Radhika Gupta, CEO of Edelweiss Mutual Fund, is Pakistan-born and hails from a diplomatic family. Her life has been pretty challenging, and Gupta had to face a lot of adversity because of a nurse’s maltreatment, which left her with a permanent neck tilt.
Despite initial discomfort with her appearance, Gupta focused on academics, never allowing her disability to impede her personal and professional development after returning to India from the US in 2009.
It was after her return to India in 2009 that Radhika decided that she wanted to venture into entrepreneurship. Operating from a modest office with a minimal team, the entrepreneurial phase required hands-on involvement in all aspects.
Despite the difficulties, Gupta and her team successfully built a business valued at around Rs 200 crore. In 2014, they sold the enterprise to Edelweiss, leading to Gupta’s integration into the Edelweiss Group.
Subsequently, in 2017, she assumed the role of CEO at Edelweiss Mutual Fund, embarking on a new journey focused on serving retail investors nationwide. However, despite the many challenges she suffered, in her retrospective view, the decision to move to India has proven to be the most rewarding and best one.
As a TEDx speaker, Gupta delivered a talk titled ‘The Girl With A Broken Neck.’ Initially irritated by references to her physical disability, she recalls moments of frustration at airport security inquiries. However, when choosing a title for her TEDx talk, the phrase ‘The Girl With A Broken Neck’ struck her as organically fitting. Embracing the label, Gupta’s perspective on her neck and physical condition has since evolved.
When people brought up her broken neck, Radhika Gupta initially felt irritation, questioning why such attention was drawn to her physical condition. The repetitive inquiries about it elicited frustration, and she wondered why it had to be a significant topic of discussion.
Addressing a period in her life marked by contemplation of suicide, Gupta emphasizes the importance of open conversations about rejection. She encourages individuals not to grapple with challenges alone and stresses the need to talk about failures and rejections. Gupta advises taking time to objectively process rejection, emphasizing her belief that when one door closes, another opens, particularly in a country like India where numerous opportunities exist despite inevitable moments of rejection.
She experienced a period where she was dissatisfied with her appearance. Fortunately, she found solace in academics, dedicating herself to being a good student and using it as a source of respite.
As a mother to Remy, who recently celebrated his first birthday, Gupta emphasizes the pure joy motherhood brings. Contrary to apprehensions about being a mom-CEO, Gupta has learned that with planning and belief, managing both roles is entirely possible. She highlights the importance of understanding that, while chaotic, it is feasible to navigate the challenges of being a mother and a successful professional.
Radhika Gupta shares key career and life lessons, highlighting prioritization as a significant focus. Managing time effectively was a skill she possessed, but motherhood sharpened her sense of priorities, leading to a better ability to evaluate and say no when necessary.
In facing challenges, Gupta emphasizes the importance of one’s approach. Professionally, she identifies raising capital and gaining the trust of clients as consistent challenges. Honesty, particularly in admitting mistakes, is a crucial aspect she values. Gupta also underscores the difficulty of building a brand in India, emphasizing the need to be hands-on, patient, and resilient, given the time required to achieve results in such endeavors.
Radhika Gupta acknowledges her parents for instilling important principles in her during her childhood. The main takeaway was to overcome obstacles, work hard, and trust in generational advancement. Her father, who is over 70 years old and a testimony to hard work, embodies this value. Adaptability, gained from their unusual experience of repeated mobility, became another important characteristic, fostering an immediate acceptance of change.
In moments of challenge or low spirits, Gupta draws motivation from the desire to make a meaningful impact. She recalls an incident where individuals, inspired by her words or writings, expressed that it changed their perspective on their profession and career, demonstrating the influence she hopes for.
Radhika Gupta’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is straightforward but pragmatic: go for it, but be well-informed about the challenges that entrepreneurship entails. She emphasizes that entrepreneurship is neither glamorous nor glorious; it involves dark and tough days and demands that one give it all they have. Moreover, she believes that if a person wants to be an entrepreneur or pursue their goals, they have to do so thoughtfully and for the right reasons.
A bit more about her
Regarding her love for Urdu and Hindi poetry, Gupta traces it back to her childhood. Growing up in a household where Hindi and Urdu were prevalent due to her father’s experience in Pakistan, poetry became an integral part of their environment.
Despite learning Hindi for only a few years in school, Gupta’s proficiency in the language is a result of her deep connection with poetry, creating a lasting impact on her linguistic skills and appreciation for the art form.
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