interview is a part of Startup Terminal interview series to mark the occasion
of ‘International Women’s Day’
Please tell us more about yourself.
Pooja Shroff: A
postgraduate from York University and executive alumni from London School of
Economics, holding a post-graduate degree from Utkal University and Graduate of
Management Education Programme IIM, Ahmedabad, I am an ‘edupreneur.’
|Manjula Pooja Shroff,
MD and CEO, Kalorex Group
Orissa. Our family was very conservative, where women followed purdah (veils)
system and there was nothing like gender equality. The freedom that boys
enjoyed was not available to girls. Girls were considered as a marriage
commodity, to be married off at an early age.
ability to stand up to my opinion were developed from those early days.
for my penchant for social services, sports and studies. Coming from a
conservation royal family, college education was not easy but somehow I
convinced my parents and they allowed me to study in a women’s college. Taking
it further, I went on to complete my master’s as well. It is this education
that has stood me in good stead today.
Who is your biggest influence in life?
Pooja Shroff: They
are several people who influenced me at some or the other point of my life, but
the one who put her everlasting impression on me was my grandmother Srimati
Devi who never went to school but controlled an empire.
What challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?
Pooja Shroff: A
couple of decades back when I started out, a young female entrepreneur, did not
inspire too much trust. I had proved my worth, my capability and my ability to
lead over and over again. The journey has been challenging, uphill but very
exciting and gratifying. I see all challenging situations as an opportunity for
improvement and excellence.
Where do you want to see yourself in next 5 years down the line?
Pooja Shroff: We
operate 40+ institutions across Western India and have created international
footprints in UAE by establishing a pre-school chain, under the name of
Blessings. The school’s portfolio consists of two Delhi Public Schools, one
International Baccalaureate School, 11 Calorx Public Schools, 20 pre-schools,
four Special Focus projects, Champions Schools (an Integrated Model School in
Gujarat) and a university.
expand our operations pan India in the next three to five years and add institutions
in the Middle East region.
normal as well as special students, to the rich and the poor equally. We would
also like to focus on vocational education and skill development.
by way of inviting partners to join hands to invest in Infrastructure
facilities. Kalorex will bring in the Institutional expertise/ experience by
taking over the Operations and Management of the Schools. Investments are
mainly pertaining to the working capital and growth of the schools. In business
terms, we call it an asset light model.
What is your message to the readers on ‘International Women’s Day’?
Pooja Shroff: Women
are the torch bearers of strength, whether in the domestic arena or
professional sphere. Women are emotionally strong, are able to multi task and
take risks and initiatives. My message to all the wonderful women out there is
to “find out and reach your potential”. Let us not limit ourselves to just one
day and rather celebrate ‘Womanhood’.