“My inner growth must match my material growth and achievements.”
Sairee Chahal, the founder of SHEROES firmly believes in this above quote and her life is proving the same. An M.Phil and a PGDBM holder, Sairee kick-started her professional career while at college before co-founding her first startup. She is a Devi Award winner, apart from Femina Achievers Award, Cartier Award Alumni and Editor’s choice for L’Oreal Femina Women’s Award. When women empowerment was just becoming a topic of debate, she was working with her team by providing employment opportunities to them through SHEROES. We got a chance to know about her and her way to empower women.
BV: Being an entrepreneur was your childhood dream or it happened later?
Sairee:My childhood dream was a world of books and tranquility!
But, on a more serious note, I always had an inkling that I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship and build a business that creates value beyond the bottom line.
BV: How did the idea of SHEROES strike you?
Sairee: I started my venture Fleximoms to support moms wanting to return to work after a career break because companies don’t recognize their talent.
As I met more women, I realized the need to serve multiple profiles- entrepreneurs, homemakers, students, senior citizens seeking meaningful engagement. We got re-launched as SHEROES, a career platform for women, and have now evolved into a full-fledged online communities platform for women.
BV: Please tell our readers something about SHEROES!
Sairee: SHEROES is a woman’s platform, focused on serving all women on the Internet through an ecosystem of support. This includes mentorship, AMA sessions with experts, a 24/7 helpline, content, offline events, and conversations.
Some of the most active communities on SHEROES include Career Guidance, Health Tips, Love and Relationships Doctor, Aspiring Writers and Bazaar. Also, our community members see us as a safe space. They even have authentic conversations around aspects of domestic abuse, sexual harassment at work and career crises.
BV: Did you face any difficulty when SHEROES was in its initial growth phase?
Sairee: It was difficult to create awareness among companies around the idea that returning mothers (post-career breaks) are competent enough. The second challenge is that when we think products for women, we think “Pink” – fashion and lifestyle content; dolls, ponies and fairytales; intimate products and romantic films. Yes, there is a space for all this. However, we need to think much beyond and visualize products that can have a transformative effect on the lives of women.
BV: What is your source of constant motivation?
Sairee: The SHEROES I meet every day inspire me- women with aspirations, who have a dream for themselves!
Also, my mother and my daughter, two strong women of different generations are my inspiration. They have taught me much about leadership, empathy, and patience!
BV: Goals for SHEROES for 2018!
Sairee: In 2018, we aim to make our communities stronger- through conversations, content, champions, and support for the women of SHEROES. We also aim to make it more inclusive by reaching more women and reducing barriers through digital innovation.
BV: Your message for all the women.
Sairee: Ladies, it’s important to invest in yourself. Build a network of mentors and champions who believe in you. Pursue courses/ programmes that can enhance and add value not just to your career but also life. Also, it’s important to believe in you.