Interview with Varad Kamini Arora
“Where we come from does not matter. What matters is where we reach by means of our qualities.” It is true about Varad Kamini Arora, Head of Marketing & Communications at Datamatics Global Services Limited. She is no celebrity. Like most other women in general, she is from a humble background. But, her story is that of an ambitious woman aspiring to be independent and empowered in the middle class society. She pursued higher studies – PGD in Mass Communication & Journalism, and PGD in Business Administration – to make it big in life after her marriage at the age of 19. She is a living example of a working woman, a woman leader and a dutiful mother. SliceofRealLife.com catches up with Varad Kamini Arora to share with you her inspirational story of struggle and success. The excerpts from the interview with her are as follows:
Who or what motivated you to make it big in life?
Every great success starts with an inspiration; although every inspiration does not lead to success. I have always believed that true inspiration comes from within and external events can only reflect the desire to succeed that is already burning inside. No wonder that the greatest source of my inspiration has been my own zest to succeed and to leave my own mark. Having said that, there are certain incidents and personalities that can and do inspire. My father taught me the most important thing in life – to think independently; not to mention the freedom he provided me with to do so. This was a trend carried on by my father-in-law, who gave me the wings to fly and the opportunities to realize my dreams.
How supportive was your family behind your career moves?
I have been very fortunate to have had the right support of family at various junctures of my life. Be it my desire to pursue higher studies or to go after my professional ambitions, they have always stood by me. My family has always been at my side whenever I needed support and has provided me with the right guidance. However, they have never imposed any of their decisions on me and that has helped me in learning how to take my own decisions and be responsible for them.
You were married off at the age of 19. How did you manage to take up the professional journey despite the family responsibilities on your shoulders?
It surely wasn’t a cake walk. It was a challenge to maintain work-life balance, especially when I wished to do justice to the various roles I had to play in a single day. I have always believed that learning is a continuous process and one should grab every possible opportunity to enhance his/her knowledge. And I just followed my belief system.
A strong determination to excel and create a niche for myself gave me the required strength to venture into the corporate world. This was backed by the unflinching support of the family, who continue to let me make my dreams a reality.
Would you like to share the most difficult moments that you experienced when you were stuck between higher studies and the family duties?
Those moments are certainly not the ones that I like to remember most often. The toughest moments were those when I had my exams every quarter and sometimes they coincided with those of my kids. Those were some of the longest days of my life and were both physically and mentally grueling. Sheer resolve to surpass my own expectations had kept me going. I not only cleared my exams but also received the award for the ‘Best Communicator’.
Did you ever find yourself unable to perform two different roles – a working woman and a mother of two children – at the same time?
I think balance is a very individual thing. To me, having a career I am passionate about is important, as is spending quality time with my family. I did go through a stage where performing dual roles seemed a challenge. A few years back, I could sense that my kids needed a little more of my time than what I was able to give them due to my professional commitments. It was at the peak of my career, but I didn’t hesitate to take a sabbatical. That was because I had my priorities clearly sorted out; which, I believe is an absolute necessity when someone wants to maintain a fine balance between the multi-roles. I am ambitious but it is always tempered with realism. I also understand myself and have very clear ideas of where I want to be a few years down the line.
You are an award winning marketing & communication professional. What challenges have you faced on the career front till date?
Being at the stage in my career that I am, you might expect me to be a veteran of several career related challenges. While that is true to some extent, most of the challenges that I have faced, surprisingly, have stemmed from trying to maintain a work-life balance rather than from the professional life alone. When you rise up to a position that I have been fortunate enough to be in, you take professional challenges in your stride. They only serve to enrich you though their experience. However, the problem really starts when your two worlds begin to clash with each other. The good thing is that there is nothing that cannot be overcome with a strong willpower and focus.
Which qualities, do you think, make women successful professionals?
There are no shortcuts to success. The qualities that make women successful professionals are no different from those that make men successful. Having said that, prioritizing does make juggling work and home easier; while staying committed to your goals helps realize your potential.
Believing in my dreams and relentlessly striving to achieve them with courage, determination and persistence has worked for me and I see no reason why it should be any different for anyone else. My mantra for success says, “Have a vision and follow it till the end”.
You have won several awards and recognitions including “Leading Women – Chief Marketing Officer” at the Women Leaders in India Awards 2013. Do you feel empowered today?
Empowered yes, but more importantly, I also feel humbled and at the same time energized for more. These awards have recognized my performance so far and are wonderful to fall back on if ever I feel out of sorts. However, they are also a reminder of the fact that success only comes with a lot of hard work and relentless pursuit of a goal.
What is the employment scope, do you think, for women in the corporate sector of India?
The corporate sector does not differentiate between genders when it comes to employment. I think that it has been one of the premiere tools for women empowerment in India through the financial route. There are several women working in the corporate sector at all levels from executive to top management. I am sure that the scope for women in the corporate sector is huge and it is growing by the day.
What can improve the status of women in India? Any idea you would like to share….
The one thing that can make a real difference to the status of women in India is proper education. The ultimate aim being empowerment, education remains the most basic and the most important step to be taken in that regard.
SliceofRealLife.com thanks Varad Kamini Arora for the opportunity to interview her and wishes her all the best.