Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I moved from India to England 35 years ago. I did not work for the first 10 years of my life as I was dedicated to raising my children. I accidently started working without a larger vision but gradually I realised I was enjoying and excited by what I was doing. I discovered the magic connection between food and women and started my entrepreneurial journey and launched my company and cook book ‘Spice Magic’.
Currently I am also the founder and chair of a number of awards which attempt to recognise influential women and leaders: Asian Women of Achievement Awards; the Women of the Future Award; and, the Global Empowerment Award.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
I am energised when I am helping people, reaching out especially to support and recognise women through my awards, and networking forums.
Despite progress, women are still unsure of many things in their life and sometimes lack the mindset to build the right attitude, have courage of conviction and be confident in the choices they make both personally and professionally.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
My biggest challenge was how to get my awards sponsored and underwritten. Secondly what is very critical for me is to involve people who reflect my values. The integrity of the brand is very important and it needs to inspire and stand for a higher purpose and larger qualities.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
My greatest achievement is to see my children growing into wonderful human beings. Personally, it is to have pushed myself to doing things that I thought I couldn’t do. I have extended myself through public speaking and connecting people to opportunities. I recently connected a young Indian girl who I met in the UK to a representative of the Aam Aadmi Party in India as she wanted to lend her support. Moments like that are very cathartic for me.
My energy comes from facing newer challenges and exploring creative ways to deal with them.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I would always be doing something that involves people, making new connections, so anything that promotes that.
I would continue to study to enrich my perspectives, be involved in philanthropy, and issues of women empowerment.
I would love to travel, see new places, meet new people, and learn new languages
What do you see as big dilemmas for women today and your key messages?
Childcare is still the biggest problem that most women face. Associated with that, comes the sense of guilt that women continue to be struggling with. With Asian women, family pressure plays a significant part.
I have noticed, people have begun defining themselves too much by the work they do and comparisons with their peers. There is a need to find a higher sense of purpose. Life is short.
Women need to figure out what they want to do, work on their self beliefs, garner support from their partners and build their self confidence.
There will always be people who will have different things from you, while a certain amount of discontentment breeds aspiration; too much of it is very dysfunctional. Thus my key question to women would be, ‘How do you define yourself?’.
My message would be, challenge yourself, believe in yourself – and remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.