These women are badass workers. They can take a business plan and transform it. They will work till the day they go into labour and will work hard. They were given businesses to manage but they rose above, broke down the old story and built a brand new one. Meet Ameera Shah, Lara Balsara and Ashni Biyani.

“Ultimately it’s your work that does the talking,” says Lara Balsara of Madison Media. “I have been in the company for a long time – it’s a young persons business. Madison in fact takes a lot of pride is calling ourselves an entrepreneurial company. We encourage the same across our colleagues.” Lara took over a business her father started called Madison Media and built new arms by way of injecting new energy and ideas.

Don’t let sexism come in the way of your ambitions: SheThePeople panel at Times Literature Fest

Ameera Shah almost started on a clean slate. It wasn’t a thriving family business. “I didn’t come from a business family and that does bring with it a different set of struggles. My biggest contribution to the business was the vision I brought in to make it a recognised brand,” says the owner of Metropolis, a chain of pathology labs that done nearly 30 million tests a year catering to 20,000 laboratories. Growing the business wasn’t a cake walk and so Ameera is hardened by her experiences and remains someone who is a go-getter. “While it’s good to accept that sexism does exist, you can’t let it become an obstacle.” says Ameera. “Emotional mentorship is the answer. Women are undermined from a young age and it’s important to change that.”

Times Lit Fest She The People Mumbai
Times Lit Fest She The People Mumbai

Ashni agrees. She remains puzzled at the extent of sexism at the workplace women face. Despite being established achievers. “There are enough instances where one does face this. There are times you are interviewing people for a job and all they seem interested in how I dress. I remember I was fully pregnant and at work, working the usual way, and I remember getting told, why don’t you just go home.”

There are times you are interviewing people for a job and all they seem interested in how I dress – Ashni Biyani

Ashni Biyani was part of the team that transformed from Big Bazaar brand from a wholesale shopping story to a family shopping store. Ashni wanted to introduce the idea of ‘altruism’  to the brand. She adds her dad remains her ‘brain trust’ but adds “he and I often have differences of opinions but we just agree to disagree,” says the woman who drives new ideas at the Future Group. Ashni started early, was at store opening and interested in the business while at school itself.