Meet Dhwani Jain, an Engineer turned Social Entrepreneur, Founder of the KARMA Foundation.
She is the State President of UP Soft Skills & Mentoring Council at Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) and has been recognized as the ‘Global Change Maker’ and titled as Dhasu Womaniya by Niti Aayog powered Women Entrepreneurship Platform. She is passionate about the cause of gender equality and women’s safety and running a campaign to end gender stereotyping. She ran a health & wellness center at Tihar Prison and an education center for underprivileged children in Delhi.
Dhwani has represented India on various International platforms prominent among them as the head of the Indian delegation to BRICS & SCO International Spring Festival. She has been featured by ‘HerMoneyTalks’ and by ‘Insights Success’ in the special edition of ‘Women Entrepreneurs – 2020’.
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Table of Contents
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Dhwani Jain: In view of the 2nd wave of the Covid pandemic in the country, we launched Mission O2 with a vision to augment the health and oxygen infrastructure of the country. In a short span of one month, we were able to procure medical-grade oxygen from Europe and provided relief in remote and inaccessible areas of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and slums in Delhi.
We have also started a mobile oxygen bank in Uttarakhand to address the oxygen problem in the state and aid COVID-19 patients.
However, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. It included working non-stop for raising funds, finding suppliers and chasing them to procure supplies, coordinating with logistics partners, securing clearance from exporting authority, getting customs and tax clearances in India, receiving the shipments, identifying the beneficiaries, again sending them to a remote corner, and finally ensuring that the healthcare worker was able to follow the manual to use the aid.
Additionally, under the present circumstances when vaccination is the only long-term solution to the COVID-19 crisis, we have started Mission #Kavach to expedite the vaccination drive in the country and support the government and associated institutions.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Dhwani Jain: There are many people who have had an impact on my life. But first and foremost, the biggest source of inspiration and my role models are my parents. All I am today is because of their upbringing and the values that I have imbibed from them.
They have taught by example how to remain positive in the face of adversity and to keep sailing through rough times. I remember when I decided to leave my job and take on the path of social entrepreneurship, almost everyone thought I was crazy to take such a step so early in my career. But my parents and brother stood by me, motivated me, and gave me the freedom to take such an unconventional decision. Even today, they push me to do better every day and inspire me to become the best version of myself.
On the other hand, I am also grateful to people who had doubts about me because that gave me another kind of motivation to prove myself.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Dhwani Jain: The worst advice has been to follow societal norms and pursue a career in domains that were not male-dominated.
It started as early as my school days when I decided to pursue Engineering. Interestingly, a well-educated so-called progressive woman suggested that I change my decision considering engineering to be a field dominated by men. This happened again when I got my campus placement in Oil Exploration and continues to date. Even today, I am told to behave like a lady and so on.
I feel if I had followed this advice, I would have not been able to follow my dreams. I sincerely believe that every individual must take independent decisions as per their innate capabilities and self-assessment.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Dhwani Jain: Resilience is the ability to bounce back and withstand adversity. This would mean bouncing back from a stressful encounter and not letting it affect our internal motivation. It is not a “bend, but don’t break” trait, rather resilience is accepting the fact that ‘I am broken’ and continuing to grow with the broken pieces together.
When we are resilient, we not only adapt ourselves to stress and disappointments, we also grow the insight to avoid actions that might lead us to face such situations. This includes being able to effectively regulate thoughts and emotions, to perceive challenges as an opportunity to display inner strength and character.
Living in Covid times, it is only natural to feel emotionally tied down at times. Therefore, resilience takes a centre stage as it enables us to have a positive approach towards work and a positive outlook on life, which in turn enables better problem-solving and helps to maintain motivation.
For me, resilience is not about winning the battle. Rather, it is the strength to power through the storm and still keep the sail steady.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision, or values?
Dhwani Jain: Our mission, vision, and values are all in sync with each other and complement one another. Our mission and vision are to build an inclusive and participatory society wherein every individual lives a life of dignity as an empowered and self-reliant entity. We can not achieve our mission if we lose our values. Our values are our biggest strength to achieve our vision.
So in a sense, I can say that Values are most important to us and will ultimately help us realize our mission and vision.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Dhwani Jain: The life of a social entrepreneur is very uncertain. Even today, every day I wake up to a new challenge. So, it is important to keep yourself motivated all the time and to think out of the box to find a solution to everyday challenges.
So there are multiple traits that can be attributed to my success so far, but most importantly it has been my firm determination to achieve my dreams, positive attitude in the face of adversity, and effective communication with the team to work together for a common vision.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Dhwani Jain: Absolutely.
The personal brand of the CEO works in harmony with and runs alongside a company brand. I am a humanitarian and strongly believe in the ability of an individual to bring about a desired change in the world through their Karma i.e. the power of their thoughts, words, and actions. This is exactly what my organization is also working on and we look forward to building an inclusive society through our own collective actions.
I feel our two brands will share common values and goals and both complement each other. Each brand is instrumental in strengthening the other, making it a win-win situation.
How would you define “leadership”?
Dhwani Jain: Leadership is the ability of an individual to inspire a group of people to follow a vision and convert thoughts into real actions. An effective leader would always lead by example. She must be able to communicate her ideas effectively and share her vision with the team. A leader inspires her team to innovate, think creatively and strive for perfection. Keeping the team motivated and focussed towards the set goal is the most important task of the leader.
A leader is ready to accept challenges, think out of box solutions, and is a pillar of strength for the team.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Dhwani Jain: Follow your passion!
Twenty years from now, you should not regret that you didn’t try or that you didn’t give your 100%. You will be responsible for what you did. So, keep moving forward every second. Don’t get bogged down by societal pressures.
People will keep judging you. But always remember, you know yourself the best. So, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and work on them. You may want to listen to the opinions of others but do what you feel is right. Put in your best efforts and don’t worry too much about the results. If you succeed nothing like that, and if you do not achieve what you want to, you learn a lesson for a lifetime.
And most importantly, remember that the biggest fear that we have is Fear of Failure that stops us from doing beautiful things. Overcome that fear and you will achieve what you deserve.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Dhwani Jain: “The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will” has been my life quote.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Dhwani Jain for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Dhwani Jain or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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