When and how did you realise that this is what you want to do?
“If you can imagine it in your mind, you can experience it in your reality “is what I believe. Raised by a single mother, I quickly learnt to be independent, working from a tender age of 15, I mastered the art of self-dependency. I was fortunate to work in 17 Kannada films, 3 Tamil and 3 Telugu films apart from 2 very popular television series. My intellectual drive got me to complete an MBA and a PGPM. From this high level of aspiration to leading a life in marital bliss, my world changed overnight. My spirits were silenced for 3 years where I took on being a home maker. My family had suddenly grown exponentially from 2 to 10.I never stopped thinking about the hundreds of women who like me were craving to be the best version of themselves yet were boxed.

Though being in the spotlight from an early age I harboured a dream to carve a unique niche for myself that would set me above the ordinary. I never let that dream die. I believed in my strength that nothing is impossible, catapulting my focus those 3 years I transitioned to prove my mettle, I spearheaded to launching 3 companies to reveal the warrior in me. Founder of KWAA- Karnataka Women Achievers Award, my coveted brain child that set a new benchmark in women accomplishments and recognition, Managing Director of Dream Big Vision Pvt Ltd, a training company and Managing Director of Dream Big Celebrations an event management company.

How did the KWAA Awards start and how did the idea of IWAA come about?
Being an actress, I had the opportunity to be a part of many film award shows, I watched the same individuals get recognition and my mind wondered about the many women who have achieved brilliant feats in their professions, that deserve the recognition and the world had to know their success story, I took it as my personal prerogative to make this happen.

I brought this thought one casual evening to a coffee table conversation with a friend and person who listened both with fascination and a little disbelief as I excitedly rambled about my ideas, this person was Saraswathi Priyadarshini who is now a jury member with KWAA. That conversation is today a reality.

KWAA – Karnataka Women Achievers Awards had to be unparalleled and the most coveted, non-commercial awards from inception.And much like I envisioned my magnificent brain child. KWAA has set a new benchmark in women accomplishments and recognition. It has craved a unique niche for itself and is a much sought-after award by every aspiring woman. I believe all the good work and values we put into it has come back to us as a blessing. The opportunities, the relationships built and the amazing people are a highpoint.

I could not stop there, I had to take it nationwide and recognise every true Indian woman warrior. IWAA- Indian Woman Achievers Awards will have the same structure and value system as KWAA and I have no doubt in my mind that it will surpass all expectations.

What are the hurdles you had to face to reach where you are today?
I am an eternal dreamer, and the most important life events are what I have visualised and brought into reality. Therefore, to curate and host an award ceremony that would make headlines, that would be honest, classy and a cut above the rest was indeed a daunting task. It came with a mountain of challenges, the biggest and most apparent being the financial aspect, to get a company to fund us, to believe in our value system and work ethos was a humongous and humbling experience. Three years down the road we have a trail of experience to back us.

The magnitude and expanse of the growth of KWAA is almost unfathomable! The team had to hyper focus and work with confidence unrelentingly. We had to maintain the same standards and exclusiveness year and year. The support of brands like C Krishniah Chetty Jewellers and other brands who have thought beyond business for us is something I am really grateful for without whom we couldn’t come this far.

COVID in 2020 brought its own challenges, but even the virus could not hold us back. In short, I can say with pride that we have been able to overcome our challenges with grit and determination.

Please share some of the highpoints of your journey?
KWAA itself is the pinnacle of my success, and what KWAA has done is pave the way, be a road map for many wonderful ventures that have birthed from it.

After three glorious years of recognising women achievers through KWAA, and witnessing the compelling stories of struggle and sacrifice of each participant, a realisation dawned upon us that to be an extraordinary woman Achiever is an arduous and uphill task, so from recognising the achievers at KWAA I now build and train aspiring women to be achievers through my program ‘SHE INDIA’ -with a vision of creating a largest community for women achievers that I launched through my company ‘Dream Big Vision’.

KWAA has been my steeping stone and IWAA will go international in next 2-3 years. KWAA was the genesis of this and more to come!

Please share some details about yourself as a Life coach?
I think I was destined to be a life coach just as I became an actress or an entrepreneur. I think the universe brought in all the elements to make me a life coach, trainer and mentor after the journey of KWAA. Witnessing the achievers and coupling that with my experience as an actor and entrepreneur I set out to build and develop more achievers. I am an ATD certified Life Coach mentored by Darshan Somaiya who is popularly known as India’s Own Millionaire Mentor who has more than decade of experience in this industry and who has been trained by the best trainers across the world like Tony Robbins, Grand Cardon, Elena Cardon and others. I believe investment on self can be the best investment one can ever make. So, I prepared myself by getting trained by the best before I actually started my career as a Coach! And my learning process is always constant.

Also, I did recognise that women needed that assistance, that guidance to improve, to build themselves in a holistic 360° manner. They longed for help in improving their relationships, in clarifying their goals, financial management, leveraging their strength and in working on their weaknesses and harnessing their inner potential to bring out the best in them.

I am proud to say that I have trained over 3500+ women over webinars and 360+ women personally by mentoring them, out of which 70 of them have started their own entrepreneurship. With this I have a vision to coach and train more than 10 thousand women every year.

Celebrating Women’s Month, what in your view do women have that makes them what they are?
Every woman is created by nature to be nurturing. Every woman has that innate ability to create and to sustain. It is no doubt that we are called the fairer sex or the superior sex, owing to our strong will power and high emotional quotient. The present-day woman though willing to compromise is also very passionate and driven about her own personal goals, she needs to recognise her inner strength and her potential to tap into her resources and be the truest most authentic self. While some women do that with confidence others need a little push and guidance but there is no doubt that the modern-day woman has come a long way. She is multifaceted, fearless and confidently embraces her identity.

It’s not easy the way we women juggle around so many things- our work, homes, families, social lives, fitness etc. Some tips on how you balance it all so beautifully?
Achieving an ideal work life balance has always been a challenge for the modern-day woman. Juggling family, partner, children, parents, in laws and a full-time job can be an uphill and anxious task but the most efficient career moms have found their success in both worlds. The key is to plan, organise, find the right balance, set priorities and spend quality time and more importantly not to feel guilty when things go amiss. While trying to be the superwoman managing it all I personally feel it is very important to create a special “me” time so that you can rejuvenate and feel special to handle all the challenges that come with being a working mom.

What is in the pipeline in terms of your work currently?
Well, the pandemic could not hinder our growth and success, 2020 was a great year of learning on many levels.2021 promises to be even bigger. Specifically speaking in the pipeline, I wish to explore the coaching avenue and take it a couple of notches higher, I plan to take the training programme to the grass roots that is the women’s colleges and equip and enable them at the budding stages to reach for the stars. Then of course the launch of IWAA – Indian women achievers awards, the Pan India search for the most deserving achiever. The source of this all, the dream maker KWAA will get every bit of flourish and growth it truly deserves after all it sowed the seed to create all the branches that impact women’s growth in various pertinent ways.

— As told to Namita Gupta.