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More than words

Sumathi Srinivas. Photo: Yash Suda

Sumathi Srinivas. Photo: Yash Suda  

Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Sumathi Srinivas on addressing the British Parliament earlier this year

An invite to speak at the British Parliament would probably excite most people out of their wits. But not entrepreneur, media person and motivational speaker, Sumathi Srinivas. Through the day, she gets several calls, starting at 7 a.m., (her day starts at 4.30 a.m.), right up to the time she gets back at 10 p.m., and sometimes even after midnight. “I get hundreds of requests from colleges to give motivational talks. So, when I got the invite {from Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament, UK} in March to speak on women entrepreneurs, I took it as any other invitation, without really realising how huge an opportunity it was,” says Sumathi, who runs an event management company called Twilite Creations, and is the editor of Women Exclusive magazine. However, the magnitude of it sunk in as she waited for her U.K. visa to be processed.

“For the first time, I sat down and wrote my speech and rehearsed it,” she says, pausing for a second and laughing, “But, I never spoke a word of what I memorised.” Instead, Sumathi, one of the six, and the only woman speaker, at the conference that aimed at strengthening Indo-U.K. trade relations, focussed on simply being honest about her 12-year journey as an entrepreneur, who had only a dream to begin with. She touched upon the need for women to break free, be independent, and believe in themselves, and added a relevant quote by Subramani Bharati and an ancient two-line Sanskrit prayer in her speech. It was a hit with the audience. She is quick to give the credit to prayers, patience and the (Pondicherry) Mother. They are probably the three constants in her life, as she transformed from housewife to CEO.

“As a child, I was brought up with a set thought: get educated, then be a ‘good’ wife. No woman in my family worked,” she recalls. While Sumathi did get married immediately after her graduation, almost a decade later, with twin sons and a postgraduate degree in sociology and psychology, she decided to rewrite her story. She came up with Mrs. Homemaker, a platform to empower housewives (which also later became a reality show), and set up her event management company simultaneously. Even as it kicked off, she introduced the first edition of Women Exclusive, a four-page tabloid then and an around 140-page magazine now.

Soulmates Foundation, an organisation to help educate disadvantaged kids, and Elite Women’s Club, a 500-member network of women who have the means to support society, were established in the last five years.

Now, with her latest baby Insights, which supports start-ups, and mid-level and established professionals — be it with counselling, or balancing work and life — she has her plate full. “It’s important to not be weighed down by responsibilities. So as soon as I come to office, I surrender to the day. Listening to old Tamil songs helps too. I tell myself that nothing is mine, and that I have just been positioned here to do my part.”

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 5:30:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/sumathi-srinivas-inspires-entrepreneurs-across-the-world/article8576155.ece

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