CHARTING NEW TERRITORIES
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?
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.