INTERVIEW OF CHAITALI CHATTERJEE : Owner - ShreOM Communications and Solutions, Founder for “A CSR Academy” (NGOs to Corporate Connect), Founder - Women Entrepreneurs Enclave (WEE), Fund Raiser for many NGOs.
Q: What inspired you to start your own business?
A: I remember, when I was in 7th Std, we had to write an essay on “My Ambition”, I wrote, “I would be a businesswoman”. So, it's my childhood dream.
Q: What hurdles came across in beginning?
A: Ah. Many. It's really not easy for a middle-class woman drawing a hefty salary and suddenly leaving the job and doing business. It starts from near & dear ones who never want to support for doing business, they thought I cant do business, listening to statements like “You cant do”, “Where is the income?”, “It's not easy” and so on. And yes, especially handling a child, his studies, managing home alone when your husband is staying in a different city for work and so on.
Q: What is Your Struggle Story?
A: Oh! There were no returns for me without struggle. I worked with various companies and today I have more than 2-decade Corporate experience. It started in 2010 when I was working as a National Sales Head in a multinational company. My son’s age that time was 5-6 years. Everything was going fine. I had strong support from family for doing the job. Suddenly, my husband got transferred to the different city. Now, you can understand, husband in a different city, small child and I work as a National Sales Head, working 18 hours (work+home+child). My job required me to travel to different cities. Finally, I decided to quit.
It was so difficult for a working & ambitious woman like me to stay at home. So, I started freelancing work like Marketing Events, Raised Sponsors, Organized Training Programs, Raised Funds for NGOs, Multi-level marketing etc. And yes was successful in MLM. But, the company closed down. And I had to listen “Why don’t you shift with your husband”, “Start part-time job”, etc. etc. from close relatives. Imagine, suddenly leaving hefty salary and starting from scratch. Finally, in 2015, I winded up everything and shifted with my husband.
That was beginning of another struggle for me. Being small city, no job. Salary offered was not even 1/4th of my earning while in business. Cant start business as had to settle down first. Finally, God listened to me and my husband got a job in Mumbai. We shifted back. Again new struggle. Husband wanted me to do a job and I wanted to re-start my business. Well, as suggested by him, “start with the job, connect your clients and then start a business”. I listened to him and worked for a year with Media in 1/4th of my salary which I was drawing in 2010. Still, everything was fine. But, as you know the Corporate politics, the boss doesn’t like you doing better than her, especially if your boss is a woman. So, I left my job and restarted my business. But, the struggle doesn’t stop here. Have a challenge from your own family to earn more than a salary in business within 6 months, else I should go back to the job. And yes, again by God’s grace I am working on 3 Marketing Projects now. Finally, my family is completely supporting me. Thanks to them.
“Must say that those days when I had No support from family for business, I kept on motivating myself by seeing videos of “Sandeep Maheshwari”. I suggest all struggling entrepreneurs must watch. Patience & Perseverance is Key to Success. And without struggles & hurdles, success is not so sweet. Struggles & Hurdles in the journey have always taught me to get up and keep going.”
Q: What is your business into?
A: My company ShreOM Communications & Solutions is in Events & Marketing, Training Management. PR & Media. Conferences, Workshops & Exhibitions.
Q: How would you like to help your fellow members / or contribute towards society?
A: I always had a dream of having my own organization with ONLY women. Specially empowering those women who have dreams and staying at home leaving their career. I want to bring out those women out from their house and motivate to focus on their dreams and themselves. I have experienced the struggles myself. So, I wanted to start working on woman entrepreneurs & aspiring women entrepreneurs. Help them with my expertise in marketing, Sales & PR.
This gave birth to WEE ‘ Women Entrepreneurs Enclave’. We were only 25 by end of 2017 November. Within 2 months, WEE has grown to 200 plus women entrepreneurs. My vision by end of this year is to have 1000 women entrepreneurs under WEE. And yes, must talk about few core members like Indrani Ray, Hira Mehta, Divya Solanki, Madhumita Ghosh, Moushmui Pal & Preeti Sharma who have been continuously supporting me. There are other women entrepreneurs like Sunita Chand, Ritu Chatterjee & Archana Kulkarni also coming up themselves and contributing their support to WEE. My friend Pankaj Maste has helped in every possible way in establishing WEE. And of course yes, my husband Sanjib Chatterjee & my son Shreyam Chatterjee who support me by adjusting to my odd working hours. Thanks to all.
The motto of WEE being “WEE grow together”, I will surely reach 1000 women entrepreneurs by end of this year and help them in every way to grow. Will not leave any stone unturned to help them.
I am creating various platforms for these women to promote their business. Immediate is our Event on 10th March, “Celebrating Woman Entrepreneurs” where women are getting a platform to promote their products at a venue, stage, online & social media. Next is an Exhibition in April. Upcoming are various motivational sessions, wealth management sessions, etc. Will give them speaking opportunities as well to talk about themselves and their business. We had such session on Jan. I am also tying up with various Events to promote these women Entrepreneurs. Had a couple of such events in Jan & Feb and upcoming in April. I am tying up with various media houses (Digital, Print & Social) to promote them in every way. WEE’s FB page, Twitter and Instagram regularly promote their business. Will create other marketing strategies to promote their business.