Meeting the Kinetic Businesswoman, Sulajja Firodia …

Sep 03, 2013 | Posted by admin in Events & Happenings   No Comments »

It was a chance Meeting with Jalpa Ma’am near the lift that set the ball rolling ,when I came to know about the  event with Loksatta  ,where Sulajja Firodia ,Vice Chairperson –Kinetic  Engineering Ltd  would be interacting with Actor Sonali Kulkarni in  VIVA Lounge. This is how it all started… and ended beautifully, with me receiving a prize at the hands of the young business woman.

VIVA is a weekly supplement of Loksatta, that focuses on the dreams and aspirations of young, educated, career oriented, professional Maharashtrian woman. And the celebrity guest in VIVA Lounge, for the forthcoming edition was going to be, for a change, a young corporate leader hailing from one of the oldest business families in the country. The event meant to showcase  how women of today have scaled unparalleled heights in various fields including international business and  highlight  the fact that the glass ceiling no longer exists for those who are independent, free willed and unafraid to step into unknown territories. Loksatta Viva Lounge celebrates the enterprising spirit of today’s woman achievers through this medium.


While most of us who assembled outside the mini theater at Ravindra Mandir had presumed that one would be meeting a very tough, hard hitting, bargain driving corporate leader, we were in for a real big surprise! Dressed in a simple white shirt and dark trousers, Sulajja made quite an instant impact as she seemed  ‘one-of-us’ .As the interview began  with star- editor of VIVA , Sonali  Kulkarni steering  the conversation in the right direction , the many facets of this seemingly simple businesswoman began to emerge . Sulajja  spoke gracefully and gently about her journey from her childhood , her growing years in Pune like any other normal child ,her achievements and of the trials and challenges she had to face  to be more than just being  ‘accepted’ to eventually become as an integral  part of business conglomerate  founded by her grandfather,H.K.Firodia . She inspired us with her gentle, yet energetic personality and her dynamic words . She explained that how in today’s world there are a lot of opportunities for women and they can be utilized to the fullest provided one worked  with dedication and determination. We listened in rapt attention as it was   a much needed lesson for all of us who would be entering the corporate world tomorrow. For someone who was a topper in school, a state level badminton champion ,educated in one of the best  B schools in USA , worked across the board in American corporates and who gave up her lucrative career and  lifestyle to return to India to take over the family business and become the driving force behind its success story, Sulajja also came across as a modest human being  and a wonderful daughter ,wife and mother .She made no bones about the fact that she was passionate and committed to  work extremely hard to take Kinetic to greater heights and also explained how she manages to wear so many hats and yet maintain  a very healthy work-life balance .Sulajja  has received numerous awards  like ‘ Face of the Millennium’  by  India Today; voted among the top 25 business leaders of the next century in a poll of industrialists conducted by Fortune India, awarded the Society Young Achiever’s Award for Business for the year 2002 and won the 2003 award for excellence as a top woman CEO from the Institute of Marketing and Management. She has also won the Young Super Achiever Award by Business Today for year 2003. Most notably, she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” in 2002.

As the floor was thrown open for the QA session, I was pleasantly surprised to  win a prize for the ‘Best Question ‘ as my questions to her were, “Have you ever encountered a situation of ‘Glass Ceiling’ during your working years and if so then how did you tackle it?” and “According to you , what kind of approach and attitude all of us young ladies should have, to help us balance our work life and our family life in near future?”

Well, there was a lesson to be learnt from every sentence that she spoke!!

I felt very proud to have won the prize and hope to make my alma mater feel proud in the coming times with more of such achievements. I specially thank Yashodhara Ma’am and Jalpa Ma’am who played a crucial role in introducing this opportunity to me and I hope they keep supporting me like-wise in the near future.


Divyangana Jalgaonkar,

MMS- Operations,
We School.


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