Dr.Pragati Sawhney : From Dentist to Chocolatier.
40 year old Delhi-based Dr.Pragati Sawhney, a dentist by education, left her career, friends and part of her family in USA to explore her Indian roots. She did her Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, New York and had lived all her life abroad. She was working in New York in a corporate hospital, putting smiles on people’s faces and did that for a cool 16 years!
She came back to India and attended a chocolate making class for a lark and was surprised to find that homemade “chocolate” spread all over India was not made with real cacao or cacao butter but cocoa compounds and vegetable oils with unhealthy artificial flavor syrups, white sugar and sweeteners. Pragati informs “ Besides no public awareness, there are virtually no proper nutritional labeling or regulations in India; this is damaging public health”.
Dr Pragati felt the need to leave her American life and take up real chocolate making seriously. She launched Chockriti Chocolates, premier natural artisan chocolates, in 2011. Her products are sold internationally and are made with 100 percent real cacao from Europe and fresh brews of organic raw teas, flowers, spices and herbs with both US FDA and FSSAI safe nutritional labeling. She has received recognition and awards and recently won the “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2015” nationally hosted by TieCon and Power2Sme.
Pragati says of her drift “ It was not at all easy to venture into a hitherto unknown territory. The solopreneur journey is extremely tough and challenging but also rewarding. My passion for my own creative enterprise got me caught up and I did not even know when the switch actually happened!”.
Whatever her reasons, Pragati is slowly but surely changing the rules of the real chocolate market with elan.
Dr.Krithika and Dr.Nick: Cornell Research Scientists to Brain Fitness Centre.
Bengaluru residents Dr.Krithika,33 and her husband Dr.Nick, 34, are both scientists. They both have PhDs in biological sciences and worked as research scientists for 10 years at Cornell University in New York; Krithika in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics and Nick, in the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior. They came to India in 2014 and started Better Brains, the world’s first fitness center that offers specially designed programs to exercise the brain, in April 2015.
Nick says of their reason to venture on their own in a one-of-a-kind business, “We are very passionate about scientific research and wanted to use our knowledge and skills to build a company that could influence the lives of people in a more immediate and direct way than what might have been possible for us in a purely academic setting. We were ready for new and exciting challenges and the learning experience and for both us, Better Brains seemed like the next natural progression”.
Better Brains provides personalized programs for people to enhance the core mental functions that they use at school, at work, and in everyday life (e.g., focus, memory, reasoning, mental speed, problem solving, etc.). The programs integrate five different components that have been scientifically shown to boost brainpower. They currently offer programs to schools and corporates and are in the process of developing an app for mobile devices that will make the Better Brains experience available across the globe.
Nick and Krithika are enjoying their switch and say that regret of leaving Cornell has not struck them even once. Krithika says “ We thoroughly enjoy the dynamic nature of our business and we draw heavily on the skills and training we received in our PhDs to adapt to the constantly changing business environment. We are putting our research to optimum use”.
Sonia Sharma: Chartered Accountancy to Organic Food Business.
41 year old Delhi-based Chartered Accountant Sonia Sharma was working as a Senior Manager with PwC, London as a Treasury Specialist for Investment banks and consulting clients like Lehman Brothers, National Bank of Australia, Royal Bank of Scotland etc. and spent 15 years with firms like Arthur Andersen & Price Waterhouse Coopers in UAE, India & UK. She was living it up with a high flying career when she decided to leave it all and start her own organic food business ’Nature Organic’ five years ago.
Sonia says of her change “After 15 years in a career, I knew nothing would change in my old job, it would remain rhetorical and hypocritical. I wanted to make a real difference in society and also create something of my own. I felt that there was no room for creativity in a job, no matter how well I performed. In the corporate world you are just a cog in the machine; you are valued as long as you are functional and that too optimally. Giving your precious time & effort to something/ someone who will only value it till you are ‘giving’. I wanted to create something of value, something of a legacy to be remembered for and something that makes a real difference in people’s lives. Thus was born Nature Organic”.
Sonia loves what she does and has no regrets whatsoever of quitting at her peak and giving it all up to pursue her passion for organic food. She says “I love it and couldn’t have asked for anything better. My business doesn’t feel like work at all, it’s passion turned into profession. I think I have made a tangible difference to Indian farmers and consumers alike. My real remuneration is when people come and tell me that their diabetes was reversed by eating my food or our gluten-free range helped them manage gluten intolerance”.
“The best part of my job is that it keeps me connected to nature and though I still don’t make half of my opportunity cost but the trade-off is well worth the risk. I’m healthier, happier and breathe fresh air, whenever I want. What more can I ask for…she sighs..”.
Pranita Balar: Media Planner to Canine Trainer and Behaviourist.
28 year old, Mumbai based Pranita Balar did her Bachelors in Management Studies and Post Graduation in Marketing and worked in various companies for 3 years and was busy doing Media Planning in a corporate when she decided to pursue her soul’s calling and started Bark N Bond 3 years ago. Pranita is a certified Canine Trainer and Behaviourist ; a course she did before she quit her earlier job.
Pranita helps pet parents understand their pets better and build a stronger bond with them. Her training facility covers puppy consultation, basic obedience training, doggy tricks, aggression behaviour modification, agility training and dog socialisation. Pranita elaborates, “Apart from training, we even organise weekend pet camps around Mumbai to give a platform to dogs to enjoy free runs, swim in a lake or beach, treks and a platform for pet parents to connect with like-minded people”. Recently, she started “BnB Social” service wherein friendly, well-trained dogs are taken to offices, homes or parties for a destressing fun session.
Pranita made the decision to quit her cushy job as she felt that her earlier work was being monotonous and not challenging/motivating enough. She quips “Once the skills were exhausted and there was nothing new to learn, I would itch to switch jobs. I finally decided to be on my own and am really content as the job satisfaction is immense. I get to be part of the job from planning to execution and see the result in front of me in the form of the joy on our clients’ faces when they are able to communicate with their dog”.
Pranita, a dog lover, is passionate about what she does and feels that everyday is a new challenge and learning. She adds “this has been the most destressing job ever”.