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On 9th March 2019, Rise of a Rebel(ROAR 2019) greeted you with soft tones of pastels of blue, yellow and pink spread over the chairs, a pink stage with a shining “R” and messages of Self-Love, & “Do Your Thing” written all over flags over the ceiling.
The undertone of colours was a contrast to marking the union of bold, powerful and phenomenal women from; professional and entrepreneurial backgrounds; homemakers and businesswomen, under one roof to launch a cohesive Community of Women at Rise of a Rebel – ROAR 2019 on 09th March 2019.
Strategically placed on the first weekend after women’s day, ROAR 2019, is an initiative of three women entrepreneurs Rashi G. Menda (Founder, Zapyle & ISU), Medha Mukherjee (Founder, Feministaa Media), and Mannat Kharbanda(Founder, Bug Eyes Design) to bring together speakers, Moderators, Entrepreneurs and Performers on one stage in an eclectic mix of Panel Discussions, Live Funding, Performances and Workshops all based on one theme; bringing the rebel out of women to #DoYourThing.
ROAR 2019 started with the Founder’s talking on ROAR’s Mission, Vision and on simply creating a platform and a community for women to nurture and grow accompanied by Soundarya Jayachandran’s acoustic performance.
The first panel of the day was with Teena Singh (Model and Actress) and Yahya Bootwala (Spoken Word Poet). ROAR is an occasion to celebrate the Rebel within and this panel named as #DoYourThing had these two personalities who followed their hearts to break out the monogamy and discovered unique opportunities in niche segment for themselves.
Talking about being one of the very first models in India, to be successful in spite of having a dusky complexion, Teena Singh, the face of Vaseline and Nescafe said that the first and foremost act of rebelling for her was to get out of her birth city of Punjab & to discover a new life for herself in a big city.
Seconding her stand was the producer turned poet (not to forget the social media sensation), Yahya Bootwala who said, “I used to work so that my family would be happy and I used to do open mics so that I would be happy. There’s always going to be this middle path where on one side there is something you love and on the other, there is something you are expected to do and that middle path is the hardest to take. I started off on that path until I was sure that now I can leave the job I don’t like to do something I love.”
If we talk modern business, social media has established itself as a premier business tool in the era where Content is the King, but the question that remains Is Social Media Reel or Real?
For the second panel, four women: Mitali Sagar(Co-Founder House of MISU), Anisha Dixit(Rickshawali), Shraddha Bhansali(Founder, Candy & Green) and moderated by Malini Banerjee(Media Anchor turned Jazz Musician) sat together on a question that baffles every aspiring entrepreneur at the pivoting point of commencing their businesses; which is “What Works on Social Media?”
Questioning the authenticity of running a business Sharaddha and Anisha both focused on setting out the end goal before putting out content on Social Media and using it to promote something. According to Anisha, who is a famous Youtuber by the name of Rickshawali, “For anybody who wants to be on Social Media, it is important for you to have your own voice, to find out who you are and put it out in the world and eventually people will find you. If you want to continue in this business, you have to show your dedication towards it by making your presence count as much as you can. ”
One of the most dynamic Panel Discussions of the day was on What Does Success Really Mean? with Gabriella Demetriades (Entrepreneur (Founder DEME) & Model), Kubbra Sait(Actor) Prerana Langa( Ex CEO Yes! Foundation), Suhani Parekh(Founder, MISHO Designs); moderated & powered by Meha Kapoor and Ishq 104.8 FM.
Touching on the multi-faceted aspect of reaching success in their own journeys, this session touched on the topics of the ease of doing business in India for women, the HUSTLE culture that we are made to conform to, and how at the end of the day, what we take back to keep ourselves sane in a world of social media.
Talking about her own journey, Kubbra said “There is this glory that we put to this world struggle. Why do we put ‘struggle’ on a pedestal? It’s your journey and your journey means you win at something, you lose at something, you fail at something, and everything adds up to the human being you are. Eventually, your career becomes a part of your human existence and your career does not define who you are.”
After discussing the much-needed desire in the millennial women to #DoYourThing, the fourth panel was formed to throw light on what is the line between right and wrong in the workplace. How important is it to have conversations of Harassment in the workplace? Nabomita Mazumdar(Ambassador of Ministry of Women and Child Development), Aparna Jain(Author, Like a Girl) and Shalini Prakash(VP, 500 Startups) in a conversation with Vineeth Vincent constituted the fourth panel where they voraciously spoke about the high time to begin conversations on harassment, body language and sexual connotations in the workplace touching briefly on the Vishaka Guidelines and The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
According to Nabomita, “In the workplace, as per the law, there is no good or bad touch. In fact, there is no touch! Men need to be aware of where is the error and what is the line. Even the definition of consent in a workplace is not just limited to a yes or no. If a person who’s asking is in a position of power professionally, then the consent of the other person simply doesn’t matter by the rule of law. The moment the power walks in, consent doesn’t work in both the sexes.”
The day panels closed with a bang with the topic A Revolution of Empowerment Through Meaningful Work with groundbreaking women Richa Chadda(Actress), Tanvi Johri(Founder, Carmesi), Diva Dhawan(Model) and Upasana Makati(Founder, Whiteprint Publications).
It was an enlightening closing to the panels where women talked about how their work had created a deeper impact on themselves as well as around people in society, to which Richa added, “The people who are criticizing you for being who you are, are not paying your bills, and even though it is easy to say that these criticisms should not affect you but at the end of the day we are all humans and it should affect you. It’s hard when people around you don’t believe in you but you have to go ahead and do what you want to, if for no one, but for yourself.”
One of the major highlights of ROAR 2019 was its initiation to empower Women-Led Startups through Live Funding in the Startup Bazaar. Around 6 Women-Led Startups got to present their ideas on the main stage in front of two established women Pankti Mehta, Assistant Editor of Forbes India and Nruthya Madappa, Managing Director, Cowrks Foundry and moderated by Rashi G. Menda(Founder, Zapyle, ISU and Co-Founder ROAR). The winner of Startup Bazaar was Shubhi Agarwal, Co-Founder of LocoBuzz who was awarded Live Funding.
From the fields of Music, Jazz, Stand-Up Comedy, Storytelling and Flair Bartending, ROAR 2019 cumulated an eclectic mix of unique talents, giving a renowned meaning to Entertainment! Some of the moving performances at ROAR included Soundarya Jayachandran with her acoustic set and Mehak Mirza Prabhu’s storytelling. Jeeya Sethi and Supriya Joshi performed in an exclusive stand-up special by Femapalooza for the ladies. The event ended with a mix of jazz music by Malini Banerjee, Sofia Ashraf’s rap alongside mind-boggling flair, juggling by India’s first female bartending champ, Ami Shroff and a promise of bringing out Rebels through this beautiful start of the ROAR Community.