- You are a very ambitious woman? What impact did the onset of motherhood have on you?
I would say " I am motivated" rather ambitious. I am motivated to bring meaning and change in my life as well as others lives. In this regard, I have always been lucky to have the support of my family, my parents, my siblings, friends and last but not the least my husband who stood by me like a pillar of strength. When I realized, I am pregnant I became motivated to adapt my lifestyle to the changing circumstances. I was working with Merrill Lynch at that point of time and used to travel very extensively. I made sure my contribution at workplace or performance did not go down and would work a lot from home. I had my boss support in this as he saw I was determined to manage my work well as well as take care of my small baby. During my maternity leave, there was a joke in my team : "Sarika has two laptops – one baby and the other her Macbook". I used to work a lot from home when I was not travelling which gave me flexibility to work odd hours like late nights and early mornings when my baby was asleep. Even now as an entrepreneur, I make sure that I work 10-12 hours a day and yet give quality time to my kid and family. I think motherhood brings a change in woman's life which makes her more motivated as well as more adaptable. It depends on an individual how she perceives it.
- You are so full of energy all the time – secret behind it
If you enjoy life and have the passion to do what you are doing, then you will always be motivated. Plus the belief and conviction in yourself and what you are doing will always attract stakeholders who will support and help you in whatever you do. Plus taking care of yourself – taking time out for yourself as well as surrounding yourself with positive people around you will help. Few years ago, I made a decision that I would drop all "acquaintances and friends" who give negative energy, who are always whining and crying. It saps away your energy. Also, being structured and organised helps you to achieve a lot more in a day than you would usually expect.
- Describe Sarika in 5 words for us
Dynamic, Enthusiastic, Self motivated, Team player and Completely reliable. That’s what people say about me.
- How do you balance work & home
I think the key is in prioritising and delegation. I prioritise what is important in a day and then see what all I can delegate. In India we are lucky to have househelp and I have always treated them like a part of the family and hence they have been with me for last 10 years. I make sure that I spend good quality time with my son everyday, help him with his homework and spend weekends completely tuned off from work.I start work as early as 8 am in the morning, take a break at 5pm – 9pm to spend time with family and then before I go to sleep, I try putting in another hour or so.
- Could you pl tell us about your recent trip to the US
It was a leadership exchange program where 25 emerging women leaders were nominated from across the globe to spend one month under a Fortune 500 CEO as a mentee. It was a very empowering experience, where I got exposure to various industries, cultures as well met many inspiring leaders. This was a life changer and I decided that through our Not for profit organisation, Biz Divas Foundation, I would like to help other women to achieve their true potential.
- Could you pl tell us about the Birth & Journey of Biz divas
Biz Divas was started with a vision to help women in business whether they are professionals or entrepreneurs. It was a small attempt to bring like minded women together, learn from each other and create a supportive ecosystem to help them in their professional and personal lives. It has been an amazing journey in the last one year. We have around 500+ registered members and have three chapters in Mumbai, Delhi & Gurgaon. We have conducted more than 15 skills oriented workshops like Social media, Business Planning, networking skills, etc and have invited more than 25 + industry experts as guest speakers in the last one year. This year we launched the Delhi Chapter at American Center with US Ambassador, Nancy Powell inaugruating the chapter. We plan to start a Mentoring network in january 2013 where we would have 35 senior mentors helping 35 emerging leaders in their professional careers for 6 months. It will be kickstarted with a mentoring walk to be held on 17th November.
- Your tips for mom entrepreneurs/biz divas?
Being an entrepreneur, is very challenging as well as satisfying experience. The key again lies in discipline and actually being able to covert your "passion into profits". Most of us start with a business idea but have not thought through the business plan or the viability of the project. Also if you are working from home you need to be very disciplined and do your work and not get distracted as if you are working from an office. Maintaining fixed hours and routine while working from home helps.
- How would you describe your mentoring style?
I am practical and very hands on person. I guess the same style applies in my mentoring as well. I would describe it as "Active Listening" and "Advisory" style. I like to listen to the challenges one is facing and then we brainstorm on options in which we can remove the bottlenecks. Plus I believe in setting deadlines and have realized it propels lot of decisions in actual execution. But the ultimate choice lies in the hands of the mentee.
- People who have influenced you and shaped your life
My parents have influenced me in a big way. They have always supported in all the decisions as well as have been a pillar of strength for me.