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Female Entrepreneur: Tejal Gandhi – CEO and Founder of Money Matters India

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Tejal GandhiTell us about yourself and your background

Overall, I have worked in the Banking, Finance and Insurance industry (commonly known as BFSI) for the last 24 years. I started out my career in 1989 with Standard Chartered Bank as an Officer Trainee and was with the bank for over 13 years, my core areas being Branch Banking, Retail Operations and Communications.

As part of that I was also the key resource person for the bank’s largest project (2 member team) which was moving to a common platform in Hong Kong – India being the hub – as well as being a part of a six member team handling a large project (Y2K, 1999-2000).

Then after 13+ years, my entrepreneurial streak took over and I set out to start my organisation – Money Matters.

Tell us about the company you have set up

My organisation was started in 2002 with the aim of providing investor education, mainly in the banking domain to girls and women in Mumbai. Since it involved money and solutions related to money, after a great session of brainstorming with a colleague I decided to call it Money Matters (Customising Financial Solutions).

When I started the company, my key offerings were teaching and making audiences aware of the importance of basic banking. I was involved as a Consultant with various projects related to Banking as well as developing a basic module on Basics of Banking and Regulations. Till date, that remains my flagship program which I offer as per the requirement of the company or NGO.

As they say, being ordinary consistently makes you extraordinary. Small steps make a big leap of a difference.

What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?

Being driven by the zest to achieve, if not greatness, but at least basic self sufficiency and independence. I had in my first year completed two successful programs on the Bombay Management Association (BMA) platform and trained two batches.

The satisfaction after this initial small success was a great motivation to move up the ladder. To be in the depth of the market, I realised I had to be a practitioner to really understand the market dynamics,  hence empanelled myself to become a sub-broker (after reading about it in the papers) with IL&FS Investsmart.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

My company being a proprietary concern, the biggest challenge I face on an ongoing basis is the competition against bigger organisations and banks which have a larger presence and reach in many ways. But in spite of all the technology and service standards claimed by the big sharks (that’s what I call them!), my company has managed to carve a name and niche in the industry which I am very proud of.

Balancing work and home life is every woman’s challenge in today’s world with time being a scarce resource.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I have made small strides in my own way of reaching out to working young women via various workshops and awareness programs conducted at various stages.

Two years after a certain program I had conducted, I had a former participant who came up to me and told me that she still follows the basics that I had taught, and will continue to do so. For me, just to know that I had impacted and made a difference in one person’s life is in itself an achievement. Similarly, I have had clients express their gratitude and appreciation after courses and programs and how they would take back everything they learnt to incorporate it in the way they manage their money.

All this is an achievement I think….there cannot be one big thing but small milestones on the way.

As they say, being ordinary consistently makes you extraordinary. Small steps make a big leap of a difference.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I derive my inspiration from all who know more than me and I think that includes everyone. I learn even from my cleaner who manages her work life balance better than me and from the best  CEOs who run global organisations. There is so much to learn from everybody we are in contact with.

And of course, my parents and God who have given me the values and the drive I have.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

Balancing work and home life is every woman’s challenge in today’s world with time being a scarce resource.  I direct my additional time and energy in constructive means such as; I have been an active Rotarian for the last 24 years (almost the same as the number of years I have been working), which involves me in various Community projects and I especially like to be associated with Youth programs. I love to teach so am a Visiting Faculty at various leading Business Schools.

What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
  • Have a dream and don’t stop dreaming
  • Be determined and have a blueprint
  • Don’t give up in the face of failures

 

Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?

Yes, the Rotary has been a great platform for me to learn along with my stint at Standard Chartered Bank. Also, I have been part of the Bombay Management Association – Women in management committee where we did great work.

If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?

To propel my business one thing would be to have an interface with working women on a regular basis and make them aware of the importance of financial planning and how little changes have a big impact on their cash flow and investments.

Don’t give up in the face of failures

What does the future hold for you?

The future is great for a Financial Planner like me since with great complexity in this space, there are only a handful of good female financial planners in the whole of India. So the sky’s the limit. Hence we have an edge over the others and we can make a key difference to younger women in helping them plan their financial future.

The best way to describe my journey would be – “We wanted to run our own business, and be in control of our own destiny. We had no idea where it would lead us, but wherever it was, we knew it had to be better than feeling bored and unfulfilled. We were ready for an adventure.”  — Tony Hsieh

About Tejal Gandhi

Tejal has been in the Banking and Financial Services industry for almost 25 years. She worked with Standard Chartered Bank for over 13 years in Branch Banking, Retail Banking Operations and Communications.

In 2002, Tejal started her own firm – Money Matters – which specialises in Financial Advisory Solutions and Learning and Development.

Tejal  works with HNIs on Wealth Preservation and Creation. She has won many awards and is invited to talk at various Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Associations, NGOs and Colleges.

Money Matters

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