A lot of buzz about women empowerment has been trending for decades now.
A country cannot have a progress without enhancing the status and the position of its women. True.
A holistic development requires having equal opportunities, affirmative action and inclusivity vested and balanced in its core. On one hand, where the importance on the growth of our country’s women literacy rate is being rendered, on the other hand, we have Sairee’s SHEROES, which offers a platform for the women who have a potential to make a stand of their own, maximize it, and lead.
The uniqueness of this platform lies in the fact that it also helps those literate women, who have taken a break from their work, to take care of the family and domestic happiness.
SHEROES lets you believe that every woman (She) is a Hero. Here is an inspiring story of this warm and widely popular start-up owner, Sairee Chahal, Founder CEO, SHEROES.
Tell us about yourself.
I belong to a typical middle-class family from a small town where studies and career are positioned as utmost important elements of life.
I was born in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana, but grew up in Uttar Pradesh with my only sibling, a younger sister. I am married. We have a young daughter whose life keeps us all busy and entertained.
From a career in advertisement & marketing to entrepreneurship, how was your journey?
I have had opportunities to explore diverse things in my life; hence, I have an assorted range of experience.
I used to work as a journalist for Advertisement & Magazine earlier. Newslink was my first startup that I built in 1999-2000, when internet was beginning to boom in India. That was kind of my training ground.
Tell us about SHEROES; its revenue model and annual turnover, so far.
SHEROES is a consumer-based internet company which builds a community of career-oriented women and offers a potent and sustainable platform for growth. We are all about catalysing women’s potential and growth. Therefore, we bring a huge network of people from different arenas of professions to share their experiences, valuable suggestions, innovative ideas and more to provide other women a ladder to climb and chase their dreams. We ensure that there is enough leverage to be rendered to women when it comes to SHEROES. Through SHEROES, the users get to use a plethora of products like “mentorship”, “career resources”, etc. The revenues come from different companies and from the platform itself.
Though we have extended our platform to different companies to recruit women, but we are not a recruiter.
Companies use different products and offerings that they use, plus we also provide solutions for certain companies for their managed remote workforce.
Since you are in a way supportive of affirmative action, how do you comply with it while choosing the talent pool for your organization?
Yes, it’s true that I believe in inclusivity; affirmative action and equal opportunity. SHEROES has evolved from these concepts.
I’m really glad to state that majorly we have women employees with a surprising ratio of 70:30 with the male employees. We have a slightly reversed structure here. Women who are working with us are a part of our own community. A lot of homemakers, young moms, and professionals are associated with us.
What are your expansion plans for SHEROES?
SHEROES is building communities and bringing talents together. It has become one of the largest women’s communities in the world with a small footprint across the globe as of now, but primarily focused on India where a larger base exists.
This is one of the reasons why we are investing a lot in the platform to make it more user-friendly & resourceful, in addition to promotions and advertisement it requires. Soon, you will see a global version of SHEROES.
You have been in the Leadership Fellowship Programme with Aspen. Summarize your learning experience there.
Aspen has polished my skills, thinking and analytical abilities, and so on, to carve a better individual & a professional out of me. All I have learnt from it is Challenge Yourself and Find New Frontiers.
#Mumswithoutbabysitters.. This is my story, your article, tells how you have been tiptoeing to keep your personal &d professional duties aligned, especially, when the babysitter was absent. But this is not allowed & appreciated everywhere. For example, breastfeeding a child in the pubic has become a social censure, across the globe. Working moms are criticized if they feed their baby when it feels hungry outside home. How women should cope up in such a scenario, keeping both motherly duties and profession in place?
I believe that there is never going to be a perfect set ready for you to align your priorities. For women, the fact is that the best support you can get is from the other women. Take my case for an instance. I wouldn’t be here, had my baby sitter, caretaker, younger sister, and my mom wouldn’t have been supportive. Women interact more in communities and do well when they work in communities.
So, help yourself and other women.
Apart from this, I think there should be a common consciousness floating in and around the society regarding the stance of women and her abilities. The biological needs of women can’t be underestimated so a certain privilege should be given to this multi-tasking gender.
However, it is also a fact that we are progressing gradually.
At the beginning of this last century, women were not even allowed to get out of their domestic life and work.
But look at the things now. Time is changing. We are evolving (sixteen years in twenty first century), slowly though, but not stopping anywhere. And, as the old proverb goes, slow & steady wins the race.
When it comes to feeding an infant, people should understand that it’s a primal need. And, each one of us is required to keep this in view when it comes to making policies, rules, provisions, and perceptions, instead of creating chaos. Our institutions need to be designed to include inclusivity in their structure, vision, etc.
What keeps you going?
My passion keeps me going. This is all I want to do and I’m glad that I am doing it.
All work, no play is definitely not Sairee’s way. So, how do you spend your leisure time?
I spend time doing yoga, taking a walk, spending time with my pet dog, chit-chatting with my daughter, and so on, all in a stride to strike a balance in both professional and personal life and recharge myself.
You strongly believe in:
I think every person should build their own version of success and follow their heart. Don’t worry too much since you have got just one life.
The fact that climate change has taken a toll, causing havoc in the world, and that you are staying in Delhi, falling prey to air pollution crisis, what are those 3 quick things that you want your readers to do as their bit of sustainability?
· Plant saplings as many as possible
· I want people to be a little more conscious about their extravagance to reduce wastage. We tend to be a bit of extravagant when it comes to celebrations, maintaining status, etc. We need to take a look at it.
· We should also stay connected to nature as human beings and nature will take care of us
Your ideal persons:
Anita Roddick, the Founder of BodyShop; Dame Shirley, Singer; and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the Founder of Paytm
Your resolution for 2017:
To be more watchful about my fitness. Practice more yoga and walking, but I also want to work harder.
3 wishes a Genie, what would they be?
I would ask for:
· More nature and greenery
· More serendipity
· More connections, to make a larger network for SHEROES
Your message to the startups:
Start-ups need to find their purpose, and give it a shot without refraining themselves because of the fear of failing.
A few words for the North East Women.
I’m very inspired by the women in the North East. They are well read, smart and strong. I want to see more women from the North East following their passion, and coming up with their own start-ups and making a firm imprint as an entrepreneur at the present time and ahead in the future. I want to get an opportunity to serve the platform of SHEROES to as many women as possible in the North East.
We are online, and have a career helpline to guide them. We are accessible, and they can reach us, on our app SHEROES and also talk to the counselors and mentors on our helpline whenever they want to. All the best and make the most out of 2017. Happy New Year!