Women On Top
Anjali Gaekwar: “The Glass Ceiling Is As High As Your Personal Limitations”
We don’t need just one day to celebrate women. Here at Hauterfly, we celebrate the smarter sex EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Nonetheless, we join in the party today, on March 8, International Women’s Day, to applaud some seriously badass women we know and love. These #WomenOnTop have conquered multiple worlds with ease — from corporate and social to entertainment and education. These personal essays give a glimpse into the journey of women who may not have always had it easy, but made it anyway, and shattered multiple glass ceilings along the way.
She’s sharp, she’s intelligent, she’s beautiful, she’s warm, and her business acumen is unparalled. While the rest of us drool over Christian Louboutin shoes and accessories, Anjali Gaekwar is the power woman who heads the brand from India. With experience of over 14 years in the retail space, she epitomises hard work, drive, and passion. Girls, if you’re even half as ambitious as this woman, we suggest you take notes.
Aceing The Retail Space
I’ve been in the retail industry for a long time now. There is a lot more to retail than you might think. It is one of the most diverse, fast-paced, and exciting sectors to work in — from visual merchandisers and planning creative window displays, to marketing teams planning the promotion of new products, and store managers directing teams to deliver a great customer experience, it’s a vast arena.
Retail keeps changing. Retailers constantly anticipate shoppers’ changing tastes and behaviour, so there is always something exciting happening. It’s a space women can really excel in.
Rise To The Top
In order to be at the top of their game, women firstly need to be networking professionals. Women are masters at navigation and putting their ideas to the test is their gift, so they must fully use it.
We need to be specialists at cultivating relationships and focus on healthy, long-lasting ones. We are natural givers — women are great at inspiring and lifting up those around them, so it’s important to play that part for the good.
I have been lucky to have never been sidelined or discriminated against for being a woman. However, I know others who have been and I really hope that this situation changes for women over time. We should be encouraged to grow and evolve into newer and more exciting roles.
On your part, take opportunities even if you feel you are not ready, even if it scares the heck out of you. Women tend to over-prepare, overthink, and over-analyse every opportunity, by which time it’s gone, someone else has taken it.
Have the confidence to take more risks early on, even if it means that you might trip along the way, because ultimately you will learn from those experiences. The glass ceiling is as high as your personal limitations, and I work hard and prove myself as a professional.
Be Your Own Woman
Mentorship is indeed essential. Your mentor is your confidante, the one who gives you direction and options. However, at the end of the day, YOU have to make your own choices. Your mentor isn’t there to tell you which direction to go in. The guidance they provide will only help you down the path you choose to take.
Sometimes, it is as simple as bouncing ideas back-and-forth with these leaders, so as to see a clearer picture of what one might not have earlier comprehended. Other times, it’s about receiving encouragement and advice on how to take your next steps. This is the benefit of having a mentor — a good mentor can help you be your best self.
Balancing The Personal & Professional
For me, finding the perfect balance between professional and personal life has been a journey, and one that’s been thought out and carried through carefully. I am single by choice, and manage to juggle my personal and professional responsibilities by putting in the extra hours on either front whenever necessary, and try not to compromise either, or even that all important ‘me’ time.
On my own time, I play golf. It’s a fine test of character. When you do business with people, you need to know more about them. Golf rewards players who stay calm under pressure, never lose their cool, and think strategically. These are all virtues of business too.
Indian women today see opportunity in everything and everyone. Today’s strong corporate woman have the ability to give life to their ideas. I feel nowadays women are far more strategic, focussed, and know how to keep their eye on the prize.