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Updated: August 17, 2013 15:04 IST

A fighter and a leader

Vaishali R. Venkat
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Pramila Mathew travels to different parts of the world to conduct leadership programmes. Photo: Vaishali R. Venkat
The Hindu
Pramila Mathew travels to different parts of the world to conduct leadership programmes. Photo: Vaishali R. Venkat

Pramila has not let her failing health to bog her down

Pramila Mathew is a buzzword in the world of training consultancy and executive coaching. With an MBA from Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve, Ohio, U.S., she has nearly 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management and counselling psychology. She is executive coach and CEO of MMM Training Solutions.

It has not been an easy climb to the top. Diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis, the odds weighed heavily against her. It took her persistent medical care and an amazing will to achieve success.

She says, “At age 26, I developed double vision. The problem persisted on an intermittent basis for three weeks and then disappeared as suddenly as it had come. The doctors put it down to stress. A few months later, I noticed that my left leg started to drag occasionally. The doctors were puzzled. I was informed that I have Multiple Sclerosis.” Shocked but not bowed down by her deteriorating health, Pramila did all she could to pull her life together.

Her organs were getting affected and by the age of 40, her breathing was affected. However, the turning point came in 2001. The wheelchair-bound Pramila saw it as a wheel of fortune. “It took me three years to see the glass half-full. But I have never looked back since.”

When she felt bitter about her situation, she turned to education for comfort. She went to the U.S. and did her Master’s and an extensive Post-Master’s work in Counselling Psychology. She then graduated with an MBA from Case Western Reserve.

She worked with consulting companies such as Cap Gemini and Ernst & Young.

Things took a comparatively smooth course till 2001, when her life came to a screeching halt. It was a battle of survival every day. Not giving up, she returned to India to live with her mother. In 2005, she started MMM Training Solutions, an organisation that provides soft skills training to corporates. Her workplace – the bed. Working a shift of 12 hours helped transform her fledgling company into a major player. She says, “Today, 85 per cent of my symptoms have disappeared. The only challenge I face now is of walking; but I am sure I will overcome it shortly.”

Pramila has been travelling to different parts of the world to conduct leadership programmes. She is McKinsey-certified and is part of their external facilitator network that conducts training programmes for the clients. “I address large crowds on achieving success amidst adversities,” she says. As her voice trails off, the flavour of an undying spirit lingers.

(A column about people who have beaten the odds)

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