A Dauntless Leader Revamping the Education Consultancy Realm
Women are surprising a society that was once of the opinion they only need to be at home. They are moving ahead along with balancing across their myriad responsibilities. In the entrepreneurial world, they have proved themselves by running giant organizations. This exclusive story is yet another add-on to our special edition featuring some outstandingly ‘Inspiring’ women entrepreneurs. Here, the spotlight is on Neha Sundesha, who has been sailing her entrepreneurial venture – 7 Hats Consulting– in the business world with her impeccable leadership.
STAR OF THE SHOW
The essence of entrepreneurship is all about adding value to others. If you are committed to serving your niche while identifying the problem in the market and eventually offering an appropriate solution, then you are truly an entrepreneur.
Neha Sundesha, Founder & CEO of 7 Hats Consulting, is a passionate entrepreneur who is inspiring everyone with her own brand of feminism. She has completed her education at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Mathematics and from Columbia Business School with an MBA- specializing in Finance & Economics and strategy. She conceptualized Seven Hats in 2012 as a platform to coach mid-career professionals to discover a more intuitive path to leadership and professional development.
Born in Kolkata, Neha is brought up in home-grown women entrepreneurial system. She liked the way women around her hustled, gave their best, and managed businesses, while living a thriving personal life. She firmly believes that three things need to happen for more women to become entrepreneurs- a society that builds more support systems for its women, more risk capital allocated to women in families, and financial freedom for women at an early age, so they become responsible owners, spenders, and investors of capital.
DIVERGING FROM THE NORMS
For an inspiring leader, the definition of success is more than just creating revenue. It’s about creating a positive impact in the work culture and community at large through continuous collaboration and inspiration. Being a charismatic personality enriched with confidence, determination & strong convictions- Neha has become a well recognised face in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Neha firmly believes that everyone has a story, but only a few get the chance to share one. She affirms that many people are burdened either by false confidence or no confidence at all.
“I respect everyone and am genuinely interested in people. I enjoy empowering them to think about, reflect and own their stories, purpose, and intention in the world,” states Neha.
She is a strong supporter of building a healthy community, society, and future for everyone. She urges young people to stay grounded, dream big and carve meaningful pathways for themselves. Young people are also vulnerable, especially in the age of social media overdose, which is truly an epidemic. They are struggling with mental health in disproportionate numbers. Neha is devoted to helping them in stabilizing this cohort, making them believe in themselves and carve out an intentional road-that goes beyond pressure to be a certain way and help in living a satisfying, balanced life that brings most personal and professional satisfaction.
ENRICHED WITH ETHICS AND VALUES
“I am not here to evangelize my journey and tell people to follow me and do what I did because everyone’s challenges and circumstances are very different” -Neha Sundesh
he has had unbelievable support from her family and friends throughout her entrepreneurial journey. She has learned this spirit to never get carried away by anything or anyone from her super supportive husband, parents, and in-laws, and even her 2 boys (2 and 5 years old), who remind me everyday to stay on my toes and keep learning. She always does everything with perfection, and that is the core value of her which she lives by.
Moreover, she is a kind-hearted person who can never see people struggling as without love and care, nothing works for her. She is deeply emotional as a person, which drives her to help & do more and rise above her daily challenges. She is a down-to-earth lady who always denies her greatness and stays humble.
“I don’t think that I am some beacon of success or better than others. I believe I have just been able to identify what moves me very deeply and act on it with diligence and passion. And I never lose sight of the support system that enables me to unwind and be myself every day,” she states.
UNIQUE INSIGHTS ON WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Neha states that women’s participation in the entrepreneurial space is shockingly abysmal because entrepreneurship is the toughest job one will ever do. There are no timings, no days off, ‘you can’t just go off the grid because the buck stops at you.’ But, with the current scenario, when more & more women are leaping out of their comfort zones, we are seeing more women as founders and C-suit executives.
Indian women over generations have beat the odds and figured out a beautiful way to make businesses flourish. We as a society can do even better for them. There is a significant need of providing more financial freedom,
training tools, self-confidence, and most importantly, mental health support to women in this generation. Because this whole journey is tough and the propensity to hang up one’s boots at every stage is very high. There is a need to make sure that the majority of women enter the entrepreneurial or business world. And this is the passion Neha wishes to pursue because she believes a healthy and happy woman is the core propeller of a healthy society.
STEWARDING A FEMME FUTURE
In the modern world- nothing is impossible for women and Neha encourages every female out there to pursue their dreams without any fear and restrictions. She appeals to society to not subject a woman to perpetual guilt- as it’s unhealthy and breaks her confidence. She firmly believes that a happier, healthier, and economically empowered woman is undoubtedly good for one’s relationship, home, business, and the world.
Neha says that there is a need of providing more capital to women as financial incapability is a huge impediment to societal growth.
“Empower women with capital-just let them fail, don’t hold them to unusually high standards. You will see, a woman is an excellent custodian of capital and usually does well with returns. And if she doesn’t, still appreciate her will and trials. She has learned and grown from the process-which, in turn, will help her family and community,” states Neha. Through her entrepreneurial journey, Neha has learned that the roadmap of entrepreneurship is a challenging one.
However, she believes the key to success is staying diligent on the path. She intends to motivate women to go beyond societal stereotypes and keep the focus on what they wish to achieve. “Unless facilitated, I see a lot of stereotypical divides among women- us falling into traps where we call each other ‘too aggressive, too ambitious, too lazy’ etc., and it’s horrific. Let’s not be frogs in a jar pulling each other down but helping each other in scaling the success ladder. If not us, then who?” Neha urges women to support each other by these words.
Neha is all set to launch ‘Seven Lives’- a retraining and keepthem-in-the-workforce platform for women only following her perception that everyone deserves another shot.
“It gives me the utmost pleasure to see a woman thriving without fear of names and labels. My message to everyone is just relax. It’s each citizen’s birthright to use their potential. No names, no judgments, nothing, just let everyone thrive as per when and how they see fit,” she affirms.
SOURCE OF INDUCEMENT
Motivation is one of the few ways that help someone explore and shape their true potential. Neha looks up to her family that always encourages her and tells if she can dream it, she can surely achieve it and fills her with positivity. From a young age itself, she has had open and honest conversations with her parents-especially on gender roles in society. Her parents have been extremely supportive of her and have told her to be herself.
Although, they never asked her to rebel against tradition or culture. But always empowered her with a sense that many worlds can coexist simultaneously. They have always encouraged her to find her way and make mistakes by learning from the same. Outside her liberating and wonderful family, Neha admires people who invest in genuine relationships and friendships.
“I am not star-struck by anyone, but people who have strong belief systems, a robust sense of loyalty, and are clear about their moral compass in life,” says Neha.
7 HATS: A ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR EDUCATION AND CAREER CONSULTANCY
Neha has always been fascinated by De Bono’s 6-Hats of thinking, but she felt it was missing one hat- the one that is truly reflective and karmic in nature. Where everything just makes sense because it is from the core. She believes that the entire 7 Hats philosophy is rooted in reflection-the ability to not take oneself too seriously while meditating on what has truly been the impact. Based on her introspection, she founded 7Hats Consulting Firm in 2012.
“It was truly a parking garage moment when me and my husband were stepping out of our car- and I said, I’m going to call it ‘7Hats’. It will start and stop with thoughtful introspection,” says Neha.
7 Hats is a consulting company that focuses on highperforming mid-career professionals who have completed their graduation from some of the top institutions in India and around the world. It works with those who wish to switch careers or in starting their own entrepreneurial ventures. It helps students and mid-career professionals find tremendous educational success through an introspective pathway as they go to college, an MBA program, a Masters Program or start their own ventures.
It helps them build the foundation for the next ten years of their career and future aspirations by delivering efficient and absolutely custom-fitted consulting solutions for them. Everything at the company is purely original and customized for each individual without using any predefined formats and templates. Neha says that what works for one person may not work for the other.
“The best learning has always been individualized and empathetic, and that is what I try to incorporate across all my programs. Yes, it affects our ability to scale, but I would never trade scale for impact,” she affirms.
VIEWS ON TECH
Neha has a completely distinct philosophy for her business as she doesn’t believe in competition. She says that technology is a lifesaver, but it’s only an enabler for her company. However, it allows her to stay organized, efficient, and connected with people across the world. Moreover, she is planning to launch ‘7 Lives’ that will be a pure tech platform to explore the combinational power of tech & human capital.
She claims that E-learning is ineffective if there is no needle-moving impact on a person’s growth. “I don’t say I don’t believe in it. I just think the service modules and engagement channels need to significantly evolve and become more intelligent and empathetic. In present times, teachers struggle to connect with students online over sustained periods. It’s a bridge that needs to be complemented with a more sophisticated modules, and replicate what the power of real human interaction can do,” states Neha.
Neha used to tutor refugee children while in the US, as well as second career women from low-income communities at Upenn. She was deeply impacted by the struggle of families who had immigrated after great hardships in Israel and lived with them in a Kibbutz in Southern Israel. At present, she runs several second career workshops and groups for women across different income levels. “People are inherently fascinating, complex and have such remarkable stories.
I wake everyday wondering what am I going to learn about someone new today?” She wants to take her message and methods to many more people across the globe. She also wants to work more with underserved communities in regions of conflict.
“I want to channelize my core skills and passion into a service that can benefit thousands of people across the globe. The road to that point is in progress, but it will take some time to materialize as we know good things take time.” -Neha Sundesha
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