Iron (Super) Woman: Dr. Tarita Shankar

Dr. Tarita Shankar

Founder Secretary & Chief Managing Trustee Shree Chanakya Education Society Chairperson, Indira Group of Institutes, Pune

Iron (Super) Woman: Dr Tarita Shankar

Right from its inception in the year 1994, and recently having celebrated its Silver Jubilee, the Indira Group of Institutes has grown to a strength of 15 institutes under the proficient guidance of Dr Tarita Shankar, who believes that this journey has been an expedition of enjoyment for her and the entire team. Her key to success generating from her mantra ‘‘Don’t run after something and you can achieve things better. The moment you run after something you only focus on that and forget to enjoy the journey part of it’’ has been her guiding principle as she has evolved in the fantabulous journey of 25 years as a woman entrepreneur.

Her USP of being a Team-player and having people-oriented approach where there is focus on mutual belongingness, complete confidence and treating the team members as family, has earned her organization, the highest retention rate in the industry. The unique schemes at Indira have not only retained the people from day one but also retrieved the ones who had left the institute for some reason. Her persona as defined by her 15-year-old son, ‘Tough and yet very soft’, resonates with her description by her team members who believe that she stances as the ‘Iron Woman’ and yet, is easily approachable at any time and stands by her staff in all adversities. All these unwavering factors have led her to prosper an initial team of two, to a staff of about 12000+ today.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Tarita Shankar had least expected her emergence as an entrepreneur while she was working as an Environment Director-Community Relations with Enron and was directly reporting to the Energy Minister of Maharashtra who was also the Education Minister of Maharashtra then. When the Privatization Act of Education was formalized in Maharashtra and young and dynamic entrepreneurs were urged to start colleges, she became a part of the trust that was formed overnight and with the unflinching support from her younger brother, she began her journey as a businesswoman. She realized that she could play a pivotal role in providing innumerable opportunities to many students.

She prudently balanced her busy job and the newly formed college initially, and with the advent of time and ever-demanding responsibilities of the new venture, she gladly gave up her profession later and became a full-time visionary educationalist, and then there was no turning back ever since. She is guided by the words of wisdom from her mother – “Go with the people who have stood by you when you didn’t have anybody and, give your best in whatever you chose in life”.

“Think Local Act Global’ is the motto of her business growth plan, Indira Institute has many tie-ups with foreign universities in France, Dubai, Malaysia and Denver and where they exercise the student exchange programs to give global exposure to their local students. Their newly acquired Dubai office hails a promise of great potential at providing affordable programs for students who otherwise cannot afford expensive universities in western countries. Dr Shankar discerns that encouraging future growth plans make every day and each moment exciting for her team.

If not an accomplished entrepreneur in the educational sector, Dr Shankar would have ungrudgingly been a competent housewife because she cherishes every aspect of being a woman. A single mother of two sons and dedicated to her abundant responsibilities towards the kids of her institute, she restricts herself to a small social circle so that she can devote her spare time in raising her sons in a way that they prove to be an important asset to the society and the world and who would carry on the legacy of this vision and mission as youth icons.

“Being sad is not going to change anything, if I’m happy I can find a solution to the problem”, abiding by this ideology, she ardently believes that the principles, values, and philosophies in life keep changing with the altering phases and a rigid approach towards them is impracticable. Her flexible perspective helps build trust with her staff and students and she reckons that one should be true to oneself and be happy through all phases of life.

She envisions and relentlessly works towards aligning the management program curriculums with the industry requirements to bridge the gap between academia and the industry. However, she feels that this cannot be achieved completely as these are two different worlds working on different pedestals and the two should work collaboratively, where the industry should be ready to provide initial training to their recruitees, and the institutes continuously aiming at imparting skill-based training to their students.

A master in the arts and science of winning people over and a risk-taker by nature, Dr Shankar textures that her greatest challenge as an entrepreneur has been the unknown space of Finances. Strongly supporting the Indian economy and banking sectors, she inspires the young entrepreneurs to overcome the impediment of financial challenges through careful planning and not to waver as “The challenges make life interesting, beautiful and worth living”.

Last but not least, Dr Shankar invigorates the emerging women entrepreneurs with her message

– “Take pride in the fact that you are a woman and relish your strength, don’t give up, be honest and truthful, find your path, discover what is ideal for you and align yourself with it, and you will irrefutably acquire the splendid success beyond the barriers of your struggles”.