Ananya Birla

A Revolution of Empowerment Through Meaningful Work

Empowerment has different meanings for different people. Often one of the first and foremost powers that empowerment gives you is to lead a life that means something to you and in the long run; the society. It could be doing something for the public, or simply making a stand for yourself in the world by following your heart.

When empowered women came together on a panel at ROAR 2019Richa Chadha, a stand-alone actress for her work, Tanvi Johri, founder of the first biodegradable pads of India – Carmesi and Forbes 30 Under 30Diva Dhawan, a phenomenon model and Upasana Makati, the founder of the first English Lifestyle Braille Magazine of India, White Print Magazine and also a Forbes 30 Under 30, their inspirational stories on how they have led their lives so far and continue to do so reinforced, how meaningful work, can add to the collective strength of empowerment in a community.

Aditi Johar MirchandanRicha Chadha, Tanvi Johri, Diva Dhawan and Upasana Makati

Richa Chadha has established herself as an actress for playing niche roles representing strong, independent and powerful women across varied strata of India. As she dwells into her journey, she tells how her advent into acting was something that came naturally to her.

“Acting was never something I thought of as a career, it was something that naturally flowed into me and happened over time and still continues to unfold.”

Diva Dhawan started modelling at a young age. She was perhaps one of the youngest models and has so far electrified many ramps for eminent designers such as Manish Arora and Tarun Tahiliani. Diva’s was a journey of a woman who always knew what she wanted from her life.

“I come from a conventional background, where modelling was something that raised eyebrows in my families. But now that I have reached here, I can proudly say that I came here the right way. I followed my calling in the right way, stayed true to myself and everything automatically fell into place.”

Diva Dhawan for ROAR 2019

On following your calling, Tanvi Johri, made a mark for herself in an industry which was still in “whispers”. Founder of the first biodegradable brand for sanitary pads in India, Carmesi, Tanvi, now featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, simply started with her desire to make one less problem in the society.

Tanvi Johri for ROAR 2019

Upasana Makati, Founder and Publisher of White Print, the first magazine for the blind in Braille in India followed the same train of thought that has helped her build on one of the most innovative ideas. In one of her worst days of life, a sense of realisation occurred to her as to how a day would start for a blind person

“Everyone said that I am doing charity work and should go for an actual career and resort to these things once my hair turns grey. I believed that I am simply starting a brand which is an idea to solve a social issue that no one has yet attended to”

Because of Upasana, White Print has solved a major issue for the blind community letting them become self-dependent. She was at the peak of her career when she decided to start this company and has today been able to place her name in the Forbes 30 under 30 and then again in Forbes 40 under 40.

Upasana Makati for ROAR 2019

These women’s story comes out in its rawness, some of the most real and authentic journeys. But being authentic in a world that is constantly criticising comes at its own price. Richa who has been in the spotlight knows the struggle of dealing with what people have to say about her, and how hard it can make you go on your path.

Forging on a similar thought, Diva who was born and brought up in New York, faced many opinions when she started her career.

All those companies abroad did not want any kind of representation from this part of the world. And as for my body, I was constantly told girls are meant to fit into clothes rather than the other way round.”

According to Richa, living in a patriarchally charged society in India, people will keep attaching a value to you based on your looks or structure, etc, regardless of what your career is,

The truth of the society in our country is that we can have the greatest people in the world as females and there would still be some people to comment on her.

Tanvi, who is breaking the taboo about menstrual hygiene in India has also faced such obstacles where people would question and re-question every campaign she ran in the company, but she found a silver lining to deal it with.

I realised that anything I put out into the world, will always be faced with judgments and you have to deal with that because there will be other people as well who appreciate it and those are the people who matter.”

Similarly, Richa remarks “The people criticising you are not paying your bills. In future, they will be the ones to cue up in a line to take pictures with you when you are successful.”

Richa Chadha for ROAR 2019

She knows that it gets very hard but suggests to go on despite that and go on and do it for yourself. At the end of the day, it is you yourself you are answerable to.

Diva constantly advises women to never compare themselves to anyone because by doing that you get stuck in the worst place in your head. Especially while being in the entertainment industry you need to detach yourself from all the judgements passed around about you because by the end of the day they forget that you too are a human being and they are simply not the people you need to associate yourself to.

Six years back, when Upasana started working on her idea to build White Print, she knew it was not an easy path. However, it was her belief that still makes her go on every day. She said, “I was so convinced with my Plan A that I don’t need to keep a Plan B in mind so that I have no option to quit in the middle. The journey to your dreams is tough, no one says otherwise but it is going to be interesting because you yourself chose this path and are accountable for it. Any amount of challenges will not put you down.”

Fear of failure is something that doesn’t leave a person no matter where they reach. As Richa beautifully explains, “Fear of failure is a fear that never leaves your life because your life is like scaling the different heights of a mountain when you get to top it’s a wonderful feeling but you realise that the journey from here is even tougher.”

Diva was one of the first models to start walking the ramp and after many years, she has her own definition of empowerment, “Every morning when I wake up, I practice saying Thank You for every part of myself, inside out, and suggests everyone do the same. That will help you not look at the next person and compare yourself to them. Their destiny and path are different from yours and their standard don’t uphold your beliefs. Trying every day to thrive and survive against all odds is what I call not failing.”

These successful women gave us the most inspiring learnings from their life so that we can look ahead in our life and stay empowered to do what we want. That is the main goal of ROAR 2019 to bring out the rebel in all of us and do our thing without thinking of the challenges and judgements that come our way.

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