Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I am the Founder and Chief Baker of Ovenderful, a social enterprise, healthy baking blog and a niche e-bakery, that specializes in healthy & organic bakes, as well as classic bakes (with a range of vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, lactation-friendly, diabetic-friendly, nut-free, eggless, butterless bakes). In addition to that, to be able to ensure that knowledge on healthy baking can be shared regularly and be able to use it for community impact, I also founded a closed Facebook group called Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community (13,000 members currently). This was specially recognized by Facebook and their Global COO, Sheryl Sandberg for the work it does.
I am an Alumni Mentee of The Cherie Blair Foundation’s Women in Business program for one year, for the period of May 2015-2016.
Currently my focus it to ensure that Ovenderful remains a strong brand. I am the Bangalore Coordinator for The Bake Collective, which is an initiative that plans and organizes bake sales to raise funds for social causes and has done so for Milaap, Goonj, The Voice of Stray Dogs and so on in the past.
Prior to turning Ovenderful into a commercial venture (in November 2013) , Simran has worked for over 11 years with large global organizations in Human Resources Advisory services in Asia Pacific roles as well as in Research & Knowledge Development such as Hewitt Associates, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hay Group.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
Through both – Ovenderful and Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community, there is a whole lot of initiatives that happen through the year. When I started my baking in 2010/2011 it was by conducting volunteer classes at an NGO Search Years, in Gurgaon, to create a line of vocational training, for 12 girls from rural areas in Haryana.
Alongside that I slowly became part of all fundraisers that focus on generating money for abandoned and injured animals in Delhi and Bangalore- as of now I have baked for Indigree Angels Trust, Help & Heal Animal Trust, Voice of Stray Dogs, CARE Animal Shelter and Precious Paws Foundation.
Extending the desire to use baking as a social impact tool, I involved a lot of volunteer bakers to bake for various causes – The Bake a Sunshine Cake initiative ( 2015 and 2016) is carried out across many cities in India as well as in the US where bakers carry homebaked goodies to old age homes and orphanages in the month of December.
I partnered with Kritagyata Trust to bake ( and encourage almost 20-30 more bakers to join as well ) for 2000 children for a Children’s Day distribution at government schools in rural areas of Neelmangala close to Bengaluru.
Currently, a flagship program of Ovenderful is underway – a set of volunteer bakers since July 2016 have been baking and distributing healthy bakes regularly for slum children/street children/children of migrant labour in their local areas. This is more of a consistent and regular program so that not only do we give the children the joy of the goodies but also some small form of nutrition. It is called the Ovenderful BakeStreat Program and is a PAN India initiative.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Not having enough funds/investment to scale up into a physical storefront. Also, currently working as a single person enterprise, which means I am pulled into the operations / tactical part and also trying to work on the strategic path for Ovenderful. Focusing on the smaller day-to-day details at times shift the focus from the bigger picture.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
Receiving 2 awards back to back for my community — Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community. One as the Best India Mom Group Admin by Lakme Salon and World of Moms and then the Facebook India as well as Sheryl Sandberg’s recognition. It was very rewarding to see that one’s work is valued to this extent and that it has the potential to be sustained. It felt like I have received a high degree of credibility as well as appreciation which makes all the challenges from the past seem so small !
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Focusing 100% of my time on freelance HR consulting and knowledge development work in future focused areas like Diversity & Inclusion, Talent/Leadership Development and so on since I have close to 14 years of experience ( fulltime and freelance/independent consultant) in this space.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Too many to name here – but if I had to name one person, it would be my mother. Not only has she encouraged me every step of the way to follow and grow into what I aspired to be, she has taught me what it is to fight and remain positive in the face of all kinds of adversity. She has been fighting cancer for 12 years now and each time it rears its head, no matter what she is going through, her courage and positive attitude can put many to shame !
What does the future hold for you?
I see myself at the national as well as to some extent on an international scale (if I can be slightly more ambitious !). And I don’t mean from a selling/revenue point of view. But from an expertise perspective – as an expert in Healthy Baking, as well as as a baker who is able to use it to make a very large community impact. That is what I am aiming for currently. Yes, if things work well, I might also look to open a cafe with artisanal healthy baked goods.