Now women have ventured into almost every business sector, including the real estate industry. If you know what drives your passion and you are ready to put your heart and soul in it nothing is impossible to achieve, says Manju Yagnik, ViceChairperson of the Nahar Group and Senior Vice President, NAREDCO Maharashtra in an exclusive interview with Deepak Pandey of Ecostar Business. Excerpts:
Q: In the real estate business, not many women head offices. You are one of the exceptions. How has been your career journey through the male-dominated real estate industry? Kindly recall.
Ans : After completing my education in 1987, I took up a challenging profession, yet matched my passion, by joining the Nahar Group. When I joined the industry was heavily disorganised. I could learn many things over my more than three-decadeslong journeys. Right from day one, I have involved in marketing, strategic initiatives, planning new projects and managing the business to create world-class projects. Holding every opportunity and rising to every challenge enhanced my knowledge in the industry. Whether it was working for hours at the construction sites, negotiating deftly with a host of vendors, marketing adeptly with customers or applying innovative and imaginative approaches, I left no stone unturned in creating the Nahar Brand.
Q : What role are you playing in the organisation?
Ans : Planning new projects by getting together with the best of architects, planners, etc have been my most important focus areas of works. Be it creating unique land spaces, newer initiatives for consumers to understand consumer behaviour or being a decision-maker to managing people I have been at the helm of affairs making myself a force behind the Group’s sustained and profitable growth.
Q : What are the challenges you have been facing in your career in the real estate industry? How successful have you been in maintaining a work-life balance?
Ans : Women are known for multitasking and balancing between their challenges at home and office fronts. A full-time working woman faces work pressures and the guilt for not being able to give enough time to family. However, over the years women have mastered the art of balancing personal and professional life. These days a woman can face challenges in major areas like stereotyping, dual career family pressures and lack of equal opportunities in certain industries. It is like choosing to have it all — a rewarding career, a loved family, and some time for themselves. It is like a lot of responsibilities and different roles to play at the same time, to handle both your professional and personal life. There have been positive results at work and family levels.
Q : What is your major strength as an Executive?
Ans : I am very meticulous and strongly believe in working as a team, and so there is no hierarchy in my office. Teams at Nahar are free to come up with suggestions, and if something sounds more feasible than what is already on paper we immediately take it. As an executive, I am a firm believer in being there for the team at every step of the journey.
Q : Real estate, being a male-centric industry, have you ever faced any gender discrimination in you career?
Ans : I have always been firm on my thoughts. For that reason, the industry is male-dominated hasn’t bothered me, since I have been pursuing my passion. Armed with a strong understanding of the industry, it could learn and expand the real estate business of the Nahar Group. The pioneering marketing-approach and strategic initiatives undertaken by me to execute a world-class project, Nahar’s Amrit Shakti, truly broke all preconceived notions about women’s capability in handling large project in the industry.
Q : Who is your role model and why?
Ans : Ratan Tata is my role model. A humble man all his life took on great challenges and achieved great professional success without losing sight of his core beliefs, and without compromising his principles. He believed that one has to evolve in their strength, own power and capabilities without compromising on your values. He combined business acumen with irreproachable ethical conduct making the Tata group a successful global brand.
Q : How do you recall your major achievements?
Ans : I started my career in 1990. Ever since I strived to create the band Nahar. I have always been mindful of the opportunity for the company and my responsibilities in the company. What delights me most is the development of the township, Nahar’s Amrit Shakti at Chandivali, Andheri East. This project has been very close to my heart having my involvement in it right from inception to completion of it with over 4000 happy families making it their homes. Nahar’s Amrit Shakti is spread across 125 acres.
Q : What tips would you like to share with women aspiring to make their a career in real estate
Ans : Success in any field is a combination of various things such as hard work, sincerity, innovation, and perseverance. It has always been my passionate work that made me successful. Follow a positive approach to achieve the desired goals. This is one of my bits of advice to women who are willing to make their career in the real estate segment. Now women have ventured into every sector, including the real estate industry. would only say that if you know what drives your passion and if you are ready to put your heart and soul in it nothing is impossible to achieve.