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POOJA SHENDE

Pooja is a strategic, optimistic, and fun-loving person in her circle. She comes from India – the land of diverse cultures and spirituality. She is an author and contributing bestselling author of four books. She is a Global Speaker and the Founder of Lotus Soul 9.


Pooja is also a Practitioner of Emotional Intelligence, a Practitioner of NLP, an ICF Certified CCE Positive Psychology Coach, and an ICF Certified CCE Positive Spiritual Intelligence Coach. She is now working towards being an ICF Certified PCC Coach.


With over 2 and half decades of experience, she has handled a wide portfolio and played various leadership roles. She lives in Mumbai with her husband and son.


She enjoys dancing, listening to music, and painting. She is also a volunteer with Isha Foundation supporting the “Isha Vidhya” , “Rally for Rivers”and “Conscious Planet – Save Soil” project.

All information and links were correct at the date of original publication on
19 Aug 2022

Why business?

One of the best benefits of owning a business is the flexibility that comes with it.


I get to do what I want to do. I get to work the numbers of hours I want to work and also in the timing that I want to work in. I can work from wherever I want to work.


I don't need to worry about earning a fixed income. I can define how much and when I want to earn.


I am not limited to working with one organisation. I can provide my services to and work with as many as I want.


It gives me the added advantage of taking care of my family and myself as well.

You describe yourself as a ‘seeker’ can you elaborate?

I come from a land which is known for its diverse culture and spirituality which is none other than – India. 


A land which has produced great Enlightened Beings, Masters, Gurus, Yogis, Mystics, Messengers and much more.


Always this land has been a land of seekers, never a land of believers.


I was constantly seeking something and open to exploring my life.


To be a seeker means you want to know. One can seek only when one does not know.


Like Sadhguru (Founder of Isha Foundation) says, there is a difference between seeker and a believer.


A believer is who has made a conclusion (from his books), a seeker is wide open. He has realised he doesn't know that's why he is seeking.


If you are a seeker, what you were yesterday doesn’t mean anything to you. “What have you done today?” is the whole thing.


The psychological survives, nourishes and flourishes on the past. The existential is of the now.

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Tell us more about Positive Psychology Coaching (PPC)

Positive psychology coaching (PPC) is a scientifically rooted approach to helping clients increase well-being, enhance and apply strengths, improve performance, and achieve valued goals.


"At the core of PPC is a belief in the power of science to elucidate the best [methods for development]". - Kauffman, Boniwell, and Silberman (2010)


In coaching a lot of aspects play a vital role. 


A coach embodies a coaching mindset, cultivates trust and safety, maintains presence, active listening, evoking awareness, facilitating client growth and a lot more.

Does spirituality impact your role as a coach?

Spirituality does not mean any particular practice.


It is a certain way of being. To get there, there are many things to do.


This is like a garden in your house. If the soil, sunlight or stem of a plant is in a certain way, it won’t yield flowers, you have to do something. You have to take care of those things.


So if you cultivate your body, mind, emotions and energies to a certain level of maturity, something else blossoms within you – that is what spirituality is.


When your rationale is immature, it doubts everything. When your rationale matures, it sees everything in a completely different light.


Spirituality is not about looking for God, truth or the ultimate. It is about enhancing your perception, your very faculty of seeing.


It can be challenging to weave science and spirituality together.


To put in simple terms, I would say with coaching, a coach helps the client (an individual) in evoking awareness. This helps them to move from comfort zone to growth zone.


With spirituality the individual is on a path to seek things.

What and who inspires you in business?

There are many who have inspired me in my journey. But if I had to name someone, it would be Ratan Tata. He needs no introduction.


He is a True Leader in all its sense. He is a well-known and most respected industrialist in India. He is a name that immediately draws recognition from all.


Ratan Tata is an Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and a former chairman of Tata Sons. He was the chairman of Tata Group, from 1990 to 2012, and again, as interim chairman, from October 2016 through February 2017, and continues to head its charitable trusts.


He is the recipient of two civilian awards of India, the Padma Vibhushan (2008), the second highest civilian honour, and the Padma Bhushan (2000), the third highest civilian honour.


His charismatic leadership qualities serve as a true inspiration.


The Tata group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission 'To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust'. (Reference – royalsociety.org).


This is another reason he serves as an inspiration for me.


He has earned reverence not only as a successful industrialist but as a great human being and philanthropist. And this is another reason he continues to inspire me.


The list goes on and I had a wonderful experience listening to him during the Rally for River Campaign in Mumbai.

Do you believe there has been a growth in women-led businesses in India?

Yes, Absolutely. In fact, I was reading an article which says:

“India currently has over 15.7 million women-owned enterprises, with women leading the start-up ecosystem. This drastic transformation clearly underlines the potential of Indian women and their determination. In the coming decades, India is set to witness a major shift, with women dominating the workforce as well as shaping and enhancing the future of the country. It is estimated that over 30 million more women-owned businesses are expected to provide 150–170 million jobs by 2030. This could be a game changer and help the economic outlook look brighter than ever.”  Source: https://www.ibef.org/blogs/women-entrepreneurs-shaping-the-future-of-india

Is gender bias a reason for Indian women being poorly represented in business?

No, I don’t think so and I have never faced this. In fact, the above article also speaks of this:


In India 20.37% of women are MSME owners which account for 23.3% of the labour force. They are considered to be the backbone of the economy.


According to McKinsey Global, India can potentially add US$ 700 billion to global GDP by increasing women’s participation in the labour force.


Women-led businesses provide a great impetus to the economy. India has 432 million working-age women and 13.5 –15.7 million women-owned businesses that provide direct employment to 22–27 million people.


In addition, a number of businesses are being controlled by women.


Indian women are independent and have a strong motivation to start their own business.


According to Boston Consulting Group, start-ups founded or co-founded by women generate 10% more cumulative revenue over a five-year period.


These start-ups have a more inclusive work culture and employ 3x more women than men. Moreover, women-led businesses are estimated to grow 90% in the next five years.


In India, 45% of the start-ups are run by women, of which over 50,000 are recognised by the government. The country witnessed the most women-led start-ups turning into unicorns in 2021.


Today, we are in August 2022 and I’m sure there has been a considerable increase in these numbers.

Do you feel there is a difference between the younger and older generation when it comes to starting up female led businesses?

Times are drastically changing for women in India.


With technology, infrastructure, banking, communication, transportation, healthcare and a lot more, I am observing that the older generation is more supportive of the younger generation.


What drives the generations together is the family values, culture, the passion for their business, impact towards the society and leaving a legacy for the generations to come.

How do you interlink your services to support business owners?

With over two and a half decades of experience, including working for large corporate – playing various leadership roles and handling multiple projects across the globe like US, Europe, APAC and India helped me in shaping myself and understanding a lot of aspects of business.


My passion in helping people transform their lives and empowering leaders led me to get into Emotional Intelligence, NLP, Executive and Leadership Coaching and being alumni of Isha Leadership Academy.


All this put together further helped me to be a Founder Regional Director with The Alpha Group International and a Vice-President of the Coaching Support Group with Noble Manhattan.


Coaching the Executives and Leadership is helping them excel in their personal and professional lives.


With The Alpha Group, we run exclusive Peer-To-Peer Executive Boards to help business owners double the value of their business & dominate their marketplace.


It’s a confidential board room meeting of experienced executives who are committed to helping each other solve difficult challenges, evaluate opportunities and develop effective strategies for better professional and business performance.


Whether the question is operational, financial, structural or sometimes even personal, the group provides wisdom, perspective and accountability to help executives make better decisions and achieve more than they ever imagined possible.


The Alpha Group members are CEOs, business owners and key executives of small and midsize companies with £1M-£60M in annual revenue, representing nearly every industry.


This diversity is key to furnishing a board of members from non-competing industries, and providing members with relevant expertise, regardless of their industry or company size.


By inspiring better leaders, The Alpha Group is creating business success.


With The Noble Manhattan – Coaching Support Group, we meet in many cities all over the world - The groups are a central hub for coaches, student coaches and anyone working in or interested in coaching and developing human potential, their own or that of others.


The coaching support groups provide support, motivation, inspiration and information as well as a place where likeminded people can come together to form a mastermind alliance.


The groups also raise the awareness of coaching and the benefits of having a coach within their local community.

How is The Alpha Group (India) helping to up-skill female business leaders?

At The Alpha Group we do have the concept of “Global Women’s Board”.


With this, we empower business women from all around the world to grow, thrive and succeed in business.


The Alpha Group Global Women’s board guides its women members to focus on strategy and profits, while increasing their positive impact for themselves and the community they live in.

How important is it for female business owners to be part of networks?

For me an Entrepreneur is an Entrepreneur. I don’t classify them as a male or a women entrepreneur.


I would say it is important for any business owner to be part of networks.


Network not just for the sake of networking but networks that help them develop skills; create opportunities for growth, development and collaborations.

Why do you believe in the power of change and why it’s important for female leaders.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

As I was growing up, this quote of Mahatma Gandhi kept coming up too often in my mind.


I always wanted to live and do what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to live someone else’s life. I saw myself as a possibility.


We have one life and I wanted to live this one to the fullest extent.


Whenever I faced any challenging situation, this would come up and I was able to sail through the situation smoothly.


This got me into believing that I could do and achieve anything I wanted if I simply chose to – Be The Change.


This philosophy guided me while I was graduating, started working, and later climbing the ladder to playing various leadership roles in the organization.


Throughout this time period, I was willing to explore and experience various aspects of my life. So after a successful corporate career and now being an Entrepreneur, I am still open and willing to further explore my life.


Each one of us is unique. I feel anyone can achieve what they want if only they chose to be the change.


To be the change requires us to make a choice – Take charge of your life and create pleasantness or leave it to life and wait for your lucky chance.


Stay where you are or go beyond. Choice is yours!

Give examples of where exciting female led innovation to business solutions are happening?

Speaking of India, three names come to mind.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. She is the executive chairperson and founder of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India. 


She was awarded the Othmer Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. She was on the Financial Times 2011 top 50 women in business list. In 2019, she was listed as the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. She was named EY World Entrepreneur of The Year 2020.


Falguni Nayar is an Indian billionaire businesswoman who is the founder and CEO of the beauty and lifestyle retail company Nykaa.


Divya Gokulnath is an Indian entrepreneur and educator who is the co-founder and director of Byju’s, an educational technology company.


At first, the company offered in-person education to support school education, and in 2015, launched an online app with video lessons.

What has been some of your high’s since becoming an entrepreneur?

There are many amazing memories ever since I became an Entrepreneur. The immediate one that comes to my mind was when I was invited to speak at Microsoft Azure Conference 2021 on Emotional Intelligence.


Some of the attendees clicked my pictures and send them to me mentioning how amazed they were with the talk.


All that brought back lovely memories to me how gracefully I have been able to handle my life at the same time create an impact by helping others transform their lives.


Another one that comes to my mind, I was coaching a National Head of a very well-known international organisation. The person was struggling with some issues for many years.


One day in the evening I received a call from him. He was full of excitement and happiness. He mentioned to me that my coaching helped him to solve those challenges.


Also, now he knew how to apply those learning to any similar situation that comes up and sail through it.


He mentioned that never in his life could he have ever imagined that he would be able to speak about it and overcome the challenge. Seeing his transformation and achievement was such a pleasant experience.

Finally…

My mantra: Change is inevitable. Embrace it. Thrive with it.


The only way we can be the change that we wish to see in the world is, first becoming that change.


Making this one (ourselves) a better version of what we were yesterday. The change begins with us by fine tuning our health, spirit, relationship, our own personal development, managing our finance, focusing on our skills and abilities eventually leading to a change by itself.


When we see ourselves more clearly, we are able to see others with a better understanding, compassion, love, and respect leading us and others to SUCCESS.

Thanks for taking the time to share this insightful interview. If would like to contact Pooja regarding the above visit: https://poojashende.com/ and connect at to https://twitter.com/poojashende24