CHARTING NEW TER­RI­TO­RIES

MillionaireAsia India - - Contents - TEXT BY Sam Lal

A young and dy­namic cor­po­rate leader Manasi Kir­loskar is busy script­ing suc­cess in her own right

A young and dy­namic cor­po­rate leader in her own right, Manasi Kir­loskar is driven by a de­sire to chart a jour­ney for her­self, which is in­spired by the suc­cess of her par­ents and the il­lus­tri­ous fam­ily of en­trepreneurs she hails from

Ady­namic sum of many parts in per­pet­ual fast-for­ward mo­tion, Manasi Kir­loskar is the per­fect per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of term, mul­ti­fac­eted. She is the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Kir­loskar Sys­tems Ltd, is an in­te­gral part of Kir­loskar Mo­tor Ltd and also works with the group’s in­sur­ance bro­ker­age med­i­cal com­pa­nies. How­ever, that is not all. Not nearly. An en­tre­pre­neur who firmly be­lieves in cre­at­ing her own pro­fes­sional path, Manasi is the founder and CEO of Car­ing with Colour which seeks to cre­ate a new ed­u­ca­tion par­a­digm for Gov­ern­ment schools.

Away from the cor­po­rate call­ing, Manasi is a trained deep sea diver, a pas­sion she feels has many par­al­lels with run­ning mega busi­ness en­tity. She is an ex­cel­lent artist who en­sures she takes the time out to paint ev­ery week­end and is a fit­ness en­thu­si­ast who never for­gets to put in the hours at gym ev­ery day.

Here she is in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Mil­lion­airea­sia In­dia.

What is hap­pen­ing in Manasi Kir­loskar’s uni­verse right now?

So many things! The favourable one, how­ever, is my so­cial im­pact start-up called, Car­ing with ColourA Manasi Kir­loskar Ini­tia­tive. We seek to cre­ate whole­some young minds through a re­formed ed­u­ca­tion par­a­digm rooted in ex­pe­ri­ence and dis­cov­ery. The ini­tia­tive will be geared to­wards Gov­ern­ment schools and will use the Arts (move­ment, per­for­mance, vis­ual, mu­sic) com­bined with hands-on ac­tiv­ity kits and tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate ped­a­gogy that will im­prove learn­ing out­comes. Es­tab­lish­ing Car­ing with Colour has been a dream since the age of 14 and I am so happy to fi­nally re­alise it.

The Car­ing with Colour ini­tia­tive will be geared to­wards Gov­ern­ment schools and will use the Arts com­bined with hands-on ac­tiv­ity kits and tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate ped­a­gogy that will im­prove learn­ing out­comes

You are part of a fam­ily that has en­trepreneur­ship in its genes. Does that cre­ate sense of ex­pec­ta­tion?

Def­i­nitely a lot of ex­pec­ta­tion, which I didn’t re­alise up un­til I started work­ing in the fam­ily busi­nesses. My par­ents have cre­ated a very high bench­mark in terms of their lead­er­ship, core com­pe­tency and val­ues. As much as I want to achieve their level of suc­cess, I also want to cre­ate my own jour­ney. I want to con­tinue to learn, suc­ceed and fail but never com­pro­mise the Kir­loskar val­ues of Trust and Ethics through­out this process. I hope to gain ev­ery­one’s con­fi­dence while I em­bark on very ex­cit­ing jour­ney.

Could you please take us through a typ­i­cal day in your life as the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Kir­loskar Sys­tems Ltd.?

I work at Toy­ota Kir­loskar Mo­tor, with Lexus and also man­age Car­ing with Colour- A Manasi Kir­loskar Ini­tia­tive as Founder and CEO. For the for­mer, I work at the of­fice and shop floor. The lat­ter en­tails work­ing with Gov­ern­ment schools, ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts, in­ven­tors and ed­u­ca­tional con­tent devel­op­ers. I also spend some time at our in­sur­ance bro­ker­age com­pany Toy­ota Tsusho In­sur­ance Bro­ker and med­i­cal com­pany Kir­loskar Tech­nolo­gies. Amidst all this, I never for­get to work out in the gym ev­ery sin­gle day and fit in time to paint on week­ends!

We un­der­stand you are a trained deep sea diver. Where did you learn?

I trained for my 18m Padi li­cense in Krabi, Thai­land. Then I went on for my 30m and Nitrox li­censes the Mal­dives. I have al­ways loved swim­ming in the ocean and was cu­ri­ous about life be­neath its sur­face.

Is run­ning a com­pany sim­i­lar to div­ing into deep wa­ters?

Div­ing re­quires a great deal of plan­ning, a calm tem­per­a­ment and abil­ity to face uncer­tain­ties. Plan­ning be­cause there is fi­nite vol­ume of air in the tank. Calm tem­per­a­ment to main­tain breath­ing pat­tern and to not panic dur­ing a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion. Fi­nally, the con­fi­dence to face un­cer­tainty be­cause we en­ter a ter­ri­tory that is not ours and can­not truly an­tic­i­pate what can be en­coun­tered deep un­der­wa­ter. Busi­ness re­quires the same level of con­science. I am a huge plan­ner, es­pe­cially be­fore ven­tur­ing into a new in­dus­try. think it’s im­por­tant to build a strong foun­da­tion, but at the same time busi­ness is al­ways a risk no mat­ter how much one plans. There­fore, a lot of uncer­tain­ties lie in the process and it is im­por­tant to be emo­tion­ally equipped to face them. Al­ways be calm dur­ing a cri­sis, be­cause a leader should never panic dur­ing a cri­sis, it de­mo­ti­vates the team.

What has been the most chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion you have en­coun­tered at work so far? How did you deal with it?

One of the most chal­leng­ing phase of my pro­fes­sional life was when I first started work­ing in the fam­ily busi­nesses back in 2012. My de­gree in paint­ing, I think, wasn’t re­ceived too well as peo­ple didn’t take stud­ies in the Arts too se­ri­ously. I think peo­ple at work would have had a very dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion of me had I grad­u­ated with a de­gree in En­gi­neer­ing or Fi­nance. That per­cep­tion, how­ever, did not de­mo­ti­vate

me and I worked very hard to learn and un­der­stand the busi­ness and its pro­cesses. I fi­nally achieved the gen­uine re­spect I was look­ing for. Paint­ing is not about con­nect­ing brush with can­vas to cre­ate an im­age. It is the think­ing process a painter em­bod­ies that is of great use for any type of busi­ness. At the end of the day, I know ex­actly who my de­trac­tors are and I have my own way of deal­ing with them.

Who in­spires you?

I re­cently watched a doc­u­men­tary about Walt Dis­ney. It in­spired me greatly. Walt Dis­ney was one of the most pas­sion­ate en­trepreneurs in the world, ever. He had a great vi­sion that was be­yond any­one’s imag­i­na­tion at the time, and he fought against all odds when no one be­lieved in it, to cre­ate his­tory. He drove in­no­va­tion to feed his vi­sion and touched the hearts of peo­ple of ev­ery age, across the world.

What is your lead­er­ship mantra?

The abil­ity to cre­ate more lead­ers is the mark of a true leader.

How do you de­fine suc­cess?

Con­tent­ment.

We un­der­stand you in­tend to foray into the dig­i­tal world soon.

The scope of go­ing dig­i­tal lies in my so­cial im­pact startup Car­ing with Colour- A Manasi Kir­loskar Ini­tia­tive. We want to use tech­nol­ogy to im­prove learn­ing out­comes for stu­dents, use it for as­sess­ing stu­dents and for train­ing teach­ers at Gov­ern­ment Schools.

Has tech­nol­ogy changed the rules of en­trepreneur­ship?

I do not think that it has changed the rules of en­trepreneur­ship in terms of what it takes to be an en­tre­pre­neur but it def­i­nitely has in­creased the scope of work and reach. The op­por­tu­nity to in­vent new mar­kets cre­ate new so­cial par­a­digms def­i­nitely has ex­panded.

Do you still find the time to study Art and paint­ing?

I paint dur­ing the week­ends and try to get in as much of draw­ing in my lit­tle draw­ing book as I can while I travel. Paint­ing is not only time con­sum­ing but also emo­tion­ally tax­ing and it is dif­fi­cult to find con­sis­tent time for it. But I am us­ing and ex­plor­ing the Arts to its fullest ca­pac­ity to cre­ate ped­a­gogy for schools. That is very ful­fill­ing.

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