“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask women.”
Today is the International Women’s Day and we are celebrating women. We are celebrating womanhood. From Suffragette to the right to contest elections and represent people in the government (as was seen in Saudi Arabia not long ago) women have been fighting their entire lives and this has been a successful fight so far but there is a long way to go and we are with them.
Speaking of women who have fought their way up, we are here to talk about some of them, who chose a different enterprise, something that had not been tried and tested before and yet excelled in it. They now stand out of the crowd, making a difference with whatever they are doing.
Lisa Srao, Chairman and MD, I Brand Beverages
Born & raised in the UK, Lisa moved to India in 2003 following her marriage. Exposed to liquor brands launched by her father, Lisa had long been inspired by the alcohol beverage industry. Having studied at the prestigious Aston University in Birmingham, she spotted an opportunity in the underutilized mass market premium segment of the Indian Liquor Industry. Capitalizing on this gap in the industry, Lisa founded the company in 2008 with an aim to provide Indian consumers international quality products that are affordable.
This charismatic mother of two is the only woman to launch a spirits company in India from scratch, managing to stay afloat in the male-dominated industry that. She was honoured with the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the IndSpirit 2015 Awards as well as the Most Promising Entrepreneur by Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015, her first international award.
When not juggling between a high-powered job and her kids, she enjoys painting, listening to music and travelling. She strongly partakes in charity work supporting causes for women and education for the girl child.
Mita Kapur, CEO, Siyahi
In the fabled town of Jaipur, nestled in the rich culture and traditions of Rajasthan, Mita Kapur has set a benchmark in varied forms of contemporary as well as cultural literature, by founding India’s leading literary consultancy, Siyahi. Current CEO of Siyahi, Mita Kapur has written The F-Word, which was published by HarperCollins Publishers India in 2010. A quirky yet intriguing tale of the constant struggle between taste and health, Mita Kapur struck a chord with mothers of all ages, trying to find a balance between work and satisfying the different taste buds of their family members while being healthy and nutritious. Pursuing her memoir of food and its special connection to people, she has edited Chilies and Porridge: Writing Food, an anthology of essays. Her domain in the writing field also extends to freelance journalism as she regularly writes for various newspapers and magazines, expressing her thoughts on social and developmental issues, travel and food along with writing lifestyle humor stories.
Mita used to help her writer friends, appraising their manuscripts and giving them candid feedback. It was a chance meeting over lunch with a senior editor at Little Brown that sparked the idea of starting a literary agency in her head. When she discussed the idea with Namita Gokhale, Namita said, “Go right ahead and do it.” Namita’s other piece of advice was to combine literary events with the agency because that was Mita’s strength. Being based in Jaipur, Mita was not in the thick of the Indian literary scene centred in Delhi, but her dedication led to the start of Siyahi in April 2007.
Uttara Parikh, CEO, Artizen
Uttara is one of the co-founders and heads up Artizen, before which she was heading the Footwear business at Flipkart. Till December 2014, she spent four years running a fashion e-commerce start-up in London, called Wish Want Wear, which she exited from. Before starting her last venture, Uttara was an M&A banker – first with Morgan Stanley, London and then with Dresden Kleinwort, London.
The sheer scale of growth in m-commerce and the start-up momentum in India, is what convinced her to move to India. She holds a B. Sc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the London Business School.
A Gujarati, she lived in Ahmedabad till the age of 15. She went to Aiglon College(an international boarding school) in Switzerland to pursue A-level qualifications which allowed her to study in the UK as an undergraduate. Married in April 2015, she is enjoying life with her equestrian consultant husband. Bangalore is an adventure which she has so far loved. An animal lover who lives for new adventures and experiences, she is also a Kathak dancer. Uttara has been dancing for the last 15 years and also has a few amateur stage shows under her belt.
Anuja Kapoor, Criminal Psychologist and Sociologist
Anuja Kapur is a Delhi University Graduate with a degree in psychology after which she joined Delhi Public School as a student counselor. Later on she got into the Criminal Psychology and did her Masters in same stream. The zeal to learn more led her into another course in Forensic Science from Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, University of Delhi.
Almost all leading News Channels like Ibn7, Aaj Tak, NDTV, India News, News X, News Nation, Zee News etc invite her for her valuable inputs on various issues whether it is women empowerment, rape or any kind of violence in the society irrespective of gender or age.
After having decades of experience in psychology Mrs Anuja Kapur decided to raise her voice for victims of rape, eve-teasing, violence and acid attacks, so for that she got an International Diploma in Victimology from, The Tokiawa International Victimlogy Institute, Japan.
She is also the founder of an NGO named as “NIRBHIYA EK SHAKTI” which is the centre for “Victim Assistance”. It provides assistance to all the victims in form of Counselling, Legal Aid, Vocational Courses, and Rehabilitation irrespective of age, caste. “NIRBHIYA EK SHAKTI” aims to work for all the victims and help them to live back their normal lives.
Mrs. Anuja Kapur was honoured with Indian Icon Awards by Time India News in Mumbai for her outstanding contribution towards society.
Shilpi Kapoor, Managing Director, Barrier Break
Ashoka Fellow Shilpi Kapoor, Managing Director of Barrier Break, started her journey way back in 1995, teaching computers to visually impaired students at her residence. Since then, she has not looked back and has made remarkable contributions to the community of persons with disabilities in India.
Her vision, in her own words, has been to ‘break the barriers of disabilities using technology’. With an industry experience of 18 years in the field of accessibility, she has been instrumental in bringing about revolutionary changes in the lives of people with disabilities through her innovative ideas and initiatives. She has contributed to various accessibility policies as an expert such as National Policy for Universal Electronic Accessibility, India and the Model Policy for Inclusive in Education for Persons with Disabilities at UNESCO.
At BarrierBreak, she has built an eco-system that enables differently-abled people to fulfill their rights and is empowering the Disabled People Organization by conducting information and communication technologies related training on policy and implementation along with their partner G3ICT (the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies).
Her work fetched her the Shell Helen Keller 2008 award on the eve of World Disability Day. She is the chair of The World Wide Web Consortium which promotes web and mobile accessibility in India.
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