The story of four women entrepreneurs who made their mark in the society is the tribute all those women out their on this International Women’s Day, who have worked their way out to carve their identity in the man dominated world at the same time they never compromised on their family lives. Although the article is about four women selected by the Incredible Goa team, but these stories are intended to be related to all those women out there who are working towards self empowerment but never got the due recognition or the platform to showcase their talent on the media platform. But that does not mean those ladies are less talented or less capable. For us every women is hero and has a great potential to achieve the success in their field of work and the story of these four women can be considered as the model for the others.
The International Women’s day comes every year and we celebrate it by felicitating the women achievers, we appreciate their work efforts and dedication but the next day everything comes back to the square. The real empowerment of the women is very distant story in our country. Compared to the other states in India Goa remains one of the most liberal as far as the empowerment of the women is concerned but yet in the man dominated world women always gets the back seat.
Empowering women by recognising their work and contribution to the society is one of the motto of Incredible Goa and we have created a special section of women empowerment in our magazine. This article is the story of four women from diverse field of work who have created their niche in the Goan society and working independently in the man dominated world by creating their own mark. So lets begin with our first hero of this story.
Rina Barretto Shankar
Rina, a Marketing Strategist and comminution coach with more than 20 years of experience in the brand building, marketing and communication. Rina is a founder of a Cheree Tree Concepts which she started in year 2018 as a Design & Content firm that helps businesses to powerfully communicate their products & services to target markets.
Rina posses a Master’s degree in the Economics and has a work experience with some of the top advertising agencies from Mumbai worked with the brands like Unilever, Godrej, Tata Indicom, Airtel, Samsung, HDFC Bank among others.
Besides working with the top brands in the country Rina also worked with an NGO in Mumbai, helping young children. Today, in addition to her branding and communication business, she also conducts sessions on Empowering Communication for students & adults, helping them overcome self-limiting beliefs, and teaching them communication techniques for personal & professional development. She believes that the quality of our connections with people depends on the quality of our communication.
According to Rina, she has helped communicate product differentiators for newly launched as well as 20-year old businesses – from an Ayurvedic wellness centre to women’s hygiene products to career consultants to home interiors, she has successfully executed marketing strategies for each. “We may have a perfect product or service to offer to the market, but it needs to be communicated consistently to the right target audience,” she says.
Rina has also been working in the field of empowering the women and she is a mentor on the “JobsForHer”, a Bangalore-based online platform which helps women up-skill & restart their careers. She is also a mentor on Sanjeevani – Life Beyond Cancer, an NGO that provides cancer patients with holistic and comprehensive cancer care. She works extensively with women entrepreneurs and mentors & trains them on business- growth areas.
Her view on entrepreneurship – there will be highs and lows. Learn techniques to keep a healthy mindset during the lows and use the time to learn & plan. During the high points, take advantage of the good-will you generate with your work, and reach out to people who can help you grow & also reach out to someone you can inspire & help on their own professional journeys.
Rina strongly believes in the personal branding – women, she feels, shy away from promoting themselves. “People will always have an opinion about you – you need to decide when to whisper and when to shout,” says Rina.
Rina, believes in stepping outside the comfort zone – and so, has been a News Anchor, acted in a couple of movies, moderated panel discussions and conducted interviews at the international film festival, and embarked every new opportunity.
Rina says that this year’s International Women’s Day theme is ChooseToChallenge. “Young women should learn to challenge the things they are uncomfortable about. Society made rules for us many years ago – some may not have been in our best interest. Growth happens when you challenge yourself to do something unknown. Analyse what you will gain if you push the boundaries and then do the uncomfortable, the unknown, even the impossible. Enough of women in history have proven that. And whenever an opportunity presents itself – no matter how strange it seems – say YES! Most of all, always seek happiness and self-fulfilment – friends, hobbies and nature are the best tools to have through life.”
Dr Sandhya Kini Mayenkar
Dr. Sandhya Kini Mayenkar is an epitome and a true example of Women Empowerment in Goa. She is the founder of SKM Asha Foundation, SKM Institute of Culinary arts, SKM Enterprises and Kini SuperMarket. Besides this she is also the Goa State President of Women Power Society and State President for Rashtriya Yuva Sangh.
Sandhya holds the position of Zonal Head of Aesthetic International Council for Progressive Women, and a State woman President of Human Rights International Council. Sandhya is an active member for Mahila Prashikshan Sansthan organising organise various workshops on women oriented issues across the state and she is an active member on Red Cross Society Covid19. Being on the frontline of offering help towards the society and especially the needy.
Sandhya has trained more than 10 thousand women across Goa in the Culinary Art and guided them into business and self sustainment by carving their way towards economic independence. Sandhya has also been recognised by various platforms in and outside the country. She received the award of Women Entrepreneur of the Year from various national and international events and besides that she has recently conferred with the title of The Honorary Doctorate for Excellence in Culinary education and Women Empowerment at All India Achievers Conference, in New Delhi and not to forget to mention that in the year 2019, Sandhya was honoured with the Incredible Goa Awards” as women achiever for Excellence In Culinary Arts.
Sandhya, who is also a paint by passion and she displayed her art across the state and at various National and International Events in India and also internationally at Dubai World Art, Bangladesh, Nepal and SriLanka to mention a few. Spreading her wings from a small town in Goa to Delhi & Internationally, Sandhya stands apart from the rest to represent this new era of a very Strong Woman with a Multi faced Personality. Sandhya is very humble and helpful nature towards creating a uproar of Women Empowerment in Goa.
Sandhya, has been traveling in and around Goa training Ladies housewives and rural women in self help groups into skills that they can take up various orders from home for food and bakery items as well as make and sell homemade stuff and she has also been an active free lancing teacher to visit schools and train children into such similar workshops. She has also been training ladies with different courses, from cooking n baking to making natural and organic cosmetics and handmade soaps and other beauty products, candle making, agarbattis etc.
It makes her happy to see that many women and homemakers have started their own business after getting trained in her school. She also provides guidance to small startups through her contacts to obtain various licenses and loans as well. What started as a passion for cooking and Art also went on to becomes her profession. All her students express appreciation, trust and love for her teaching. The SKM is now become a family of 10000 plus students. Many of her students have started commercial ventures from their homes.
The second major achievement in Life Two years ago came when she stepped out into Business. A long pending dream of her father who is a successful businessman himself. With her father’s total support and guidance she ventured into Supermarket business and opened up a 2500 sqmtrs superstore. Since then there has been no stop. Each day is a learning experience by itself. From being a fresher into this line to climbing up the success ladder to becoming one of the highest rated supermarket in Panjim She has not only managed to create a niche in the hearts of the customers within these two years, as well as creating employment opportunities to local youngsters in these areas.
Fauzia Khan Farooqui
Fauzia, an entrepreneur and corporate consultant is a qualified Pharmacist and a Project Consultant for European Pharma Company, she is also a regional director for BNI “I have always been ambitious, and with multiple big dreams,” says Fauzia adding that you don’t have to be on one solitary journey; you are free to deviate and evolve and create your trajectory. “There’s too much pressure on us to function, and we tend to make boxes and glass ceilings for ourselves. It is imperative we have to start breaking down those doors.”
According to Fauzia, she feels incredibly privileged to be raised by very progressive parents who always encouraged her to have an opinion. “I was never shamed for my ideas; I was inspired to have my path and a sense of evolution that gave me a sense of self. My husband has been very supportive, and just like my Dad, a true cheerleader.”
Trained in her thoughts to fearlessly pursue her quests and never garnered any mental roadblocks. “I was encouraged to pursue excellence and believed that no one could decide what was best for you, apart from yourself. That’s the spirit of my success,” she adds.
According to Fauzia, Women are 50% of the world’s population, which according to her should reflect in all areas, with a fair representation. “Women in power positions bring a different perspective, an essential perspective; we need more women on the policymaking & decision-making panels.”
Fauzia believes that It’s hard for young girls to be taken seriously when they come into predominantly male professions and stand neck to neck with men. “As women, we must dream big, aspire for the best and fearlessly pursue it. Being busy, driven and ambitious is not a flaw; it’s a strength! Push the envelope, push the goal post, the world is your oyster, you can go anywhere you want,” she says.
Just like any other women, Fauzia also had to juggle between her career and family. According to her, many generations have been defined by what people think, limitations being imposed, it’s every generation’s responsibility to offer endless possibilities to the next. “Success stems from a desire to better oneself through opportunities presented as a way to grow. Age & Gender are never roadblocks, mindsets are. As a woman in the industry, I push myself to conquer my goals by changing my mindset. In between my career goals, I took a 6-year hiatus to focus on my children and help them find their true calling. During this hiatus, I was able to overcome my own hesitations and shift my mindset to achieve my most cherished successes to come.”
Priya Gupta started her journey with the family business but she always wanted to start her own venture. “Although I initially worked in the family business but I had a dream of starting my own venture,” says Priya adding that she always had the main concept in her mind. “They were all different, an unique ideas and I wanted to execute them.”
Priya completed her High School education from Welham Girls School by topping at the district level after which she went into the commerce steam and completed her BCom from Ladies Shree Ram College. “I did my Masters in finance from Delhi University and then joined the job as a fund Manager at the Unit Trust of India (UTI) in Delhi but after getting married I had to shift to Goa.”
In the year 2016, Priya started her own venture called “Easy Grill” that specialises in Barbecue Parties and Live Grills. “I realised that people love to have barbecued appetisers along with the Drinks at the parties and get togethers,” said Priya adding that she saw the potential and decide to start “Easy Grills” “I wanted to Harness this concept and that is how the Eazy Grills was born.”
Eazy Grills has been doing successfully doing the Barbecue at Luxury Villas, Yatchs and high end luxury Apartments across the state of Goa since its inception.
Priya did not stop here with one venture and soon she launched her another one called “Fun Cruises Goa. “In year 2017 I started my second venture “Fun Cruises Goa” that organises the Luxury Yatch Cruises,” said Priya adding that she wanted the the tourists coming to Goa to experience something new and to explore Goa belong beaches. “I must say that this venture became a grand success, we customise every celebration and experience on the Luxury Watch.”
Priya remains unstoppable and in soon in the year 2020 she launched her another venture “Hungryfi” a portal for home chefs under one umbrella. “The idea behind this new venture was to make home food accessible to all, this way they can order their food from multiple Home Chefs at the same time this support the local entrepreneurs,” she told the Incredible Goa. Priya’s ventures had been featured by the local as well the international media.
“My message to young women is to come out of their comfort zone and work towards achieving their dreams. “Your comfort zone is your biggest enemy. Many people will say that a woman needs to concentrate more on the home front though I think differently. Women are the best multitaskers and can accomplish the impossible because of this quality. Nevertheless women can never achieve anything without the support of their family. I myself am thankful for the support that my family has given me and this has helped me to reach where I am today.”