Anan­nya Parekh, Founder, In­ner God­dess Academy

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Anan­nya Parekh as­pires for an equal so­ci­ety. This no­ble cause seems to have nudged the 22-yearold, aero­space engi­neer­ing stu­dent from Chen­nai to set up the In­ner God­dess Academy, a so­cial start-up that aims at ac­ti­vat­ing am­bi­tion in women and em­pow­er­ing them eco­nom­i­cally. A trained Kathak dancer, who loves read­ing and public speak­ing, Ms Parekh was one of the speak­ers at the re­cent Women Eco­nomic Fo­rum in New Delhi. She was also an In­dian Am­bas­sador to the G(irls)20 Sum­mit in Mu­nich, Ger­many. Sup­ported by Western Union, Ms Parekh had rep­re­sented In­dia at the Women Po­lit­i­cal Leader's Sum­mit in Lithua­nia and par­tic­i­pated in the Western Union Mil­len­nial Round Ta­ble in Mum­bai. Sharmila Chand chats with the In­ner God­dess Academy founder and finds out fas­ci­nat­ing de­tails of the so­cial en­tre­pre­neur.

How do you de­fine your­self? As a mil­len­nial and global cit­i­zen who is in­no­va­tive, em­pa­thetic and ac­tion-ori­ented

What is your phi­los­o­phy of life?

Pro-ac­tiv­ity, ra­tio­nal­ity, hu­man­ism and fem­i­nism - I try to im­ple­ment th­ese four prin­ci­ples in ev­ery as­pect of my life to cre­ate equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for my­self and others.

What is your pas­sion in life?

To chal­lenge my cre­ativ­ity con­sis­tently, em­power all sec­tions of so­ci­ety and re­duce in­equal­i­ties in the world

What is your man­age­ment


I have two mantras. One, learn­ing agility: I en­sure that I im­ple­ment all the knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion that I gather from my read­ing wher­ever pos­si­ble. Two, cre­at­ing a good sup­port net­work: The op­por­tu­nity to be a part of or­gan­i­sa­tions, such as Women Po­lit­i­cal Lead­ers Sum­mit, sup­ported by Western Union and Girls20, have helped me de­velop a bril­liant sup­port net­work, in which I get to be a mentee and a men­tor con­sis­tently.

Busi­ness lead­ers you ad­mire...

Sal­lie Krawcheck (Gen­der Lens Im­pact In­vestor and CEO of Ellevest) and Laura Lis­wood (Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Coun­cil of World Women Lead­ers)

Your strength...

Cre­ativ­ity and per­se­ver­ance

Your weak­ness...

Im­pa­tience Your favourite hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion...

Paris, France Your kind of mu­sic... In­die or al­ter­na­tive Rock and Jazz; I am also weak in the knees for some ro­man­tic mu­sic from Hindi films.

For­mal suit or ca­sual at­tire...

Any­thing that makes me feel au­then­tic and com­fort­able

Golf or Bridge or...

Kathak; I have been danc­ing since I was five years old. I still pur­sue the art form very se­ri­ously and of­ten per­form on stage.

You are a tough, se­ri­ous boss or…

I re­ally can't de­scribe my lead­er­ship style in one word. I am a syn­er­gist who be­lieves in cre­at­ing a shared value sys­tem for a team to flour­ish. What do you en­joy the most in life gen­er­ally?

A serv­ing of dark choco­late mousse

How do you de-stress?

A good book with a cup of mint-green tea

Your mantra for suc­cess...

I learnt this mantra from my mother, and it has al­ways worked in my favour: "If any op­por­tu­nity makes you com­pro­mise your phys­i­cal or men­tal health, say no."

Your dream...

I as­pire to cre­ate so­lu­tions that can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce in­equal­i­ties in the world. I dream of a world where love and logic pre­vail si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Ten years from now, where do we see you? My as­so­ci­a­tion with Western Union has helped the In­ner God­dess Academy re­ceive in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion, and I hope that in ten years, the academy will have in­creased global and in­ter­sec­tional in­flu­ence.

ANAN­NYAPAREKHFounder,In­ner God­dess Academy

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