Art & Culture

Women's Day Special: Celebrating women achievers

They’ve given up their high -flying and well paying, jobs to pursue their passion and give back something to the society. We talk to four such women who share their story of success, stability and courage.

Celebrating Womanhood: Rachna Aggarawal CEO, Indus league Celebrating Womanhood: Rachna Aggarawal CEO, Indus league

International Women's day as we all know
is a major day to celebrate womanhood from all walks of life. Women today have created their niche in every aspect of professional domain be it economic, political or social achievements. So let's come together and celebrate and appreciate the way women strive to endeavor ‘success’. We bring to you four women achievers who’ve climbed the professional ladder on their own might.

Rachna Aggarawal
CEO, Indus league

“At every stage in your work and family life, there will be choices to be made – there is no right and wrong.  You would need to choose what you believe is right for you,” says Rachna Aggarwal, CEO of Indus league Clothing limited which has brands like Scullers, Indigo Nation, Jealous 21, Urban yoga and Urbana under their Indian umbrella. Rachna graduated from IIM Ahmedabad, and took up a job with Madura Garments, and from then on she has have never looked back and have enjoyed all the years that she has spent working in the Fashion and Retail Industry.

Rachna a mother of two says that it’s quite a challenge to balance both work and home, “It’s a constant juggler. I ensure that when you are at work I give my hundred percent and I do the same when I am at home spending time with my family.  It does require a lot of planning and time management but then it’s all worth it at the end of the day,” she says who celebrates her birthday today.

Her basic principle in life is to live each day as it comes, “And you will surely answers to all your problems.” She thinks that there aren’t too many shortcuts to success.  “One needs to put in a lot of hard work, dedication, to consistently deliver results and it’s a constant learning process. And luck also plays its part in getting you where you want to see yourself,” she says.  Today she continues to shape Indus League into a strong profitable player in the apparel retailing industry. At her level today, she continues to assist a wide variety of functions that include Corporate Planning, Supply Chain Management, IT, Logistics and Brand

Niru Agarwal
Director, Greenwood High  

Totally approachable and down to earth, with forever a cheerful smile; that is Niru Agarwal, Director, Greenwood High School. Passionate about education as well as in her belief that strong values and a strong sense of culture are the foundations for a sensitive and responsible future generation, Niru was quick to seize the opportunity of espousing the same in an international school when she took over the reins of Greenwood High in December 2009. 

Under her stewardship, Greenwood High is fast evolving into a school with a character and ideals that are unique, keeping in mind sensitivity and compassion while focusing on building leaders of tomorrow. A graduate in Economics, her interest in art, music, dance and theatre dates back to her student days in Assam where she lived before moving into Bangalore in ’93. Her avid interest in these again has manifested in the focus given to the same in the school, with students actively encouraged to indulge and excel in them.  The artistic streak in her can be seen in her inclination to come to up with stunning interior designs as well as great ideas for outdoor landscaping in the school. 

Her creative spirit has again found its way in structuring extracurricular activities for students. For instance, a robotic class, something that is not very common in schools, is available for aspirants in robotics. Similarly, chess, not usually a popular game amongst students, is actively advocated in the school.  Her unique, out of the box approach to education also manifests in her stress on spirituality amongst students, where a certain amount of spiritual awareness is emphasized as part of the values inculcated in the school.  Her penchant for sharing everything that she has with others is a case in point. “Sharing is the most important characteristic that needs to be ingrained amongst children. When that is in place, most other values fall in line”, she says. 

Monica Mathias
Chief Strategist, Hoysala Projects

The crux of any business is its financial modelling. When in the construction line, you cannot live for the day, you need to plan for the coming years, else you will have nothing to work towards believes Monica Mathias, the Head of Strategy at Hoysala Projects.  Monica belongs to the elite breed of women who have broken away from the conventional in terms of career choices. The brick and mortar business has rarely seen a woman at the helm of strategic affairs but Monica who is now in her early 30s, with her financial background and her amiable nature has shown that no field is beyond reach. 

Monica is a Commerce Graduate from Ethiraj College in Chennai. She followed this up with a Masters from XIMB with a specialization in Finance and Marketing. She always harbored the desire to work with large conglomerates and got her break when she trained under the GMP programme of the Aditya Birla Group for a year. Marriage brought her to Bangalore and Monica’s association with T S Sateesh of the Hoysala Group began at HSBC. Having achieved all that was possible in the banking line, Monica wanted to move on and be a part of something more creative. And hence came on board at Hoysala. Monica’s role in the company is multi-dimensional. Building strategies involves interaction with every department and at every level. Processes of today, related to future projects, manpower, financial viability, optimization of construction models have to be analyzed and shaped for the growth of the company – Monica does it all.

Her job involves evolving all these processes and introducing them seamlessly into ongoing processes. Handling the trial and error process that is a natural part of all this comes naturally to Monica.  The key to success in this field, Monica says, is your ability to exude confidence in your capabilities and be able to handle people on a peer level basis. A business grows because of its people and Monica is there to ensure that it happens.

Sheela Bolar
Founder/Principal of Innisfree House School

When you look back at the lives of visionaries of this world, you know that they have spent a life time preparing for who they are today. And in most cases, we are the lucky ones to benefit from this vision. Another aspect of a visionary is their penchant to remain low-key and such has been the nature of Sheela Bolar, the Founder/Principal of Innisfree House School, JP Nagar. 

Bolar cleared her SSLC from Nirmala Convent in Mysore at the age of 12.  Being too young to get into college, she did a spot of nursing and compounding for 2 years at St. Mary’s Hospital, Mysore. She then graduated from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore.  A graduate at 18 years, she worked as a librarian and helped to establish a library in Teresian College, Mysore during its first year.  She was a crackshot of the Civilian Rifle Club, Mysore and won several prizes in the State Rifle shooting competitions.

Married to Dr. Ashok Bolar, she moved to England for a good part of 20 years soon after where she taught for the 11+ entrance examination of the prestigious King Edward Schools in Britain.  The entry rate of these schools is about 1 in 100.  All the pupils taught for these entrance examinations gained admission into the King Edward schools, an achievement that has to be lauded.

Family values and ideals saw the Bolars return to India. Her desire to open an ICSE school in South Bangalore saw fruition in May 1985. The school got the Affiliation from the Council for the ISCE in New Delhi in April – 1987.  Now the school is well established upto the XII standard.  Also Bolar has several firsts to her credit. As a professional she was the first woman on the ICSE council of India (as well as in the core committee consisting of 5 members), She was also  the 1st recipient to receive ICSE awards for best institute

(With inputs from Priyanka Nahata)

Tags: international women’s day, sheela bolar, rachna aggarawal, monica mathia

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