The Entrepreneurial journey of Neha from Startup – Mother - Startup.
21st, November 2017 - Featured entrepreneur
Let us consider a story, the story of Meera, Meera was a talented, hardworking girl, working in 'x' IT firm. She was successfully earning, respect and money. Then to add in her happiness, she got married and then the cycle rolled real quick. She was blessed with babies and got engaged in her marital responsibilities. A few years later, when she realized that she wanted to work again, she noticed the huge gap and the same talented girl lost the confidence to enter the workforce. The story ends here. Does this story sound familiar? It is the story of 50% of working women. While being in one of the most beautiful phases of life, carrying one of the greatest responsibilities, that is while being a wife, while being a mother, an independent identity of a woman gets lost somewhere. Even after being perfect, there’s then always something that hurts. This explains the reason why only 40% of average women are at workforce's entry level, 10% at management level and only 1% at CEO level. Even the companies face major challenges while recruiting such women. There’s this huge gap which must be filled.
Neha Bagaria, being a woman and a working lady herself, understood this. Neha had a wonderful life and immense career opportunities. She graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with majors in Finance, Marketing, and MIS. During her last semester at college, she founded her first company Paragon to introduce the Advanced Placement Program in India, becoming the College Board Representative of India, which is the body that governs the SAT and AP examinations worldwide. When marriage brought her to Bangalore, she started working with Kemwell, a pharmaceutical services company, in the fields of HR, Finance and Marketing strategy. She continued to work there for 5 years.
Neha Bagaria was backset from her career for 3- 4 years during her pregnancy period and during her this personal journey, she realized various difficulties a woman faces to re-enter the workforce. This made her aware of all other such women who stopped working for such personal reasons and then never returned to the workforce. This was sad and heartbreaking. Neha keenly studied the challenges of women which restrict them, she realized that these challenges need to be addressed. These included requiring flexibility, regaining confidence, retraining, overcoming biases and changing mindset. This lady then came forward with hope for all such ladies. On March 2015, women’s day, she decided to give tribute to all such women who are willing to change the society and she founded ‘Jobsforher’.
‘Jobsforher’ is an initiative where a woman can find various jobs of her choice. It’s a two-sided marketplace in which ‘Jobforher’ costumes include women on a break at one end and companies on another end. A woman can find Part-time jobs, Full time, virtual jobs suitable to her profile and position. Finding what you want, while sitting comfortably at your home is the best gift a woman can get! Neha has definitely been a hope for all those ladies.
Whenever there comes a word, ‘gap’, it has a pretty negative effect on the workforce. A mother taking a gap for her child, who will be a tomorrow’s citizen, should be appreciated. However, the workforce in India totally looks down to it. Before, Jobsforher, women were advised to hide this gap in their resumes. Now, because of the JFH portal, women (and society) are breaking down these internal barriers and realizing that they represent a talent pool which is experienced, qualified, capable, and recharged. Jobsforher is helping the women to reconnect with the workforce.
However, the facts do count. It is true that when a person takes a break from the job for a long duration, even the skills setback. A person hence needs a proper training to be back in this race. When we especially talk about the woman this scenario becomes more complicated and rigid. As for a woman, this break is a complete offset of her work and hence the reskilling process plays a significant role here. Also, when there’s a major setback in career, women tend to lose their confidence. However, the initiative, 'Jobsforher' has launched a new vertical dedicated to reskilling. Jobsforher host a number of free and paid online and offline courses on their website. Additionally, women could take classes/workshops, attend meetups, watch mentor videos on YouTube and attend weekly online webinars. This has made women confident enough to face the challenges and overcomes the gap.
“A sabbatical from work is the best time to upgrade your skills in your particular field of expertise. Re-skilling will not only show how passionate you are about your field but will also boost the professional development section of your resume. We found that reskilling keeps the women motivated and prepares them to handle questions at interviews.” Says Neha Bagaria, a true hero and the founder of Jobshorher.
An initiative which was started due to the ignited soul, a with a team of 6 women is now a successful startup with a team of total 42 women, out of which 75% are Restarters. The women who understood how difficult the second career journey is joined hands with Neha.
Everyday, women restarting their careers through JobsForHer in a plethora of job opportunities ranging from full time, part time, work-from-home, freelance, volunteer, as well as returnee internships.Some of the successful stories of women who restarted their careers at Accenture, Epsilon, JC Penny, etc. Some women have restarted as the AVP/Branch Head at Kotak Mahindra Bank, to technical jobs at Sapient, to the CIO at a startup. In fact, they have launched an e-book called “Way Back to the Way Forward” to chronicle some of their restarter journeys.
We conducted the first edition of our flagship event ‘RestartHer’ – India’s largest conference and career fair for women returning to work. The event saw widespread participation from over 3,000 women returnees along with a wide variety of corporates, speakers, mentors, influencers as well as career experts. The key highpoints of the conference and career fair were the panel discussions, workshops and mentoring sessions to aid women returnees as well as facilitate corporates in offering career opportunities and guidance to returning professionals.
We cannot be more proud of the emerging talents like Neha Bagaria. They have made the womanhood proud. These are the ladies who slap the stereotypes and explain the true concept of feminism. When asked about her guidance to budding entrepreneurs, she quotes, “Until we do, we won’t be able to create the ecosystem required to support this challenging journey to the top of the corporate ladder. We will need to rally the troops and have our backbone structure in place - parents, in-laws, extended family, friends, and yes, husband too. We will need to stop caring about people who don’t understand and help the people whom we care about to understand. We will need to make sacrifices and compromises about being there for everyone all the time and having everything perfect. And we will need to stop feeling apologetic about it.” She has been a true hope for women wanting to re-enter into the workforce and a great inspiration to budding women entrepreneurs. We are all proud of such ladies.
Neha says"I have realized how often women tend to hold themselves back because of fear. It is important to recognize our fears and to name them; only then can we find a path to overcome them.
For a woman entrepreneur to succeed in the competitive business landscape, it is imperative that we become comfortable giving equal weightage to our careers as we do to our other obligations, roles and responsibilities. And for that we need to build a thick skin and a strong support system.
Until we do, we won’t be able to create the ecosystem required to support this challenging journey to the top of the corporate ladder. We will need to rally the troops and have our backbone structure in place - parents, in-laws, extended family, friends, and yes, husband too. We will need to stop caring about people who don’t understand, and help the people whom we care about to understand. We will need to make sacrifices and compromises about being there for everyone all the time and having everything perfect. And we will need to stop feeling apologetic about it".
So, women, let the burden go off your shoulder, remove the chips and let yourself fly high with your dreams. Pack your bags for this new adventurous journey with www.jobsforher.com.
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