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Rashmi Bansal 10/10

We were in conversation with Rashmi Bansal, our Learning Monday guest.

‘Shine Bright’ on ‘intrapreneurship’ is her 10th book in 10 years.

Rashmi started writing at 7 as a student in the US. The freedom to write on “anything” gave her the needed freedom of expression. It did not suck out my creative juices as a topic “Science Boon or Bane” may have done.

Her work was selected to be published in the Christian Science Monitor!

Daughter of a scientist, Rashmi was back in India. She grew up in the green campus of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) campus.

Rashmi excelled at school. “I was smart and had a good memory and spent most of time reading. I often borrowed one book a day”.

Rashmi topped school in the 10th class board exams. She took science in the 11th at St. Xavier’s College, but this daughter of scientist/ astrophysicist daughter, did not enjoy science.

She “escaped” to do her 12th in the US and by the time she returned, most of the college admissions were closed.

She chose to study Arts at Sophia College, and used her time to participate in many college events, write and get published.

Persistent about what she wants, Rashmi is a strong thinker, executor, communicator and influencer.

Her life and work choices are bold and quirky. “It will be impossible for me to work for anyone”.

After opting out of IIM-A placements, Rashmi joined The Times of India and worked for a few years, having crafted a role for herself that straddled editorial and business.

She has a finger on the pulse of her reader, and a deep understanding of Indian youth, largely because of the magazine JAM that she wrote for 15 years.

Rashmi travels extensively to address students across campuses.

She tries to meet a couple of people who are doing well. She steers clear from well-known names and does a thorough background check on the person she will profile.

Her last book, ’Shine Bright’ took four years between doing the nine interviews and writing eight chapters.

“We need to work with government to create big impact”

10/10

We give Rashmi Bansal a 10/10  because her journey inspires us to:

  1. Give it a try

Rashmi wanted to feature in ‘The Middle’, a column in Times of India. She sent her write ups, getting rejection letters multiple times. But she didn’t let her rejections bog her down, she kept sending her articles, until on the 41st try she saw the piece with her by line featured.

  1. Stay true to our inner self

Dropping out of IIM-A placements is a tough decision, but Rashmi knew that writing was something that she needed to for herself, not as a hobby but as a career choice.

  1. Be creative in finding solutions

Rashmi decided to launch JAM, but with no major funding, she got creative with her promotions by promoting it at the St Xavier’s College festival – Malhar in 1995. She went the unofficial route and got people to wear t-shirts with the JAM logo on them. Guerrilla marketing to in the true sense.

  1. Be okay with not knowing what’s next

Rashmi was managing JAM, and raising a child. Attrition was on the rise as well; it was getting very stressful. Rashmi had to face the bleak reality that it wouldn’t be a smooth sailing. She wasn’t happy, she decided to rediscover herself. She started writing again, she even started writing for Business Today magazine

  1. Leverage our past

The columns at Business Today revolved around management and B-schools. This was a way for Rashmi to leverage her MBA degree. She always wondered why she did her MBA; the columns gave her the assurance that it was life connecting the dots for her.

  1. Not be afraid to reinvent ourselves

Rashmi got an opportunity to interview IIM alumni entrepreneurs to call out their stories to make it into a book. The book originally was just to be distributed at a conference. Rashmi took up that project with gusto and weaved interviews into stories. These stories are what we see in ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’.

  1. Stick to our guns

The people who commissioned the book wanted to include charts and graphs but Rashmi was adamant that the stories needed to be told organically, not to be interspaced with business jargon.

  1. Find our niche

Writing ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ propelled Rashmi into mainstream literature, she followed up the wave with ‘Connect the Dots’. Each subsequent book features entrepreneurs from different walks of life.

  1. Search for areas to contribute

Rashmi feels passionately that people need to relate to the entrepreneurs in the books she writes about, she fulfils this passion by having a few Hindi texts along with English writing. Rashmi wants to write in local languages with small towns as her target audience. This is what she wants to do, she wants to inspire people; for them to be hopeful.

  1. Always be on the lookout for the next level

Rashmi is far from satisfied. “I could have done more”, she says with a faraway look in her eyes. Moving on from non-fiction, she wants to reach her audience through fiction and has written a couple of short stories. She wants to broaden her audience; she is looking into myriad ways to engage with them. ‘I will start teaching a course in Entrepreneurship in Ashoka University’

Restless, seeking a larger canvas to impact, Shine Bright, Rashmi Bansal! You scored a perfect 10!

~ Vedashree Patankar, Deepa Soman

 

1992 - 1996
1996
1997 - 2001
1999
2001 - 2007
2013 - 2019
1992-1996

Initiation

Deepa starts working at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., and after working there for a few years decides to take a career break to take care of her son. The family plans to move to Jamaica, and she wishes to resume working. There are not a lot of opportunities post a career break for her, and this makes her realise the plight of women all across the world who are trying to resume working after taking a break. The seed for Lumière is planted. Deepa joins J.A. Young Research Ltd. to get back to her roots, and ultimately decides to start her own firm under her CA's advise.

1996

Beginning

Start of Lumière Consultancy in Jamaica

1997-2001

Incubation

The family is aching to return to India, and post the birth of her second child, Deepa gets an offer from HUL to rejoin them. She has an itch to make it on her own, and so declines. This results in a different type of engagement between the two, and Lumière engages exclusively with HUL by expanding their scope. Deepa builds a stronghold in consumer behavior, and Lumière develops into an entity of its own. Inception of 'Consumer Centricity', which is their future key to strength, begins. With an expansion in their work, they need more resources and a group of like-minded talented professional women to join the team. Lumière gives them solace, a place to grow, rebuild their careers, and achieve goals beyond their expectations. They begin with mentoring initiatives, with an urge to inspire young individuals. People approach them through word-of-mouth, references, and to create opportunities beyong market research, Lumière becomes a Pvt. Ltd. company.

1999

Establishing

An opportunity arises to be a part of something big, to analyse the growth mindset and the creation of a best practice document for sequential recycling. Lumière makes an impact across categories and branches into Product Testing and Category Creation.

2001-2007

Invigoration

Lumière touches ₹ 1 crore. Their brochure is presented at MRSI. The company turns 10, and Milind joins the team as an observer. This becomes the phase of Lumière's upheavel: from scaling up, digitization and automation of processes, to plugging in leakages across departments and accounts. Their billings reach ₹ 3 crores.

2013-2019

Innovation

Rashmi Bansal dedicates a chapter of her book 'Follow Every Rainbow' to Deepa and Lumière. The company enters adulthood, and they facilitate change management for Lumière. The introduction of the Gallup Strengths to the portfolio is a game changer. A revamp of the technological infrastructure ensues, giving way to an articulation of Lumière 3.0.