative and at other times you have to be participative in order to complete a task.

Challenges in your journey: Professionally and personally, I am at par with any man, and that’s because my upbringing has been so democratic. Life is all about facing challenges with conviction.

Life Mantra: One day at a time. I don’t think about yesterday or worry about tomorrow.

Advice to other women: Believe in yourself, before others start believing in you. You are not less than any other human being in the world.

‘Face Your Problems’

Name: Veena Malhotra
Designation: Principal, Lawrence Public School, Mohali

Leadership Style: My priority is to make my relationship with my teachers meaningful and long-lasting. This effort is to bring out the best in people. A leader, I believe, is the one who walks with everyone and helps others to stand strong.

Challenges in your journey: Even after a long struggle, the Administration of the city didn’t give us land for our school. I bought this land in an open auction and that was really difficult for me. Personally, my parents have supported me through every phase of my life. We are six sisters and a brother and we all got the best education and opportunities, without any discrimination. We were all expected to do our best and a perfect example of this is my elder sister, who is the director of AIIMS, Delhi. Family support is very important for a girl to achieve professional growth. I owe my success to my father, who has always been my strength.

Life mantra: Face your problems, don’t run or hide from them. Be a bonfire in tough circumstances and shine bright. I believe a connection with nature is very important to grow.

Your advice to other women: Never accept any unfair treatment from society or your family. As a woman your responsibilities are far greater than a man’s. If a girl is educated, she educates the entire family. If a woman is strong, she can do anything.

‘Never stop exploring’

Name: Madhu Trehan
Designation: Founder, Firstep School

Leadership Style: I belong to a profession which thrives on human values and relationships and as a leader; I have always considered my team as my second family. The team members do not require anyone to lead them, but a mentor to guide them through difficult situations and pat their backs on every achievement. I have always aimed to provide space for the professional and personal growth of all my team members.

Challenges in your journey: My road to success has not been an easy one. Firstep was set up in 1983 and I have faced many challenges during the course of this journey. There were many situations, where others tried to overpower my beliefs and decisions due to my gender. But my conviction in my decisions and my honesty towards my profession gave me strength and courage to face difficulties. I also faced many regulatory hurdles during the early years of my profession. My passion for teaching and creating a school that is focused on the welfare of students gave me the strength to face all challenges. Being a single parent to my children and managing the entire school was a tough task. But thanks to my supportive family, I was able to do justice to my role as a parent and as an educationist.

Life Mantra: Keep nurturing your inner conscience and conviction. These will make you strong during defeats and humble during victories.

Your advice to other women: Be a bit more courageous and independent. You all have to make a place for yourself in society, be it as a home maker or as a fiercely independent professional. Whatever choice you make, you should be content, confident and happy. There is always something within you which is longing to be a little more than what you are right now, so never stop exploring, and never stop learning!