I started my career as a financial services headhunter – yes we all dream of being a recruiter when we grow up don’t we! Well not me – but I got to work at the largest headhunting firm in the world with some very smart and may I say, stylish people. Best of all – I got to work in the MetLife building in New York City which meant that my daily commute was through Grand Central Station – so of course, I was in love!
Then randomly one summer I met a boy, the boy lived in Hong Kong – we fell in love; long story short we have now been married for over six years and I moved to Hong Kong for him back in 2012.
Hong Kong too is a financial services hub and I continued my journey as a recruiter. During this time I learnt a lot – about client servicing, problem-solving with human beings as the ultimate solution and most importantly that no machine will ever replace every human job. People are the most significant aspect of any business and we need to pay attention to how we recruit them, grow them and take care of them!
While all this learning was happening, my husband and I were considering a major life change – his family is from Calcutta, India and he is an only child so there was always a little voice in our hearts that guided us back home. Finally in 2015 – we gave up our jobs in the banking world and moved to Calcutta!
Starting my own label
You might be thinking – what does an equities recruiter do in Calcutta? Well I was thinking the same and to be honest I struggled for a few months to figure out what was next for me. However, sometimes you fall in love when you least expect it and this is what happened with me – I visited fabric weaving looms in a rural district and just fell in love! I then started my own small business – handwoven clothing for the modern-day Indian woman. With no background in design or entrepreneurship, I started LABEL ISHANA with a lot of passion and hunger to learn. My recruiter training taught me to surround myself with experts – so I built a team that helped me lay a foundation and one that I could trust. I also learned that no matter what my product – ultimately every business is in the service industry – my team’s only goal was to keep our clients happy. This is something I learned from Tony Hsieh of Zappos – and it serves us very well at LABEL ISHANA.
Here I was – trying to keep LABEL ISHANA thriving and loving every minute of it but at the same time realising that my husband was ready for his next adventure. So once again – we packed our bags and moved to Singapore where he did his MBA at INSEAD while I managed my rockstar team remotely and kept the business alive.
This is when I learned the most important lesson – that there is no LABEL ISHANA without this team. No matter how big my vision and plans, nothing would ever happen if I didn’t have this team to support me and execute all my dreams.
Then I met a young entrepreneur here in Singapore who ran and events company and dreamed big dreams not just for himself but the team that was now his family – I saw in him the same obsession with his people that I felt. He wanted revenue to grow but he wanted each individual to grow with it. He took each of their wins and losses personally and wanted to be as present for them as they were for his dream.
Long story short – today I work for him and look after his “family” at Chab Events. Guillaume Chabrieres trusted me six months ago to not only come in and grow his team but also look after them, ensure their growth, ensure their happiness and most importantly remind them every day that we have got their backs. Most businesses at an early stage focus primarily on growth numbers and expansion tools, very few consider their people. Guillaume and Alexis – put their people first and trusted me to ensure their well-being during this growth phase.
As a growing business, we at Chab Events embrace complexity and differentiate ourselves by bringing fresh new ideas within the experiential marketing domain to our clients. This can only be possible if we embrace our people in all their differences and encourage our team to be thinkers. Our culture at Chab is to encourage passion – in behaviour, in thought and in action! Sometimes that leads to very “passionate” debates which then leads to the most extraordinary results for our clients. Our recent luxury event in Bhutan is a great example of this – we push our boundaries, we grow not just as a business but as human beings and we feel proud of who we are each day. We bring our opinion to each conversation, we celebrate our differences and we have a lot of fun together. As the person responsible for Talent in this family, it is my role to help unlock this immense potential in each of our team members and bring out the best for our clients.
Every experience for me has been an additive one – a conscious choice I have made with my career. Each step more rewarding than the one before and with each, I get to learn more. This for me is the biggest motivation and what gets me to work every morning. Thank you, Guillaume and Alexis, for trusting me with your family at Chab Events and I can’t wait to see what amazing things we will do in the coming years!