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On Challenges And Perks Of Handling Age-old Legacies; An Extract

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If you come into a position of power through a position of privilege, how do you make sure that you earn respect, more so if you are a woman?  Daughters of Legacy seeks to answer these questions through the stories of twelve successful women who grew up with strong business lineages.  An extract from Bhairavi Jani’s journey:  

It was some 3 a.m in the morning and I was having a discussion with my father. I admitted that I would rather shut down the business. He asked me how many people worked for me, and when I mentioned the number as fifty two, he reminded me that in our country one person’s salary provides for four people in a family, on an average, and that any decision that I make will impact at least two hundred lives. Trusteeship of business, I think was passed on that night. I realized that my father didn’t work for money or glory anymore. He worked because he felt responsible for thousands of people working for him as well as their families. I think that was the day legacy was passed on in the true sense of the term”, Bhairavi says her eyes welling up at the memory of that night.  “When people come to work for you they trust you with the fact that their families will always have food to eat and their children will continue going to school. In fact that realization is what changed my conversation when I resumed the hiring process. Business became about shared growth.”

Bhairavi Jani, Picture Credit: bhairavijani.com

While Bhairavi exited out of i3pl a couple of years later, this lesson stood her in good stead in her professional journey. Next, she assumed the role of Group Director for the SCA Group and led new projects as well as mergers and acquisitions within the group. “Those were exciting times for the industry. While we had sold some of our equity in Blue Dart, we were also acquiring new companies.” This time around, Bhairavi was more in acceptance of the fact that her age and gender could be a barrier in a male dominated logistics industry. “I don’t think after the first year I fought this. Instead I worked towards turning things to my advantage. So when I would interview people I would co-opt them into the role. I would say look, I know I am younger to you but that means you will not only be responsible for your function but also the fact that I learn more about it. That would change everything. People would take equity in my growth as a leader. Not only did this allow me to work with some of the best brains in the industry, they have also had a phenomenal contribution in making me the person I am today.”

So when I would interview people I would co-opt them into the role. I would say look, I know I am younger to you but that means you will not only be responsible for your function but also the fact that I learn more about it.

Being a legacy bearer though, Bhairavi feels, comes with other challenges, foremost among them being the risk of your ego going out of hand. “After all you are born important”, she says. The challenge, she believes, is also to be a responsible trustee of the legacy, for you are just a baton bearer. That said, she is quick to acknowledge the many perks that have come her way. “ You have front row seats to a transformational experience and you decide the course of the lives of so many people”, she says without a trace of hubris. “ What you need to remember always is that you have been simply lucky when it came to the gene pool.”

Bhairavi Jani is a fourth generation entrepreneur, the Executive Director of SCA Group

The above extract has been taken from “ Daughters of Legacy– How a new generation of women is redefining India Inc”. Published by Penguin Books, it is co-authored by Rinku Paul & Puja Singhal.

Also Read: On “Appraisal Discussions” From Rishi Piparaiya’s Jobs be Damned

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On Challenges And Perks Of Handling Age-old Legacies; An Extract
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