Category Archives: Entrepreneur of the month

Lady who is simplifying Insurance Management with a smart solution- Val Yap

Val Yap is the founder of PolicyPal,  Singapore-based InsurTech startup accelerated by Startupbootcamp FinTech. Policy Pal is helping people manage, track, and understand their insurance policies.

PolicyPal was started out of frustration with buying and managing insurance. The pain of dealing with messy paperwork and need to track renewal dates. PolicyPal’s free insurance portfolio review is the best (and only) digital big picture tool around. It is a one-stop shop for everybody to understand, manage and buy insurance. PolicyPal uses artificial intelligence to simplify and digitize insurance for you to manage all your existing policies from different insurers so that you always have quick access to your insurance policies even if the unexpected happens. Using the app, you can pay and renew your policies with a touch of a button.

Read about Val’s entrepreneurial journey in her own words-

 

1.Please share with our reader’s little bit about yourself?
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I was previously an Assistant Vice President at OCBC Bank. Primarily focused on launching the digital initiatives and campaigns, working closely with the wealth, digital and marketing to drive innovations.

Previously served as Risk Assurance Associate at PwC London office, worked with UK Financial Institutions to develop implementation plans for the changes required for USA Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance and regulatory assessment for UK Financial Institutions.

I started PolicyPal in April 2016, have since joined Startupbootcamp Fintech and Income Future Starter.

2. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

Several years ago, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and had her insurance claim unexpectedly rejected because of several lapses my family was unaware of. Despite the medical crisis, my siblings and I had to scour through stacks of insurance documentation to check and understand the extent of my Mum’s coverage. This painful experience made me realized the importance of having a well-organised folder of my insurance policies and documents.

I thought, if this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. Why not create a digital folder for my friends to consolidate their insurance policies? Without a doubt, it was hard for me to give up a career on the leadership management track in the banking sector. However, I soon realized that my conviction to help make a difference to the lives around me was simply over empowering.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

The startup is difficult. Focus, do one business at a time and commit to it until it blooms and blossoms. As the insurance space is huge, we had many people telling us to try different managing different areas and move to banking accounts, investments, etc. Figuring out how to juggle near-term priorities with mid to long term priorities. There is no “one” thing – it could be funding, product development, partnerships, recruiting, etc.

Talent or lack there of is a huge problem. We need super smart, highly motivated team to create a great startup. Unfortunately, these are hard to come by unless you are willing to pay top market rate. There are not enough resources yet so many opportunities., we need to have laser focus and know when to say no. There are so many opportunities that it can quickly distract the progress if we try to address them all.

I also learned that we must be ready to fail as it’s another form of learning. It’s a journey, not a destination, so you better enjoy the trip!

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

It takes being mindful of priorities. You do the business to make your life better, not give your life to make the business better. The kids will only be little for a very small time, and if you miss that, you can’t make it up. Relationships matter to most of us. It’s easier to build a business, or find a new job than to find a new spouse.

One insight required is that in a startup there is always more to do. Work could be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there will still be more to do. So you stay aware of what’s most important.

5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

Find a female Mentor: Being a woman, and finding and working with female mentors have been a game changer. There are many experiences you will have as an aspiring entrepreneur that men don’t undergo, and it’s important to find and build friendships, mentorships, with the same gender who can understand 100% what you’re going through. Find female groups and initiatives that provide support to each other.

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Find out what you believe in, and learn what you don’t know. It will be somewhere awesome because of the hard work you put into your journey. Don’t just start a tech startup to start a tech startup. It’s too difficult. Rather, go deep on a mission, market that captures your curiosity, and that you can imagine working on for the next 10 years. Be extraordinarily good at it that people come to you for your expertise.

Work smarter, not harder. Your career as an entrepreneur is not about, “Just keep going.” It’s about, ”What can I do to deliver and build the thing I am passionate about bringing into this world?” You can find shortcuts that allow you to serve your market and show amazing results.

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on government aid, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. While Rowling was writing the first book she lost her mother Anne and so she introduced more about Harry’s loss in the first book. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel, so she manually typed out each version to send to publishers. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight-year-old daughter fell in love with it.

7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
PolicyPal is looking to collaborate with insurers to help them bridge their gap with the consumers. We will soon be launching a feature where you can start sharing your insurance policies with your family members so that they can have access to them during an emergency.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/Valenzia

Web app: http://policypal.co/

Women Lines wishes best of luck to Val for a successful journey with PolicyPal!

A talented music teacher inspiring young talents- Roopali Ganguly

“Some people have lives; some people have music.” -John Green, Will Grayson
And those who have music, they want to spend whole life celebrating excellence in music!

Roopali Ganguly  is a very talented music teacher  in Singapore, who falls in this category of people. Roopali  hails from a rich musical background  and she has received her initial Indian

rooplai-2classical training by her father Sri Arun Kumar Ganguly , later she joined Prayag Sangeet Samiti under Guru T.N. Sharma and learned Hindustani vocal later she learned Bhav sangeet from Guru Viswakarma of Prayag Sangeet Samiti. She has also learned Ravindra sangeet from Guru Swapan Samaddar from Bangiya Kala Kendra Kolkata. She has done her Prabhakar in classical guitar from Prayag sangeet Samiti.

Roopali  a software engineer by profession and has been working as an HR over the years but her musical passion and the quest for musical knowledge has made her dive deep into the ocean of music. She has started her own venture Musical Offerings, as a music teacher.Roopali is a student of SIFAS , learning  Hindustani vocal under the tutelage of Guru Susanta Chowdhury, she has won the best student award in Hindustani vocal in 2014. Besides, she is well versed in western piano and is a freelance piano teacher of ABRSM Singapore. As a vocalist, she has performed in India, at SIFAS and many cultural organizations here and has also performed as a pianist at Yamaha and Cristofori and  at other prestigious platforms of Singapore. Women Lines feels pleasure to share about Roopali’s musical journey in her own words-

 

1. So when did you venture into this and what motivated you

I started learning piano from Yamaha in 2010 and also joined SIFAS in 2011 as a hobby, I was able to get through most of the exams with distinctions in ABRSM and awards in SIFAS. So it gave me a spark to start my career in teaching and I started my music classes in 2012. I never thought I will grow into this as a career and will be glued to this profession. So my motivation was my musical knowledge and the quest of exploring the knowledge into its depths.roopali

 

2. Can you share with us some of the challenges faced during the initial days?

 During my initial days, it was pretty challenging to teach music as a subject from home as being the mother of two young kids was not easy but my passion towards music and my knack for teaching compelled me to focus on my work and I kept on moving.

3.So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

Well to strike a balance between my personal and professional life I just follow one quotation “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life .”

4.What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

Women who believe in themselves can bring a change to the world . Self-belief and self-confidence are the keys to the growth of women hood. I will only say that every girl who has  seen a dream from childhood  should never stop dreaming and if given a chance must pursue her dreams and desires and realize her hidden talents and potentials.

5 . Is there any person who has mentored/ supported or inspired you?

Well, the person who has always believed in me and because of whom I am a successful musician , Composer and music teacher is my Husband Mr. Hemanta Banerjee , he wanted that I should follow my dreams and pursue my passion of learning music and compelled me to learn music again after so many years. My Father is a living example for me who has inspired me from childhood to always pursue my singing and my mother from childhood was always there for me to encourage me for my singing lessons and was my first audience. In Singapore, I met my wonderful teacher Guru Susanta Chowdhury of SIFAS under whose guidance I groomed into a fine vocalist and bagged the best student award in Hindustani Vocal from SIFAS in the year 2014. I also made very good friends here who once made me believe at a point in my life that education never goes waste and it proved very true with me in all my endeavors. My piano teacher Miss. Cindy and teacher Evelyn ‘ s fine grooming helped me to master in western piano. My other close friend’s help and guidance also inspired me to make my self-belief strong.

6.What do you have in the pipeline for your ventures future development?

Musical Offerings as the name I chose itself says that we have to offer music for everyone.3 years ago, the Musical Offerings was formed and ever since then it has backed raw talent with confidence and given them a platform to showcase their talent under artist and mentor Ms. Roopali Ganguly.Every annual function of Musical Offerings witnesses heart-warming performances by  the team of passionate artists; and this year it got bigger, brighter and merrier as our theme was Diwali & Christmas delight’.

We had recently given our annual day presentation at Esplanade library open stage on 9th of November 2016 to celebrate the 3rd (year )annual day of musical offerings. The show was very well organized and all the students had given outstanding performances .

Since three years Musical Offerings students have performed and passed with excellence in ABRSM piano practical and theory exams conducted by the ABRSM Singapore board. Most of the students come out with distinctions and merits.

In future musical offerings wishes to grow and give much better services to talented aspiring students.

Women Lines wishes all the best to Roopali for her bright future!

Please do visit these links to watch fantastic performances by Musical Offerings students and Roopali –

https://youtu.be/QB3fRazwf6Q

https://youtu.be/SNw39hwZKjQ

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=BDmBFBfyE4I

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=7sbw9AYuGOg

To know more about musical offerings, please visit-

https://www.facebook.com/rupsmusic/

 

An artist breathing life into beautiful Indian folk art- Swati Palekar

Swati Palekar pulled me in towards her stall named Swayam,which was filled with beautiful bright colored amazingly creative art pieces. Swati is the owner of Swayam Folk Art Painting in Singapore. I found it truly addicting and as soon as I discovered her work I had to see all.Fun, full of life and vibrant.These are the great feelings I feel viewing her products. The energy of her work is extremely positive and her creativity is excellent. Read about her entrepreneurial journey in her own words-

1.Please share with our readers’ little bit about yourself ?    1e497c08-13e8-4281-8036-ddc3647ccc14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Singapore based, self-taught artist  who began her journey in folk art painting in 2012 after quitting a full-time career in finance and digital marketing. Art and craft has always fascinated me since childhood. I inherited this love for art from my mom who is an artist herself. Little did I know that my attempt at trying hands at Indian folk art paintings would grow into a passion leading to establishing a brand named ‘Swayam’ which is turning 4 this month. I specialise in Indian folk and tribal art paintings and use these traditional forms of art in creating trendy, contemporary & chic home décor products. Every product under Swayam’s label has been designed and hand painted with lots of love and patience in my studio in Singapore. I conduct folk art painting workshops for kids and adults and have lots more to do. I had some wonderful opportunities to  exhibit my work in some  reputed Art fairs in Singapore as well as  alongside leading lifestyle brands which  were very well received by local and expat communities. Thank you, Women Lines, for giving me such a wonderful platform to share my humble journey with Swayam folk art.

2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

I grew up in an environment where I was constantly exposed to art all around me day in and day out as my Mom was a working artist back then and a true entrepreneur at heart. unnamedWhen I look back I really admire the amount of works she had produced and the creative initiatives she had taken with all the limited resources she had. So I believe the seeds of creativity were sown during my childhood itself. Although she believed in me that I could do very well if I pursue a creative field, I chose to go with Finance, working for almost a decade in  Banking and Digital marketing sector. Till then I had no aspirations to become a working artist. But I have always been fascinated by folk art style painting. There is certain charm in folk art style painting that drew me towards it. Firstly simplicity in style yet so profound. Its a common mans art, Art every layman can relate to and appreciate and practice as well. Around 5 years back after I quit my job here in Singapore  the first thing that naturally occurred to me was to explore more of this form of art. I started researching more about the folk art forms and painting. One experiment led to another. But it was limited to just a hobby, a passion. Soon I started posting images of what I was making on the internet (just for fun). ‘Swayam ‘ was born due to the persistence of my dear friends who pushed me to take it to the next level and  pursue my passion professionally and insisted I showcase my work in one of the festive Bazaars in Singapore. Thats it, it all started then. I set up a studio on my little dining table, came up with a Brand name, Product line,  Exhibitions , Online marketing, followed by workshops followed by painting commissions and now my very own studio space. When I look back I realise that the key motivation and inspiration which drove me was discovering who I am and what I’m capable of achieving , living my passion and experiencing the joy of accomplishment on achieving those small mini milestones.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days ?

Innumerable. Some of them I face everyday in fact. I used to get overwhelmed with them initially. Believing in yourself, your art is one that was my very first challenge. There is always risk of rejection but then as an artist you cannot have success without risks. It is very important to put your work out there. I too face those artist block moments which were initially very very frustrating. But the key is persistence and faith in oneself which is very crucial to keep an artist sailing through is what I learnt. The other personal challenge was discipline. Discipline to assign dedicated time and space for doing my art. I realised once my creative juices start flowing I am totally disconnected to the present. I just want to sit and paint before that design concept vanishes, the colours and patterns I visualise disappear. But then being a full-time mom and a homemaker that is not practical every time. Striking balance between personal and professional life is another big challenge which is easier said then done especially when you are the whole and sole in both the arenas. Creating is just one part of being an artist. Getting clients for your work is also equally important, especially for the sustenance of new artists. Creating ads, clicking product pics, pricing the product, packaging and the list goes on . Its all a one woman show at Swayam. Professional help in the initial years was not really affordable for my small home based business, so I had to learn all these skills , and its been amazing. I’d like to share one very important challenge I face till today – making the clients understand the handmade process. what goes into creation of each and every product unlike the mass factory produced goods. And since not every person is aware they sadly fail to respect handmade products by way of bargaining. Asking discounts is not wrong. Its always good to ask as some artists may have kept some margin for discounts. But without understanding the process when the prices are bargained by just converting the prices in SGD to Indian rupees (solely because the product is created using Indian folk art style) was something I experienced a lot in my initial years. I have not overcome all the challenges completely, but I can handle them much better today. The joy of following your passion makes it all worth while!

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?

Frankly speaking I have not completely achieved that yet.. There are times I’m so drowned in work, trying to meet deadlines for events/commissions or workshops that I tend to overlook my personal life. Also there are times when my presence at home is the utmost priority and I have stepped back a bit from my work. A bit of discipline and time management has helped me  achieve a certain level of equilibrium. And some days I try and just let go. Swayam has taught me a lot. Its not only about painting or art. Apart from the artistic skills it teaches me very valuable life skills day in and day out. So hopefully someday I will achieve that perfect work-life balance too, and when I achieve that I will be happy to share it with you all:)

 5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own ?

I meet so many wonderful ladies in course of my events and workshops and also get to connect with lot of them online. They are all so intelligent and have  immense talent . Some of them not even aware of what they are capable of achieving. And just like many of us they get too engrossed in nurturing their family. Over a period of time sadly they have lost their sense of self. I’m no expert who can give talks about running a business successfully.  But one thing I would like to share here is that if you really have the urge to do something go ahead and take that first step and set realistic goals for yourself. Easier said than done, I know. Doubts, fears, insecurities of course they all will be there.I too have them and have not overcome them completely. But I feel its good to identify them and accept them. That way we know what areas we need to work on. And surround yourself with family and friends who will genuinely motivate you and are positive. We all have the talent and resources within us , just need that initial push to step out of our comfort zone. Its a struggle..but once you take that first step the path unfolds on its own:)

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Of course there are so many who have directly and indirectly influenced me, supported me as well as inspired me in my creative endeavours. I did not have any formal mentor though. As I said earlier the creative seeds were sown by my mom under whose guidance I was exposed to so many different art forms. I learnt folk art style painting by researching and studying work of various artists.  There are so many works done by men and women in rural and tribal areas of India, many of them whose names we don’t even know. I consider all of them as my Virtual Gurus and owe it all to them. They are my real inspirations. There is no use of sophisticated art supplies nor do they have any formal training as such but yet the artists manage to create some beautiful master pieces.Thats the beauty of folk and tribal art. Its all so inspiring. Support from family and friends definitely plays a vital role and I am fortunate to have it all. But it doesn’t stop at just getting inspired. What is important is picking up that brush and make the first stroke.

7.What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?

There are many many ideas waiting to be executed. In terms of workshops and products which will be globally appealing. I have a blog , website in the pipeline for a long time. Now that I’m sharing about this publicly this will push me to work more aggressively on it  and hopefully, you will see it up and running soon.

Women Lines wishes Swati best of luck for her beautiful future!

 

Follow Swayam Folkart Painting by Swati Palekar on-

Facebook.com/Swayam.SwatiPalekar and on Instagram @swayamfolkartpainting

Email swayamfolkartpainting@gmail.com

 

Versatile RJ donning entreprenurial cap- Mehak Ankar

Meet RJ turned entrepreneur Mehak. She left the glamorous world of radio to pursue her passion for entrepreneurship. Formally known as RJ Mehak, is now running her own events company Out of  the Box Creationz. In last 3 years, she has organized many events and now she is very excited about her upcoming event, Sunidhi Chauhan show on 30th September, 2016.

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1.Please share with our readers’ little bit about yourself ?

I came to Singapore from Mumbai, India for a year to start the Hindi radio station. I was a science student but my first job was that of a radio presenter/announcer and I went on to do my journalism later.

2. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to   take a plunge into this venture?

I was in the entertainment industry for more than 10 years.  I had been a Radio DJ most my life and had to do something to go a step further. Starting an event management firm was a natural choice. I could put all my experience, network, contacts, and skill set to use.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

Every startup has many ups and downs. We had our share. Starting with getting the right people in the small budgets you have as a small business. For me, it was a learning curve where I learnt to see the business from the other side of the coin. From selling to marketing, executing, sustaining, it’s been quite a journey. The biggest challenge was to break the image of an RJ and establishing one of a serious Business Person.

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

At home, I take as much help as I can from my lovely helper, parents, husband, parents-in-laws, friends. At work I got more hands to support. I tried becoming more focused. My priorities changed and I do have a limited social life.

5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

Plan before you start. A Good Business Plan is  essential and has absolute faith in yourself even if anyone tells you, it is not possible or you can’t do it or it’s tough. Everything falls into place if you have the right attitude and approach.

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Oh, I have many people who have mentored, supported, inspired me. Starting with my Mom, Dad, Husband, Daughter, My sisters, teachers, Ex Bosses, Partners, Associates, Colleagues. There is something to learn from every person I feel.

7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?

We have the plans to go big in the next year. Apart from bringing great entertainment events to Singapore, we plan to expand more in neighboring countries. As well as do more of Wedding Business.

Please visit https://www.facebook.com/OutOfTheBoxCreationz/?pnref=lhc to get to know more about Out of the box creationz.

Womenlines wishes best of success to Sunidhi Chauhan and appreciates her mehak2

 

 

 

 

 


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dedication and hard work in the music field. Here is a message straight from Sunidhi, which is especially for Women Lines readers sharing the motivation source behind her success .Her husky and mellow voice has got her win hearts all over the world with tracks like Kamli (Dhoom 3) , Mere Sang (New York), Bhage Re Mann (Chameli), Gun Gun Guna (Agneepath, Sheila Ki Jawani (Tees maar Khan), Desi Girl (Dostana), Hey Shona ( Tara Rum Pam ), Saaki (Musafir), Aaja Nach Le, Beedi (Omkara), Chhaliya (Tashan), Chor Bazaari (Love Aaj Kal), Yaaram ( Ek Thi Dayan), Dance Like a chhamiya.  The Indisputable Diva of Bollywood Playback, Sunidhi Chauhan returns to Singapore after a long time on 30th Sep’16 at Suntec Hall 601-604.For more details, Sponsorships, Bulk Ticket Booking & Group Discounts contact +6590028935 or email info@otbcreationz.com
You can visit https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/sunidhi0916 to buy tickets.

 

          


 

Lady known for her art of giving- Ratna Joshi

IMG-20160703-WA0018In today’s world when people are getting absorbed in achieving materialistic success,  people like Ratna Joshi can be really asset to society. She belongs to that group of people who get sheer joy in reaching out to needy people to help them.  Ratna Joshi runs an NGO BMI trust in Pune, India. It  aims to find solutions to the issues affecting the urban and rural poor, with a special focus on children and education. It is pleasure for Women Lines to share her journey in her own words-

1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself ?

I, Ratna joshi reside at Pune city in India. A Strong desire to give back to society eventually took shape in 2006 as BMI Trust. Our NGO started with adopting the village named Vihram for education in 2006 itself. With years and dedication of volunteers, staff and supporters the number has grown to 38 villages.

We started solely with the purpose of education and its requirement but then we realised that other fields needed attention as well. We started concentrating on health aspects where we started conducting free dental check ups, cataract operations, blood donation camps, distribution of vitamins to younger children. We also took up some environmental projects to create awareness among the villages.

We are extremely fortunate to have a considerate, enthusiastic and aware team of young volunteers.

2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

I took the plunge in the year 2006. I believed that apart from the upbringing that I have got and the values instilled in me by my parents, my family and society played a major role in shaping me, making me aware of many things which otherwise do not register to me. A lot of my life’s experiences have culminated from society and have taught me a lot. So it was time that I give back in whatever ways I could. It was a very strong desire that motivated me to take the plunge.

 3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

I plunged into this venture with a completely different mindset. I had visited a few schools in and around Pune and realized that there was a massive communication gap between the teachers and students due to which the children were not able to make progress. We started helping out by our dedicated volunteers to teach the children over weekends. I slowly started noticing other problems that needed attention. Problems like cataracts, dental problems, domestic violence problems, unhygienic living , tobacco chewing problems, girl child problems , education and many more. We started with programs like Swapnapurti, Doordrishti, Swapnashrishti, free medical aid and Heath and hygiene to focus on these problems.

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?

When my children had gone abroad for their higher education I had a lot of time to ponder over how I am going to accomplish my dream of giving back to society.

5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

Breathe your dreams, never let the flame of your dreams fade. Make it a mission that you have to accomplish. Gather all your inner strength to make it possible and come in LIVE.

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Mother Teresa

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples” . I strongly believe somewhere this quote has become my lifeline.

7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?

In 2016 and  2017 we are planning to open up a Mahila Prashikshan Kendra ( women training Centre) for the rural, downtrodden and less fortunate women. This will definitely equip them financially and give them a sense of power and confidence to be more open in society.

Women Lines wishes best of luck to Ratna for success in her future efforts to reach out to more  needy people to help them.

I would like to request my blog readers to visit BMI website http://www.bmitrust.org to know more about the NGO. You can make contribution to BMI efforts by donating on the website directly.

Facebook page: BMI Trust India.

Zulaikha- A beautician with a magic hand!

Zulaikha , known for her famous beauty parlour Zulustyle  in Singapore is IMG_2602quite popular for giving unique hair styles , grooming and makeup services to her clients. Zulu is amazingly hard working, creative, talented, and passionate for her work. Her 9 years journey  which started  from providing home  beauty services to her clients to settling up her own outlet in Singapore, proves the fact that if you love what you do then there is no limit for your achievements. Her business acumen, beauty skills have  given her an individual identity and she stands out in the crowd.What I love is her confidence and love for her work.Women lines is  proud to share  her journey in her own words-

1.Please share with our readers little bit about yourself ?

Hi everybody! Thanks for giving me oppurtunity to share about myself.Well I’m Zulaikha ,founder of Zulustyle Pte Ltd. People love to call me Zulu. I am born and  brought up in  Karachi, Pakistan. I have a degree in Bachelor of Arts as I was always interested in this field. I got married in Singapore in 2007 and since then I’m here.I have 2 kids and I am living  in west part of Singapore. I am running my own Hair, Beauty and Bridal business in Little India.

2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

Actually since age of 10 I was very curious and excited about making people look  beautiful around me. Slowly slowly this interest became my passion and I planned my profession around it. I’ve done many certification and  diploma courses to satisfy my inner passion. In 2005, I came to Singapore for completion of my Hair diploma from Pivot Point Singapore. After that I settled in Singapore in 2007. When I started looking around I found that there were many ladies who wanted to look beautiful but they were not getting all services under one roof. There were different services provided by different salons.I started giving them home services at economical costs and God has blessed me with such lovely clients who really  appreciated  my work and encouraged me with loads of love and  praises.When demand started to overflow I planned to have a salon in central part of Singapore where I can deliver my skills to as many as I can.Then slowly small place changed to bigger then more bigger and sometime back there were 3 branches of ZuluStyle in Singapore.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days ?

Yes good question,when I started my salon in market,Little India  was surrounded by many local based Indian salons operating  for last 20 years plus..I liked it and accepted the challenge to be there being one of them offering unique services with customer satisfaction.The other thing bothered me was  about staff management and hiring good hands.Due to that I had to close 2 branches of  Zulustyle and  now we have only 1 branch at Race course road.

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?

This is very women oriented business and they understand very well. In Singapore many women are having work life balance issues, but due to appointments arrangements I am able to  manage it well.

5.What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own ?

At first I tried to search out a job  for myself as it sounded easy initially.  But I must say if you have talent and passion to do it in  your own way,God is always there to guide you.You get inner strength to face all hurdles and challenges,if your faith is strong. I have learnt many lessons throughout my entrepreneurial journey which has made me stronger as a person.

6.Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

The credit goes to my elder daughter Fareha. I was always concerned that how I’ll start working if I had a cranky  child with me? But due to her calm  and lovely nature everybody loves to take her and she is well adjusted at home.This peace of mind helped me in focussing on my profession. I must say I was very angry with those beauticians who used to mess with client’s hair and always blamed their hair type to be the reason by saying”oh your hair like that”.They never cared for client’s satisfaction. For me my client’s satisfaction is most important.Thats how I chose my salon name ZulYouStyle” I’m nothing without “YOU” and without “YOUR” satisfaction.

7.What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?

Well what I felt in the market while serving my clients, many women have bad hair texture and everybody is in rush. They are badly in need of good services which is economical yet long lasting. I wanna do something more to haircare and styling side that can make everyone at ease. Currently we have started offering those services at promotional price so that every one can take it without thinking much.Only Good Hair can show Good  Hairstyle.

Women Lines wishes all the best to Zulu for her future initiatives. Do visit Zulustyle  FB page to know more about her-

http://www.fb.com/zulustyles

 

 

Dance your heart out with Sonia Khatwani

Passionate, enthusiastic, and crazy for dance, Sonia Khatwani is one such girl whom I met in her dance workshop and was struck by her sheer passion for  Zumba and Bollywoodsonia 2

dance. Sonia is a talented and certified Zumba Fitness Instructor and Bollywood dance choreographer in Singapore. What makes her different is her contagious energy while training people and continuous efforts to reach out to as many people and make Zumba dance as popular dance for fitness. She has not only reached out to housewives, school students, college groups, conducted corporate workshops, but also choreographed performances for weddings, festivals, community center programs, hospital staff, associations, colleges, clubs, various events in Singapore and her clients belong to all races. Sonia is also a Dance Choreographer & Fitness Instructor with Bollydancing Studio Singapore. This video speaks a lot about her passion for dance –

https://www.facebook.com/DynamicDreamz2014/videos/1636586766592721/

Women lines is proud to share her entrepreneurial dance journey in her own words-

1.Please share to the readers something about yourself?

My name is Sonia Khatwani. I was born in Mumbai and brought up in Singapore. I love spreading joy & seeing everyone happy. I love Dance. I feel I am born to dance and express myself through dance. It has been a passion since I was 7 years old. I owe heartfelt thanks to my Mom who has been a big support in my journey to pursue my passion.

I am a crazy fan of Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor. I  love her acting skills, confidence & she has been an amazing inspiration to me. One of our common goals was losing weight and if you have watched her journey it says it all.

2.So when did you ventured into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture? 

Dancing has always been my passion but didn’t see it coming along as a career. I started working since 18 years old in various fields but just wasn’t satisfied with any of the jobs. An opportunity knocked my door in 2008 to be trained at the Bollywood Dance Academy by well known A list Celebrity Choreographer Toby Fernandez from ‘ Jhalak Dikhlaja’s Fame.’ I have also performed for many regional celebrated projects such as Relive Pancham 2008, at the Esplanade Theater, Bollywood Cutting Edge at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, & most notably alongside Bollywood’s Biggest star Mr. Shah Rukh Khan at the Zee Carnival 2008 at Suntec City Singapore. My confidence boosted when I was asked to conduct classes. Life is definitely not a piece of cake. There were many hurdles in my way but I never gave up teaching. I Started part time classes from 2008-2011 at Bollydancing Studio & also continued working until one fine day in 2011 I told myself if I don’t follow my heart I will never achieve my dreams. Finally I left my job & the journey started to explore my passion dance!
3.Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

Believing in yourself is the biggest challenge ever. When I started off Dancing as a career, the first few questions asked was, if I am in the right field? Will I be able to pull it off as an Instructor?When you say you are a Dance Instructor the reaction you get especially from your friends & acquaintances. Their questions are what will people think?
Challenges I faced when started teaching initially was to fulfill client’s expectations .The most important part for my career was to develop the trust with all the companies I work with & also my clients so that we maintain a healthy relationship. I remember travelling around for 5 classes a day in Singapore & reaching on time was a biggest obstacle for me. Preparing the right dance music n choreography for steps was equally important & ensuring my wardrobe was well planned too. Initially I could not differentiate the difference of being professional compared to being a casual friend. But over the years I learnt how to, as life is a learning experience 🙂
4.So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
To have a Balance Lifestyle I ensure I prioritize what I must do with what I enjoy doing. It is very important to Balance my lifestyle as this way I can reduce stress and manage a well-balanced life. There can be physical or emotional health consequences if I don’t set my priorities right. So my focus is always on-

1.Taking care of myself by Loving Myself
2.Making Sure I Am Aware Of My Priorities
3. Creating a focused mindset is very essential for me
4. Expect the unexpected
5.Maintain a positive mental attitude
5.What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

To all the aspiring women out there-
following your dreams is a must as it gives you self-confidence, inner peace and also a chance to motivate others to follow their dreams. Remember be positive always, no matter what happens. Life is a gamble there might be up’s n downs but never give up that hope. Always follow your heart & never give up. Yes in the beginning you will need to swim on your own, Not many will support your ideas. You will never get direct answers to your questions when you seek help. You need to experiment yourself & then learn from your mistakes. It is not easy but with love & support of family & friends in matter of time everything goes well. Enjoy the ride in life just like a roller coaster

6.Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

The person who has always mentored & supported me is my Mom. It is because of her I started developing love for Dance. My mum’s side of family especially her youngest brother and sister has given me lots of support and motivation to focus on my passion. Last but not least I would want to thank Mihir Wani, co-founder of Bollydazz/Bollydancing Studio… Who has always inspired me during my ups and downs. Who always had  trust in me and guided me throughout these 5 years. I love all of you for being there for me.

7.What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?

Dynamic Dreamz wants to inspire as many adults & children to keep fit & live a Healthy Lifestyle by Dancing out their calories for now. I have not thought about future development as yet. Prefer not to plan and go with the flow of opportunities. Let’s see what comes along let it be a surprise.
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Some achievements by Sonia Khatwani:

  • Participated in the “Rupee Room Bollywood Dance Academy” organized by Zee TV Asia Pacific.
    Performed at ” Relive Pancham 2008″ at Esplanade, Singapore with Toby Fernandez.
    Performed at ” Bollywood Cutting Edge ” in Singapore with Toby Fernandez.
    Participated in the “Zee Carnival 2008” alongside Mr. Shahrukh Khan at Suntec City, Singapore.
    Won the “Best Dancer “award in a dance competition organized by Sindhi Association Malaysia for the So you think you can dance” championship
    Trained young and aspiring children at the prestigious ” International Kids Festival 2008″ at Esplanade Singapore.

Visit her FB page to know about her updates-https://www.facebook.com/DynamicDreamz2014

Women lines wishes Sonia all the best for her dance journey. Keep rocking Sonia!

Spreading creativity in youngsters-Sindu Sreebhavan

As a parent there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling to see our kids expressing themselves openly and able to  create something from personal feelings and experiences.Kids with such ability are called creative and as a parent we always search for mediums to enhance this creative element in them. Women lines is proud to share about Sindu Sreebhavan who is founder of kid’s edutainment magazine ‘ The Kidz Parade’ which is focussed on enhancing creativity in kids in Singapore and around the world. Read about her journey from corporate world to a popular kid’s magazine world in her own words-                                                                                                                 IMG_9477 copy2

  1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself?

I am the founder of The Kidz Parade Edutainment. I am extremely passionate about spotting, encouraging and promoting creativity in others. Though everybody identifies The Kidz Parade with our Edutainment magazine, The Kidz Parade also has a suite of other products, services and workshops that help to showcase, boost and cultivate confidence, creativity and communication skills in children. I have a wonderful family with my husband Manoj and our 10-year-old son Advaith and 9-year-old daughter Aditi. I love to put my kids to bed in the night and enjoy the little shows they put together for our birthdays and other important dates.

  1. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

During my 15 years career in management consulting, I was fortunate to have worked in 6 different countries for different industries with some of the brilliant people you can come across. If I condense my learning from these associations in a simple sentence – The three critical skills  for a successful career are Creativity, Communication and Confidence. These are the skills that should be cultivated from the young as sometimes it becomes difficult for you to pick up some of these skills in the later years. But unfortunately, these skills are overlooked in our education system. I was looking for a platform that could help my children to boost my kids’ creative confidence when they were younger. However, to my dismay what I could find was more enrichment classes than platforms where they could proudly parade their creativity. The enrichment classes are good, but that only serve you to push information to the kids but not for encouraging their unlimited creativity. During my discussions with other parents and teachers, I figured out that I was not the only person who felt this. But, none knew how to deal with the situation. But, being able to showcase ones own creativity at a young age is important for the overall confidence building and critical thinking process. And I wanted to give that opportunity to children around the world. That is when the idea of a magazine that could promote their creativity, ignite their curiosity and provide inspirations to them came about. I spent a couple of years doing surveys of parents and teachers and discussing trends in education with researchers in those areas. Sometime during 2012, I realized that the motivation to execute this cause had overpowered every other career aspirations I had and that even without my knowledge I had the idea of the overall content of the magazine. Once that realization hit me, I started working it with Jagdeep Kaur and The Kidz Parade was born within the next few months in print and online formats.    Poster components copy

  1. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

The first and the main challenge was being a newbie in the industry. I had the passion, a good concept for a unique product and a great market to start with. However, that was not enough to start. I needed a lot of support. There I did what the corporates do. I started looking for collaborations. The first collaboration came in the form of an amazing lady named Jagdeep. She is a great partner as a writer, immensely creative person and a great human being. Without Jagdeep, it would have been impossible for me to launch the magazine in such a short time with such great quality. The second challenge was the misconceptions people had about creativity. It was sad to observe that people still saw creativity and education as two separate entities. Many think that creativity is a hazard to educational excellence. People had the notion that creativity is all about arts. Doing arts is creativity, but that is just part of creativity. I started giving talks to parents, teachers, kids and organizations about the importance of creativity in education. It is great to see the inclination towards incorporating creativity in education by educational agencies.

  1. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

I work on a flexible schedule. So, I make time for everything my kids need. I make it a point to spend enough time with my family without compromising the quality, effort and time I need to spend for the company.

  1. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

If you have a great idea for an offering that could solve a problem faced by your potential customers, go for it. It takes a lot of effort in the beginning. Many women stop there thinking they do not have the time. But, remember, we women are amazing in multitasking. So, make use of that, you will find the time for everything. Secondly, you reach out and collaborate. Many people look at everybody else as competitors. But you are a winner when you look at your potential competitors as collaborators. Thirdly, you connect with others who have gone through the process of setting up their own enterprises. My doors are always open for people who would like to talk to me.

  1. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you? IMG_1390-Sindu & Jagdeep

As I had said before, Jagdeep was a great support, partner and creative adviser in bringing our magazine out. Organizations like National Library Board, Science Centre, Eurasian Association and many  local and international schools were very supportive of this initiative. We are used to hearing from teachers that this is something they wanted to start. We take that as the testimonial for the immense academic potential the publication offers. We are quite touched by the stories of kids picking up reading and writing habits, families using The Kidz Parade contents and critical thinking activities as conversation topics on their dinner table, kids getting inspiration from other kids and experts featured in The Kidz Parade and kids acquiring the confidence to showcase their creativity. It is this support from the parents, schools, teachers and above all our young readers that motivate us to getting the magazine to greater heights. I did my MBA from UCLA Anderson and the support, recommendations and ideas I received from the alumni were very encouraging. People like Adeline Foo, the author of the famous Amos Lee series, Michelle Tessensohn, Sylvia Mackaige, Nandita Vaidya, Jennifer Loh, Hima Madhusoodan had supported me immensely with their fabulous advices while boosting my morale and keeping me motivated. Many friends supported me with their voluntary work. Above all, my husband and kids have given their wholehearted support right from Day1. That kept me going during the challenging phases.

  1. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?

We have recently launched our I Speak… I Lead Public Speaking kit for children. It is a very useful product with valuable tips and framework  for how to approach public speaking for both kids and adults. We are in the process of increasing the reach of our highly sought after Public Speaking and Leadership Mentoring Program for children. We are working on our audio books and we will be launching that in the next couple of months. We are also planning to make The Kidz Parade Worksheets that were available only for school subscriptions, to others as well, due to popular demand from the parents. Women lines wishes all the best to Sindu for her future initiatives for Kidz Parade! To know more about The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine visit- www.thekidzparade.com  www.facebook.com/TheKidzParade

A Mum arranging work life balance for other mums at Mums@work-Sher-li Torrey

Women lines proudly shares about  Ms Sher-li Torrey , founder and owner of the Singapore-based organisation Mums@work, a social enterprise that helps women find the work-life balance which every woman dreams of achieving. It is said that we are destined to find a solution to any problem if it is giving us itch and it goes so true with Sher-li.After becoming mother Sher-li was unable to find any platform which could have helped her to get information to manage work life  balance in her life. This itch resulted in birth of Mums@work.It is amazing to follow her 4 years journey for Mums@work which started from giving opportunity to women to network and later also gave them chance to learn new skills to empower themselves.
Today Mums@Work has a staggering 11,500 members and the business has continued to evolve. One development is the ‘mumpreneur’ (entrepreneurial mums) section of the organization that was inspired by hearing working women saying that the flexible work arrangements with employers were not working out for them. This led many women to become entrepreneurs and thus creating job opportunity not only for themselves but for others too. Mums@work is right place for working mothers who want to look out for flexi arrangements and also for women entrepreneurs who want to learn skills regarding starting their own business. Read about interesting journey she went through while evolving Mums@work in Sher-li’s own words-
1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself ?
I am a mother of 2 small children and I am inspired by women leaders.
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2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

After becoming a mother myself, I decided that I wanted to look for flexi-work arrangements. In 2010, this was quite rare, and as my search was very challenging – I had an idea: why not start a site myself?
So Mums@Work was born. In the process, I discovered there were also women like myself, who ran a small business from home (Mumpreneurs) and that’s when I started to create a subgroup that caters to them as well.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days ?

The concept of my business is very unique – many people didn’t know what flex-work was (at that time) and also didn’t understand how Mums@Work operated. The initial stages had a few hiccups, because I had to go out there and convince people of a concept that I felt would work out.

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have no balance. Lol.
But to be honest, it’s because I am doing what I love – managing business and work is easier. In addition, I don’t peg work and family into clear boxes (I am what you call a “fusionist”) so it’s a little taxing on my brain, but I kind of put on the multi-tasking ability 24 hours a day.

5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own ?

Looking back, I have come to realise that the most important thing is to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. There will always be obstacles (what ever path you choose). If you are clear why you are doing what you do (Your motivations, your reasons and your ultimate goal), then whenever things go wrong, you turn back to your start point and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” – that awareness really helps to put things in perspective and also act as a guiding light for all the smaller decisions that you make.

6Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Cliché as it sounds, my mother was my greatest inspiration. She passed a year after Mums@Work had started – but she gave me reason to believe that taking a role that was half at home and half at work was the best deal for the family. Growing up, she always celebrated our attempts to “make a difference”. One of her favourite lines was “Why be ordinary? Do something that stands out. Do something that you can be proud of”.
It’s my guide to life and I often think back to the childhood I had – because of her career choices. She worked and also was home 4 hours a day. In many ways, the amount of time she spent with us was valuable – and I cherished that and hope to able to provide that kind of support for women.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?
 We have a few exciting events coming up, including the first Singapore Mumpreneur of the Year award & mama’s bazaar. So that’s very exciting for me!
Women lines wishes all the best to Sher-li for a successful and bright future with her initiative Mums@work!

India’s first woman motivational speaker-Abha Maryada Banerjee

It was such a pleasure accidental  landing on facebook page of Ms Abha Maryada Banerjee,and I was  so much exhilarated after reading her intro as First Indian Woman motivational speaker. 

Abha is the author of the first Leadership book for Women from India or Asia, called NUCLEUS:Power Women: Lead from the Core’..A 544 Super Manual with iconoclast and pathbreaking ideas from the field of law, leadership, personal development and universal laws of nature for building and empowering Women Leaders.

 

Considered as emotional fitness guru by media Ms Abha Maryada Banerjee is India’s first woman motivational speaker of international acclaim, rated as one of the Top Ten Life, Business and Success Coaches in Asia Pacific. An expert at Leadership, Human Peak Performance and Emotional Intelligence, having spoken at prestigious forums across Asia, she has coached and consulted top CEOs, Media personalities, Sports Stars, Business people, leaders in the making and has been closely associated with the spiritual aspect of Leadership as well. Called ‘Asian Oprah’ and the ‘Asian Woman Motivator’, she professes ‘Personal Mastery’ for individuals and ‘Emotional Fitness’for Corporates’ for achieving human capital excellence. It is such an incredible achievement which has to be shared with the whole world and thus I decided to report in my blog to my readers. Read about Abha’s interesting journey in her own words-

1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself ?    
   
I am India’s First internationally acclaimed Woman Motivational Speaker and author of the watershed book on Leadership for Women, called NUCLEUS:Power Women:Lead from the Core. I am also the founder of SUCCESS INDIA LEADERSHIP , a VISION DRIVEN venture, with a view to impart success education and lead a ‘mental freedom movement’ via various media outlets, for easy and affordable reach.I have been recognized as America’s Premier Experts and appeared recently on Brian Tracy’s show in US. I am also the recipient of Rex Karma Veer Chakra Award 2014 and Rex Karma Veer Global Fellow 2014. The award is given by the International Confederation of NGO’s with United Nations.
2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a pluge into this venture?
I started this venture in 2008 with a view that Success is desired by everyone but many have no idea what it really means. I wanted to de-mystify success and also create an environment where people could see success as their own possibility.The Book is an off shoot is this venture, focused on creating leadership amongst women.
3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days ?
Like any new venture, I used my own funds to start up and run the show. As a Motivational Speaker I faced a lot of flak for being a woman and was questioned on the need for motivation at all. I had to work for free to show that it works and helps people to think differently than they ever did.
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
Prioritizing and laser focus. Like in business, I like to build systems at home as well so my family members are not inconvenienced in any way, and all of them can use the same systems. The staff is trained likewise.
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
Have a very strong support system to help at home, so you can focus on the venture. The ups and downs are unknown so it is necessary to make sure that your back end is taken care of. You will need emotional and physical support as well through the legwork, so it is important to create systems and have a good support system. Find good friends and family to help.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
People in general inspire me, I learn from everyone. In particular, I am Swami Vivekananda fan and follower. My parents are my hero’s.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
My book NUCLEUS, is hailed as a watershed book on Leadership for Women. I am creating few business’s relevant to empower women, around the
book. I also intend to take the book across the World. Success India Leadership will work alongside these business’s to impart all kinds of help and training.
The next book will be focused on youth and children. Also, a book on Spiritual Leadership is in the offing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Leading Success Educator Brian Tracy Show

Website is www.abhamb.com
People can connect with me on successindia@abhamb.com

 

Link to the book-
Women lines wishes all the best to Abha for her future initiatives!