We go back almost two decades to college days where she was my junior. It is particularly a very happy moment for me to write about a very illustrious junior, apart from other emotins- I feel proud of her! She has had a brilliant career transition and so has been the choices she made in her personal life. Today she has a following where people reach out to her for consultations, seeking mentoring and getting in touch for the much needed ‘wellness quotient’ in their lives. She brings with her two decades of experience as Head HR and L&D professional; currently she is donning a multi entrepreneurial hat, as a Consultant with Internbuddy – éclat hospitality. It was wonderful connecting with the dynamic lady Ms. Shalini Gaba in an enlightening conversation.
IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc.
Shalini: So my schooling has been pretty transitional as my father was in a banking profession and we moved places alongside. Teenage years were mainly spent in Chandigarh and hence I like to associate with the city as my hometown. I came to Mumbai 24 years back to pursue Hotel Management from IHM Mumbai, Post that I pursued Masters in Tourism Management and the later did my MBA from NIM Massachusetts, US.
Besides I have also done diploma and certifications in NLP,Hypnosis,Neuroscience based Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Diversity (Unconscious Bias Teachers Training),POSH(Train the Trainer),Therapy training(EFT,Metahealing,Psych K,US),Theatre based fascilitation,Tarot and Angel Card readings,UK.
IWH: What made you select a career in hospitality? Was it easy making that decision?
Shalini: For me I wanted to pursue a course that not just teaches my life skills but offers employability and hence an education in Hotel management served that wish. Further selection in Taj Management training programme and then in sales with Oberoi. Laid the foundation of initial career. The decision was natural and swift however leaving the industry in 4 years is a decision that I would still like to regress and change.
IWH: What is your current role?
Shalini: I have a two decades of experience as Head HR and L&D and Currently I am donning a multi entrepreneurial hat, as a hospitality consultant with Internbuddy –an éclat hospitality company pioneered in hospitality recruitments, trainings and education. Additionally am also an executive coach, therapist and now a Yoga facilitator so I conduct sessions based on the expertise through individual and group format.
IWH: How has your professional journey been so far? Pros, cons etc.?
Shalini: Every journey offers its turns and twists and mine was no different. While I have no regret the way it has been lived of course as human mind sometimes I feel I should have extended my career in sales with Oberoi, Hospitality presented an excellent platform for my professional persona and a structured and an extensive career would have been articulated in that route.Ofcourse am pretty excited about my current life journey as a Human resource professional and as a coaching expert.
IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?
Shalini: It’s difficult to name just few but my father has been my pivotal ideal in defining my professional persona helping me building strengths like adaptability, resilience, integrity and perseverance. His influence came from the childhood experience of various transition that we went through due to his transferrable profession yet his ability to stabilise our foundation in the new city by building the rights infrastructure which was well researched. My various colleagues and friends of course have also laid the foundation for various learning experiences for me.
IWH: What have been the high points of your career?
Shalini: I won the best recruiter award in Convergys and it was contributed by the highest retention and selection of best candidates for straight 90 days of performance.
IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?
Shalini: As individual we all face workplace situations with unexpected outcomes (easily classified as challenges) I faced it too, some obvious biases were during representation as a solo board member in the executive committees, on other times been assigned inflexible and inflated targets to check my commitments and multiple others.(I was a single and a young mother then ,thankfully blessed with a great support system of my parents and house help and my determination to excel) Throughout while living through these experiences I ensured I am not classifying myself in a gender box or strata. I leveraged my innate strengths of flexibility and shape shifted my way through various experienc.However I strongly relied on my research, preparedness and constant up gradation of my knowledge and skills. I am humble when I mention that I am one of the HR leaders who learnt very early the terms and the inputs in a P&L and helped craft HR strategy to support business growth. Hospitality taught me to be customer focused and my initial career in operations and sales formulated my persona to bring an informed and calculated business decisions.
IWH: If there was anything that you could change about your life or career what would that be?
Shalini: Am happy the way my life has worked and during the moments of dissatisfaction I have always taken a life inventory to come to a point of acceptance.
IWH: What do you think of IWH?
Shalini: I am an ardent follower of the platform and proud and amazed with its organic growth by sheer perseverance and natural instinct of Laxmi Kohli she is my 3rd year senior and am swelled with pride to see her journey and impact of the platform on novice and seasoned professionals.IWH was earlier a voice and now such a huge stage for the hospitality world to see and experience.
IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students.
Shalini: Always upgrade yourself consistently and limit your distractions by creating a structured plan for yourself.
Life may not span as you have planned but from that structured path you may encounter a possibility to be able to create a regular or alternate life for youself.Use the power of social media to learn,engage,share and build your persona and be a differentiation Start thinking right now that what can you do different to be a prospective choice of a future employer(May be learn a foreign language),how can I build more network(Connect on LinkedIn and other social media engines, don’t hesitate in asking for help, referrals or job recommendations).
IWH: Anything else you wish to share with our readers?
Shalini: Always have a plan B something that you can bring to the world and probably find a way to both live it as a passion and give it to the world, if you can find a way to monetise it.Current times have taught us to dabble in uncertainty and digital is the most adopted platform. Hence learn to use it effectively by building your personal and professional presentation, network, engage and THRIVE
What a great conversation we had with her, it was wonderful catching up after many years and knowing about the dimentions that Shalini has added to her life and career. We can only wish her the very best for all her endeavours!