I come from the Defence background, studied in central schools and moved to many cities across the country due to my father’s postings. While in the 12th standard, I studied in the Science Stream and wrote entrance exams for various professional courses like medicine, engineering, marine engineering and also hotel management. I was good in studies but the traditional streams did not attract me and in those days, we didn’t have a choice of beating the stereotypes. If you were good academically you had to study in the science stream. I got through IHMCTAN Mumbai and joined the course in 1994, that brought me to the city of dreams. Back home then, my father received a call letter for me from a medical college in Lucknow. He spoke to me on phone and told me that I could come back leaving the hotel management course and pursue medicine. That made me realise probably I was not in the industry of choice. I told my dad that I was happy doing the course and liked the college very much. That has been the beginning of my stint in Hospitality industry! A stint that has turned 21 years and still going strong, doing things that I like. I often get asked how the industry was for girls. I am a girl, of course, a lady now! Have been in the industry for two decades. Studied in a course where boys to girls ratio was 7:1 (most professional courses show this kind of ratio), a hosteler while there, done my internship of 6 months in the second year of college. I have worked in the hotel operations for the first 4 years of my career before getting into academics and after 6 years of that, I am back having one foot in the operations and the other in teaching, learning and development.
Hospitality comes naturally to women, so making a career in the industry can be utilising their strengths to the core. They also make great managers just like men. In my own experience, I have felt the privilege of being a woman at my workplace. All careers come with their own set of challenges, I too have faced the ups and downs in my personal as well as professional life. But have been able to meet all those adversities head on, due to immense support from my family as well as the mentoring I got from seniors. I also have realised that not everyone might be as lucky as I, so this platform was created for knowledge sharing, networking, ideating, mentoring and empowering. Another aspect being creating awareness about the industry still not understood well. A colleague asked me why was I not allowing men to be a part of this group to which I jokingly retorted that it was meant for people who solve problems and not those who create them.
I wish to thank each one of you for being a part of this endeavour and together we can and we will make a difference!