Ruchita Agarwal, a boss lady who is also the Director at TiE Delhi, speaks to us about her journey and the growth of women entrepreneurs and leaders in India. TiE is a global non-profit organisation, established in the year 1992 in Silicon Valley by a team of like-minded entrepreneurs. So, ladies, if any of you are looking to start a brand new start up, get ready to be inspired by Ruchita. And yes, keep those notepads handy!

Please tell us a bit about your background. What were you doing before you joined TiE, Delhi-NCR?

I was an army kid who went from school to school, city to city. After getting an MBA I worked in various capacities and profiles. My last profile was with the wholesale banking division with an International bank before taking a sabbatical to spend some time with my son.

How did you end up becoming a Director with an organosation as big as TiE? Tell us a bit about your role and the organisation.

Once my son started school I got restless and wanted to get back to doing something constructive with my time. I wasn’t yet ready to get back to the demands of the bank, and I was introduced to TiE through Sairee, who headed what was back then called Fleximoms. I started working part-time and have been with TiE ever since. Being married to an entrepreneur and understanding what trials and tribulations founders went through, I think I naturally fitted into the TiE ecosystem.

What changes do you see in women entrepreneurs today than, say, five years ago?

I think over the last 5 years women entrepreneurship has matured. We see more women becoming entrepreneurs and being successful than ever before. The last few years have seen a whole lot of women who have created niche markets, lifestyle businesses and launched boutique startups and are doing extremely well. Having said that, we also have a whole host of women who have started niché and immense mainstream startups. These founders are role models for the next gen of girls who would like to follow their footsteps.

Reaching at the Director level, how has your journey been so far? What were the major challenges you faced being a woman in the corporate set up?

This needs an honest answer, I never believed that being a woman was a challenge in any of my profiles. My journey to that extent has been a little unexciting, but I think I was lucky, I went through life believing that I could do whatever I wanted. I strongly believe if you go about your professional lives with great sincerity and hard work, the few people who may create obstacles, do come around. In the end its all about who can work well and deliver.

What changes do you feel need to be brought in the system so that it becomes more accepting of women leadership and entrepreneurship?

My husband once told me “You can’t change how people behave, you can change how you react to them.” As women, we carry a lot of guilt around. It’s not so much what that colleague at the workplace or that member at home has said to you as what you believe yourself, that holds you back. You have to find your balance either you fight it out or you play along. I know this sound idyllic, but life is as simple or complicated as you make of it. You pick your battles and you let go of some.

What are the three most important things budding women leaders need to keep in mind?

Create a support system around you – it could be that friend, spouse, in-laws or parents. Don’t try and be perfect at everything. It is okay to slack. And take breaks and vacations ALONE and with your family

Finally, this being International Women’s Day special series, any message for our women readers? 

Be yourself, no one can tell you what’s best for you better than you. Listen to everyone and do what you believe is right and don’t be too hard on yourself. You get but one life. Enjoy it.

So, ladies, this International Women’s Day we hope you all have taken notes from Ruchita and are ready to dive into pursuing that one passion you always wanted to try.

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