I was born in Kolkata in 1969 and raised in Delhi. I graduated in Economics from St Stephen’s College, Delhi and the Delhi School of Economics. My father had a brilliant career in government and is a management expert of great repute. My mother was a successful executive and also had a short business stint. My brother is a senior It manager, currently based in the US.
Tell us about C- Quel
C-Quel was co-founded by my husband, Sushobhan and myself in March 2001. We are both ex-bankers. This was the time when the outsourcing wave had crept into India and there were requests from some of our banking clients to offer relevant management services.
After a 14 year corporate journey, C-Quel is considered to be India’s leading company offering employee benefits management, statutory compliance and compliance audits, retiral services, training and payroll/ tax management. We count Fortune 500 companies, multinationals and leading PSUs among our clients. We have a footprint in over 20 cities in India and are also present in Bangladesh. One of our clients famously said of C-Quel: “There is no equal, to C-Quel”.
As Managing Director of the company, Sushobhan has played a great role, through his personal example, in inculcating the values of loyalty to clients, humility, hard work and passion in team members.
Why did you set up the company?
My maternal grandfather, Benoy Bhushan Ghosh, was a pioneering Bengali businessman, who made it big, despite fleeing from Bangladesh after the 1947 Partition. His was a rags to riches story. He was also a brilliant engineer, a philanthropist and a highly respected person in society. He had an amazing personality, with the toughness required to executive business plans and a deeply spiritual nature that kept him humble, loving and serviceful. He was a major influence. I dreamt fervently, from a young age that I would be a businesswoman in his mould and character.
My astrologer, Dr AK Majhi, was another major influence. When I was hesitating to take the plunge and leave a secure job, he was so insistent and made such encouraging predictions, that I had to dive into unknown, unchartered territory.
Last but not least, I never went to B-School, but my husband, with his keen intelligence, fortitude and amazing intuition has been a major teacher in my life. From a young age, he too had dreamt of being in business and would constantly urge me to think big and work towards it.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
To prove to the universe that, “C-Quel has fire in its belly.” Any new entrepreneur will face severe challenges in the initial stages, as if the very universe wishes to test her tenacity. At C-Quel, we have faced two major fires and a serious fraud by an employee early on in our innings. Spiritual training provided succour and hope in those difficult times. There was an inner voice that urged: this too will pass and nagged us to carry on. Luckily, clients stood by us and a benevolent universe ensured that we did not lose business.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Team building. C-Quel had limited financial resources but great passion and a commitment to serve. Youngsters from ordinary backgrounds were trained by C-Quel to deliver to the who’s who of corporate India. They imbibed C-Quel’s drive and passion and produced great results. The greatest thankfulness from C-Quel’s business is being instrumental in skill development and adding to the financial prosperity and well being of others.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
The inspiration to enjoy the drama of being in business as a detached witness comes from my spiritual guide, Paramahansa Yogananda. I consider him C-Quel’s guardian angel. One of his most powerful teachings was: learn to behave. In business, we find daily opportunities to put this philosophy to the test – in the way we treat colleagues, clients, laws and the environment. By working with soul awareness, we seek to avoid becoming automatons and/ or grasping materialists. We try to live and work in harmony with the universal presence that guides and supports our existence.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
Here, I got lucky. Without my mother managing both my household and my two children, C-Quel would have been impossible. So, the universe supported my aspiration to be in business, by sending me my mother. She is an angel in human form.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Don’t make money your primary goal – you’ll be surprised by the power of positive thinking. Start business with a clear set of values and never, ever compromise on values. Don’t be overly reliant on external support. Great inspiration and unexpected support comes from the universe, when we connect with our spiritual self and seek support from within. The energy in one human cell can apparently light up the entire city of Chicago for three whole days! Don’t forget to tap this amazing source within.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
Friends in business, lawyers and retired management consultants provided invaluable guidance. Online and short term executive courses in finance and law proved very helpful and necessary for business improvement. Participation in the activities of the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Social Security Association of India also improved our corporate exposure.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
A continued sense of service. The inspiration to add value to others in the form of colleagues, clients and society at large is a major propellant for C-Quel.
What does the future hold for you?
Love, serve and leave the rest to God – this is what my Guru taught me. I am excited to continue the journey with His ever-loving, ever-present, ever-tender and ever-wise support.
About Nandini Sarkar
Nandini is a keen witness of the human drama, slowly learning to participate in the game of life as a detached witness. She is a student of life and keen to learn how to behave. She is an unabashed lover of the spiritual Masters and her silent inner self – her eternal companion through lifetimes.