One thing I have learnt in life is that thinking about what you want doesn’t make it happen…….however, asking Vanessa Vallely does!
If you’d have asked me if it was possible to fly to India, relax on a sun lounger, talk about the Power of Profile to the management team at the JW Marriott, run an event for 100 women of WATC India, experience a full on M&S Fashion show, present to the women of EY about releasing their potential, have lunch at the Palladium, have a drink in the Four Seasons, soak up India’s skyline at Aer Bar, eat a lot of homemade curry, shop in duty free and fly back to London…..I would have said you were mad. But it turns out when you want to make it happen, this is all possible in just under 3 days!
First stop was the beautiful JW Marriott Hotel where we were staying. I was taken back by its beauty and very welcoming staff. With a few hours to soak up the sun and recover from the flight, it was time for bed to set us up for the big day ahead.
Next thing I knew it was 10.00am and Vanessa was talking about the Power of Profile in a beautiful training suite to the management team of the JW Marriott. It was fantastic to see such an engaged audience who got stuck right into the networking activities.
You can do anything you put your mind to. Empowered women are a force to be reckoned with.
Next it was time to meet the WATC India Committee and what a wonderful bunch they are. It would be easy, given all we read in the media and due to particular perceptions, to believe all women are second rate citizens in India. Well not these women (and not to forget their one awesome man)! The Committee is nothing short of fabulous and it was great to spend time with them. It is no wonder they managed to organise the absolute treat that laid in store. It was time to celebrate International Women’s day WATC India style!
We welcomed over 100 guests into the JW Marriott Mumbai and it was an absolute pleasure getting to chat to such a dynamic and energised group of women.
We had the honour of listening to our keynote, Apurva Purohit, share her wisdom and inspirational stories with a wonderful touch of humour which raised smiles on everyone’s faces. In addition to Apurva, we held a panel discussion with the incredible Shalini Naagar (M&S), Marita Maier (EY), Khushnooma Kapadia (Marriott Hotels), Roohi Biswas (Jean-Claude Biguine) and Dr Sahar Bhaloo (Clinical Psychologist). It was a lively and truly inspiring discussion where I learnt women face similar challenges all over the world.
Now for the icing on the cake. We were led up to the stunning roof terrace where you would be forgiven for thinking you had walked into an A List party and fashion show. M&S had set up a full run way, with lights, photographers and beautiful models; all with the backdrop of Mumbai’s skyline. It was breath-taking. We watched these beautiful models take to the runway in a collection of smart and sexy outfits, in shoes so high they made me nervous!
All that was left to do was to enjoy the company of the WATC India members over a glass of wine and celebrate the day’s huge success. The whole day had been spectacular and is testament to what passion and commitment can make happen.
To finish off our whistle stop tour, the next (and final) day we were off to EY for Vanessa’s interactive ‘Releasing Your Potential’ session with their senior women. And how uplifting it was to be in a room of women brave enough to share their achievements and dreams with one another.
The whole day had been spectacular and is testament to what passion and commitment can make happen.
Finally, in Vanessa’s determination for me to see as much of Mumbai as possible, we whizzed (and by whizzed I mean slowly crawled round in the insane Indian traffic) to the rather swanky Palladium and Four Seasons Hotel to soak up the incredible views. It was safe to say I did not want to leave.
What did I learn in my crazy 3 days in Mumbai? You can do anything you put your mind to. Empowered women are a force to be reckoned with. International travel is not always as glamorous as you think. Wealth and poverty can live right next door to one another and can be shocking to see first-hand. India is beautiful. Vanessa is an incredible woman and role model.
This I know will be the first of many trips to India. Thank you to everyone who made my visit unforgettable and congratulations to WATC India for making it happen.