Mukesh Ambani

A Chemical Engineer from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Mukesh Ambani has pursued an MBA from Stanford University in the US. Being on the Board of Reliance Industries since 1977, he has played a significant role in the Group’s backward integration journey – from textiles to polyester fibres and further onto petrochemicals and petroleum refining, and going upstream into oil and gas exploration and production. Owing to his dedicated efforts in creation of multiple new world-class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies, Reliance’s petrochemicals manufacturing capacities have seen an increase from less than a million tonnes to about 21 million tonnes per year.

EXPANDING THE EMPIRE FAR & WIDE

In the late nineties, Mukesh Ambani not only created the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat, India, with a capacity of 660,000 barrels per day (33 million tonnes a year), but also integrated it with petrochemicals, power generation, port and related infrastructure. In addition, he set up another 580,000-barrels-per-day refinery next to the first one in Jamnagar. No wonder Jamnagar emerged as the refining hub of the world with an aggregate refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels of oil per day at a single location. He also spearheaded the development of infrastructure facilities and created a pan-India organized retail network spanning multiple formats and supply chain infrastructure. Since 2006, Reliance Retail has been delivering superior value to its customers, suppliers and shareholders and has established itself as India’s largest retailer. Its network of retail outlets all across the nation, delivers a world-class shopping environment and unmatched customer experience by virtue of its state-of-theart technology and seamless supply-chain infrastructure. Extremely optimistic about the future of the nation, he applauds India’s entrepreneurial spirit. He feels that every small entrepreneur in India can become a Dhirubhai or a Bill Gates as the entrepreneurial talent in India is huge. An advocate of innovation, he asserts, “Essentially, whoever is successful, whoever is going to do things that make a difference, is going to be talked about.” He feels that business is a level playing field where everyone gets an equal opportunity to excel. “Everybody has equal opportunity and I think that is true for everything,” he says. Despite reaching the pinnacle of success, he feels that there is still a lot of scope to grow and expand. As he puts it, “I think our fundamental belief is that for us growth is a way of life and we have to grow at all times.”

DRIVING A DIGITAL REVOLUTION

Mukesh Ambani has created global records in customer acquisition for Jio – the Group’s digital services initiative. He has efficiently spearheaded the creation of one of the world’s most expansive 4G broadband wireless network offering end-to-end solutions. It caters to the entire value chain across various digital services in key domains of national interest, such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, governmentcitizen interfaces, entertainment, to name a few. He is of the view that India has a mobile network that is better or at par with any country in the world and it is all set to become a “premier digital society.” He feels that the big change driving this transformation is the deepening of mobile networks that are currently working at a much faster pace than before. “It all kick-started in 2014 when PM gave us the vision of Digital India … 380 million people have migrated to Jio’s 4G technology,” he says. “Pre-Jio, the data speed was 256 kbps; and post-Jio, it is 21 Mbps, he declares with pride. He believes that policy steps are needed to accelerate the early rollout of ultra-high-speed 5G services that are affordable and available everywhere. He is certain about the fact that 5G will enable India not only to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution but also to lead it.

ENRICHING THE WORLD

Mukesh Ambani believes in knowledgesharing and actively contributes his rich insights as a member of various national and international organizations. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry, Government of India, and the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, India. He is also a member of The Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the Global Advisory Council of Bank of America, Stanford Global Advisory Council, McKinsey & Company International Advisory Council, The Business Council, India Advisory Group of the London School of Economics, Indo-U.S. CEOs’ Forum, International Advisory Council of The Brookings Institution and Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, India. He is an elected Foreign Member of the prestigious United States National Academy of Engineering. Mr Mukesh Ambani is an elected Foreign Member of the prestigious United States National Academy of Engineering. Only nine other Indians have received this honour. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gujarat and India Advisory Council of The British Asian Trust.

GARNERING GLORY

Mukesh Ambani is the only Indian to be featured on Global Game Changers List of a leading international magazine. He has been awarded as Economic Times Business Leader of the Year, 2017 and has won Othmer Gold Medal by Chemical Heritage Foundation, USA in 2016. He was offered an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee in and Honorary Doctor of Science by Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai in 2013. He was conferred the title of ‘Entrepreneur of the Decade’ by All-India Management Association in 2013.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF A BETTER WORLD

Mukesh Ambani’s vision of an inclusive India is being realized through Reliance Foundation. Spearheaded by his better half, Smt. Nita M. Ambani, Reliance Foundation was established in 2010 to provide impetus to various philanthropic initiatives of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The efforts of the group have already touched the lives of more than 39.5 million people across India in more than 40,000 villages and several urban locations.

Adar Poonawalla

The CEO and Executive Director of Serum Institute of Technology, Adar Poonawalla is a perfect combination of vigor, energy, and sharp focus. The son of Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, the young leader has inherited all the right and relevant qualities to run a successful business from his father, who had established the Serum Institute of Technology in 1996. Now in his position as the leader, Adar is taking his father’s vision ahead with real-time planning, smart innovation, and the zest to take the firm to newer heights of success.

STEPPING UP TO BE THE LEADER

Adar got the first-hand experience of running businesses by observing his father, who was leading one of the biggest enterprises in India today. He always learnt keenly and was motivated to be a part of the growing company. Therefore, after completing his education from the University of Westminster, he joined the company in 2001. He spent a decade across positions learning the tricks and trades of business and keeping a fine balance between the two main aspects — leader’s vision and learner’s attitude. He was then promoted to the position of CEO and now holds full control of the day-to-day operations of the company. Since then, he has taken major policy decisions that have influenced the growth of the company in a positive way.

SUCCESS LEADING TO NEW VENTURES

At the time when Adar joined the company, the Serum Institute was very much India-centric and was exporting to not more than 30-40 countries.

Adar saw it as an opportunity to expand the company’s business to other parts of the world and successfully accomplished the mission in less than three years. Since then the company’s exports have grown and now Serum Institute exports to 147 countries.

Also, In the year 2014, Adar Poonawalla initiated the launch of Serum Institute’s Oral Polio Vaccine, which went on to become the best seller for the company, and now he plans to launch a new vaccine for promoting health every year.

Lately, the institute also collaborated with University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, ‘Covidshield’ and is conducting trials in India. Adar has said India’s vaccination drive may begin by January 2021 as the company is hoping to get emergency-use authorization by the end of 2020.

AN EPITOME OF MODESTY, HONESTY, AND HUMANITY

The zeal to carve a niche has made Adar the honed leader that he is today. Apart from possessing great business acumen and being socially responsible, Adar Poonawalla also happens to have had a humble upbringing; being the only child to very fortunate parents did not spoil him.

In fact, his father had been a very strict parent to him during his childhood days and taught him the human values, shouldering responsibilities, and being accountable to those around us. Adar believes that his father has been the greatest source of inspiration for him and he has learnt a lot when it comes to the way one manages people, looks at opportunities and weighs risks.

He also believes, like his father, that wasting time on something that is not worth is useless and quick decision-making is a key skill for success in business. As a socially responsible entrepreneur, Adar has invested over $20 Millions in philanthropy and for various other humanitarian causes.

Smt. Savitri Jindal

SERVING HUMANITY WITH KINDNESS & COMPASSION

The Chairperson Emeritus, OP Jindal Group, Smt. Savitri Jindal is not only renowned in Haryana and India but in the whole world as a popular leader. She has lead with grace the life of a successful wife, a successful mother, a successful politician as well as a successful entrepreneur. Even though all of her four sons are successful businessmen, they are rooted in values and their philosophy of life is of Gandhism – simplicity is their special identity. She has also successfully handled the responsibility of Ministry of Revenue and ban cal dies in ayana, in the ast he is cntibting t the field of education as the Chancellor of Jain Vishwabharati, Ladnun, Rajasthan. Her role as the President of Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Agroha, a symbol of medical service in Southern Haryana, is being appreciated far and wide. A philanthropist to the core, she is extremely passionate about serving the society. Donning many hats with élan, Smt. Savitri Jindal is a living legend, whose life is an inspiration for one and all!

Q. You have played an important role in taking Jindal Group to great heights. Please share your experiences with our readers on how you went from being a successful housewife to a successful entrepreneur.

A. I was taking care of the house but after the sudden demise of Jindal sahib, I had to come forward to handle the business. If the shadow of a father suddenly removed from the head, then the mother has to play the role of the father. Jindal sahib left behind a legacy of keeping the society and family together in the thread of love. He had an amazing ability to take everyone along, so taking inspiration from him, I played my part as a link – both with the kids and also with the Hisar-Haryana family. I am very proud of my children, who have not only successfully handled the business following the path shown by Jindal sahib but are also living together lovingly and operating their business and family together.

In today’s environment it is difficult for two brothers to live together but it is a big thing for us that all my children are living together with love. Jindal sahib also thought that everyone should live together and our children respected his wish. We are all together. In my view, love and mutual trust are the keys to success.

Q. You are an inspiration to those women entrepreneurs who are trying their luck in various fields and aspire to achieve big goals. What is your message to them?

A. Knowledge, hard work, honesty, patience, mutual love and trust are the basic formulas of success in business. Jindal sahib used to say – “Each one belongs to us. All employees are ours, like family members.” I believe the same and my children also believe that employees are members of the family. I want to tell my entrepreneur sisters that you need to be always up to date about your businesses. Do your business with hard work and honesty; if you do not cheat on anyone, then God also helps you and you move forward.

Q. Despite having reached the pinnacle of success, you remain grounded and humble. We, at AsiaOne, appreciate your remarkable efforts to give back to the society. Please share some of the social causes which are close to your heart.

A. As a child, I have seen my grandfather, parents, uncles and aunts and both brothers and sisters – how they used to come forward to help the needy. After marriage, I got inspired by Jindal sahib as he used to take a great interest in social work. He used to say, “God has given us a lot, so we should also do something for the society.” He laid great emphasis on education because he believed that education is the right way to attain prosperity. He always used to inspire everyone for girl child education. He used to say, “If a girl studies, then two houses will prosper and if a boy studies then only one house.”

Education and health & wellness are subjects that are very close to my heart. I would also like to share one thing that wherever we have factories, we have built schools, colleges, and hospitals for the kids of workers so that they can study. Basically, our aim is to ensure that they can learn employable skills so that they may get employment after completion of their studies.

Vidyadevi Jindal Residential School, OP Jindal School, OP Jindal Global University, OP Jindal University – Raigarh, OP Jindal Community College are some of the initiatives through which we are trying to promote the talents of the country. Similarly, Acharya Shri Mahashraman ji has entrusted me with the responsibility of being the Chancellor of Jain Vishwabharati, which I am trying to fulfil sincerely.

As far as health is concerned, right now my focus is on the development of Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Agroha. Apart from Haryana, people from Punjab and Rajasthan also come there for treatment. Our team did a commendable job in the COVID-19 pandemic.

I believe that only a healthy and educated person can contribute to nation building.

Q. AsiaOne Magazine, through its “Greatest Brands and Leaders Asia GCC” series, endeavors to publish the inspirational success stories of top Asian brands and leaders from around the world who have enabled Asia to acquire a special place in the world. This series will highlight the contributions of top Asian leaders, who have contributed in making this world a better place. What is your message to Mr. Rajat Shukal, Global Head and Principal Partner, AsiaOne Magazine and AsiaOne Media Group for this endeavour?

A. I congratulate Mr. Rajat Shukal ji, and your entire team for the success of this series. I also thank you all as the initiative has given me an opportunity to connect with the world community. I am very much sure that I will definitely get an opportunity to learn from all of them. Keep doing positive journalism like this, which changes the lifestyle of people and makes them happy, healthy and prosperous.

Ananya Birla

Apart from being a karmayogi, who is living the dream, she is driven by the vision to bring about a positive change in society. Her venture Svatantra Microfin supports women entrepreneurs in the rural areas to grow and become financially more secure.

PLAYING PLEASANT NOTES

Ananya always chose to do things differently. A quiet, observant and introspective child, she had an interest in music since an early age. She learnt to play santoor when she was just 11 years old. As she grew, so did her interest in music. She taught herself to play the guitar with the help of video tutorials on the web. This was the beginning of a passion that continues to grow even today. She is an acclaimed singer who writes her own songs. ‘I Don’t Want to Love’ is her much acclaimed song which first brought her to the music scene. She was signed as an artiste by the Universal Music Group (India). Her debut single ‘Livin the Life’was launched worldwide in November 2016. ‘Meant to Be’ is the second international single to be released in July 2017 & has been certified ‘PLATINUM’ as per the standards followed by the Indian music industry, which makes her the first Indian artist to go Platinum.

EMBRACING LEARNING FROM ALL DIRECTIONS

Ananya studied at the Oxford University, UK, where she pursued degrees in Economics & Management. As a student, she developed keen interest in music & started singing & playing the guitar; while still managing her microfinance venture Svatantra over Skype calls with a capable team back home in India. During her stay in London, Ananya also worked as a counsellor for a student welfare charity. She met & interacted with many young people of her age who were suffering from anxiety & depression. This experience shook her from within & after returning to India, she set up a mental health initiative called MPower along with her mother Neerja Birla. MPower works to stamp out the stigma towards people with mental illness in India. It also sensitizes people towards mental illnesses like anxiety & depression that are so common in our society today & can be controlled with family’s cooperation. She felt a greater need to start Mpower because in India, it is difficult to change perceptions related to mental health, so she decided to take up the challenge of repairing the innate conditioning of the people which perceive mental illness as an evilHer venture MPower is a timely step in this direction as it is high time to fight for rights of people with mental illness & help them to be understood & treated supportively like any other person who is unwell. Under her able leadership, The MPower centre provides holistic mental health care solutions to children, young people, and adolescents, & their families. The foundation helps people with psychological difficulties lead meaningful lives without social exclusion. It also helps create awareness by organising workshops for the youth. Ananya’s entrepreneurial instincts led her to start an e-commerce platform – Curo Carte – which is a global ecommerce platform that provides handmade & high-end luxury products, curated from nine countries. The online portal is an amalgamation of design, beauty and lifestyle & offers around 1500 products across 70 categories. An inspiration to today’s youth, Ananya Birla exemplifies the courage to let go of the comfort zone and pursue one’s dreams by working hard to be the best at each & every endeavour, and light up the way for others simultaneously.

Sania Mirza

Born to a sports journalist, Imran Mirza, Sania was introduced to the game by her mother Nasima Mirza. Touted as one of the finest doubles players in the world and without doubt the finest women’s tennis player to have ever represented India, Sania Mirza’s achievements also include laurels like Arjuna Award, WTA Newcomer of the Year, Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and the Padma Bhushan to name a few. She has won 13 medals for the country. Sania is the highest ever ranked singles player in the men and women category in the last 30 years and has been ranked as 27th in singles and the world number 1 in doubles.

MAKING A MARK

Her remarkable journey is replete with memorable singles wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Marion Bartoli, & Vera Zvonareva. The world number one tennis doubles player acquired this position by recording notable triumphs over the existing toppers of the sport, which included Martina Hingis, Victoria Azarenka, & Dinara Safina. Her powerful strokes and effective style of playing made Sania one of the highest-paid & extremely successful high-profile public figures not only in India but internationally as well. As the first Indian woman to win six Grand Slam titles, she has set really high benchmarks.

TENNIS – HER CHILDHOOD PASSION

Born and brought up in Hyderabad, Sania’s journey began at the age of six at Nizam Club Hyderabad. She received her initial training in tennis by C.K. Bhupathi, father of another tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi, for the initial training. After obtaining professional tennis training from Sinnet Tennis Academy, Secunderabad, Sania joined the Ace Tennis Academy in the United States. As a junior tennis player, she won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles, which proved that she was meant to make it big in the realm of tennis. Since then, there has been no looking back for the champion. In February 2005, she defeated the ninth-seeded Alona Bondarenko in the A.P. Tourism Hyderabad Open finals. This enabled her to grab a WTA title, making her the first Indian woman to have achieved this feat.

THE UNDAUNTED TRAILBLAZER

Despite financial pressures and infrastructural constraints, she chartered her distinct course to success owing to her passion for the sport. While 2007 was the golden year for the tennis player as she was ranked the highest in her career as the 27th singles player in the world; the year 2008 brought a brief halt to the player’s career while she represented India in the Summer Olympics. She got eliminated from the singles tournament at the event because of a severe wrist injury. The injury led to her withdrawal from the famed tournaments. Although it was a major injury, she didn’t stop & continued with the doubles championships.

GARNERING GLORY

The ‘Pride of the Nation’, Sania Mirza has been featured by various national and international publications. An international magazine has named her as one of the ‘50 Heroes of Asia’. She was also listed among the ET’s ‘33 women who made India proud’. Time magazine listed her as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2016. Having played the singles, doubles & mixed doubles formats, she has chosen to share her wealth of knowledge and will join broadcasters Star Sports as an expert to analyze the day-to-day action of the ongoing Wimbledon for fans across the country.

Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote GCON (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger) is a Nigerian billionaire and the founder of Lagos headquartered Dangote Group with the designation of President and Chief Executive. He is also a member of the board of the Corporate Council on Africa and the Steering Committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative, the McKinsey Advisory Council, and the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum. Though he was born in a wealthy business family of Nigeria – his great grandfather, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, was the richest African at the time of his death in 1955 – he was so interested in business that even in his primary school he bought cartons of sugar boxes and sold them to make money.

This gentleman’s reputation precedes him, worldwide. The richest in Africa, he also surpassed in 2013 Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi by over $2.6 billion to become the world’s richest person of African descent.

DECLARING DOMINANCE

Starting in 1978 as a trader of rice, sugar and cement with a loan of $3000 by a family member, he soon ventured into full-scale manufacturing. Focusing on meeting the basic needs of the Nigerian population by providing local, value-added products and services, he expanded the Dangote Group by leaps and bounds.

Today, he heads the multi-trillion-naira industrial conglomerate that deals in cement manufacturing, sugar refining, salt refining, oil refinery, polysacks, beverages, flour, pasta, seasoning, real estate, telecommunication, steel and fertilizers with a presence in 18 African countries and employing more than 30000 people. In the late 1990s, Dangote forayed into manufacturing consumer goods such as sugar refining and flour milling and then in cement manufacturing. One of his subsidiary companies is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange whose market capitalization is accounts for almost 20 percent of the total capitalization of the stock exchange. The visionary leader also signed a contract for the installation of a large underwater offshore pipeline with CNOOC Group.

CONCLUSIVE CONVINCING

Dangote takes a no neither easily, nor seriously. In 1990s, he got a yes from the Central Bank of Nigeria to be allowed to manage at cheaper rates their fleet of staff buses through his transport company. In July 2012, he approached the Nigerian Ports Authority and received the rights of an abandoned piece of land on lease to build facilities for his flour company. These approvals are not easy to get, but Dangote is capable of convincing others decisively.

LEADER OF PEOPLE

He is passionate about doing everything for the people of Nigeria. He encourages them to invest within the country and keep their profits or rewards with themselves. Dangote’s telecommunications project resulted in building 14,000 kilometers of fibre optic cables to supply in entire Nigeria. For this, he was honored as the leading provider of employment in Nigerian construction industry in 2009.

Acknowledging his extensive efforts towards manufacturing and employment in Nigeria, in 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as the Chairman, National Job Creation Committee to assist the government in creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.

As a result of his global impressive contributions, recently in June 2021, he has been honoured with Cameroon’s top civilian award – the Commander of the National Order of Valour.

In 2015, he was also among “50 Most Influential Individuals in the World” list by Bloomberg Markets and also won ‘the Guardian Man of the Year 2015’ award. Additionally, he is the Chairman, National Partnership Committee of Government and Private Sector on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); Member, Honorary International Investor Council (HIIC); a Malaria Ambassador; and Founding Board Member and Patron, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN), thus contributing towards various aspects such as skill development, good governance and reengineering of the economy, to name a few.

INTERNATIONAL LOVE

In 2013, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, along with six other eminent Nigerians, was conferred Honorary Citizenship of Arkansas State by Governor Mike Beebe, who also declared May 30 every year as Nigeria Day in the US. Dangote is not only a foremost industrialist in Africa, he is equally loved and respected abroad. He is a member of several national and foreign organizations through which he contributes to the growth and development of people of several countries.

He has been quite active in philanthropic activities including the United Nations’ World Food Programme, Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum, United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Corporate Council on Africa, and many others thus contributing towards global education and eradication of polio. Dangote entrusted a $3.3 million complex to Bayero University Business School. He also donated 150 fully kitted operational cars to the Nigeria Police Force and 200 housing units to Boko Haram victims – mostly women and children. He was also associated with the board of directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. In addition to this, he had contributed N50 million (US$ 500,000) to the National Mosque under the aegis of “Friends of Obasanjo and Atiku” and N200 million to the Presidential Library. In 2014, Dangote had donated N150 million for stopping the spread of Ebola virus.

Moreover, to speed-up the work in health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief sectors, Dangote made an initial offering of $1.25 billion to the Dangote Foundation which now has become the largest private Foundation in sub Saharan Africa. On behalf of his foundation, he also supports stand-alone projects which have potential for significant social impact and works with state and national governments and national and domestic charities. Recently in 2020, he donated N200 million towards the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Pramod Chaudhari

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari started Praj Industries nearly 40 years ago with a humble dream to build something innovative that would contribute to the making of a modern India. What started off as an entrepreneurial venture four decades ago, is today India’s most successful company in the field of bio-based technologies and engineering with presence in more than 100 countries across all five continents over the world. Praj is focused on the environment, energy, and Agriprocess industry.

Bio-MobilityTM and Bio-PrismTM are the mainstays of Praj’s contribution to global Bioeconomy. Bio-MobilityTM platform of technologies envisages utilization of bio-based resources for production of low carbon transportation fuels across all modes of mobility namely Surface, Air and Marine. Bio-PrismTM portfolio comprises of technologies for production of renewable chemicals and materials (RCM).

RCM produced from bio-based feedstock, are sustainable alternatives to products made from fossil resources. Praj Matrix, the state-of-the-art R&D facility, forms the backbone for the company’s endeavors. The zeal of working toward making the world a better place has been at the heart of all his efforts and still continues to fuel the fire.

FIRMLY GROUNDED IN VALUES AND GUIDED BY ETHICS

Dr. Chaudhari is an IIT Bombay alumnus in Mechanical Engineering (1971) and also holds an advanced management degree from Harvard Business School (1995). After graduating from his alma mater, he tried the usual route of working with the MNCs and building a corporate career. But, his dream was bubbling inside so in 1983, he gave his all to his venture – Praj Industries.

The organization started as a supplier of ethanol plants and today it is one of the most renowned socio-economic ventures with a wide range of sustainable solutions for bioenergy, high purity water, critical process equipment, breweries and industrial wastewater treatment. Owing to his foresight of creating a business in ethanol and scaling it to a level that Dr. Chaudhari has, he is often referred to as the ‘Ethanol Man’ in the industry circles.

Dr. Chaudhari had spent some time in his childhood near sugar industries and that is when he developed an interest in agri processing. He founded Praj Industries with a motive to support farming community.

PROUDLY TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

“Right from the beginning, as a proponent of sustainability I had endeavored to strike a balance between three P’s namely Planet, People and Profit,” said Dr. Chaudhari. His one true belief is that the 3 P’s are a perfect formula for sustainability. As an entrepreneur and a leader, innovation is what drives him. In the early days of Praj, Dr. Chaudhari had adopted the approach that innovation would always be the growth driver. He personally ensured that this culture was kept afloat at Praj in their day-to-day functioning as well. The company has structured programs, innovation awards and competitions to foster a culture of innovation. The company also has a dedicated R&D center called Praj Matrix which is a hub of new ideas. Creative problem solving is another intrinsic part of the culture promoted by Dr. Chaudhari. He also holds problem-solving competitions at renowned colleges, where he tries to identify talent and encourage students to consider careers in industrial biotechnology and green chemistry. This is not just business, Dr. Chaudhari is working to change mindsets about biotechnology as a career and raising awareness about the industry.

LEAVING A TRAIL OF GLORIOUS AND NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENTS

Dr. Chaudhari is one of the most respected and recognized professional in the industrial biotechnology field. One can’t talk about biofuel and not take his name. His consistent efforts and progressive work have been recognized globally many times. He was recently awarded the prestigious ‘George Washington Carver Award 2020’ by BIO-Impact, Washington DC, USA – he became the first Indian to receive this global honor. He was also bestowed with ‘D.Litt.’ by Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (TMV) for his exemplary contribution to the Biofuel Industry worldwide, and for establishing & institutionalizing a quality benchmark of Indian products & services at global level. He has previously been named amongst the ‘Globally Top 100 People’ in BioEnergy Industry by USA-based publication, ‘Biofuels Digest.’ Dr. Chaudhari has also been awarded the prestigious BioSpectrum Leadership Award for his extraordinary work in spreading the cause of biofuels in the past three decades. Under his able guidance, Praj Industries has also been the recipient of many industry awards. Last year, Praj Industries was ranked first among the “Best Places to Work in the advanced bioeconomy 2020” by ‘Biofuels Digest’. Biofuels Digest has also ranked Praj 2nd in a list of world’s 50 hottest companies in global bioeconomy for 2021 in low carbon fuels and renewable chemicals category. Besides, Praj secured 3rd ranking in the newly-introduced biodesign and engineering category. It has also been named the ‘Bio-Excellence Award’ by Government of Karnataka in the category of Industrial Bio-tech Sector consecutively for three years. These and many other premier industry awards and global recognition are testimony to the fact that Dr. Chaudhari is not only working tirelessly for a better world, but also ensuring the change begins right at his doorstep with his team and employees.

MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WORLD

In his journey as an entrepreneur and thought leader, Dr. Chaudhari has also ensured he extends his passion for social causes beyond his core business. He always believes in giving back to the society. In 2004, he established Praj Foundation to give an expression to all the efforts that he and his organization are taking towards social impact activities. Praj Foundation closely works with various NGOs and institutional partners on multiple projects in water conservation, education and preventive healthcare. They also conduct awareness drives to encourage more people to be part of the movement towards sustainability and betterment. ‘‘When you can do the common things in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world,” goes a famous quote by Dr. George Washington Carver. Dr. Chaudhari is testament to this quote. He chose one of the most underrated industries and made a huge impact. He put India on the world map and also became an inspiration to every individual who wanted to work in the biotechnology industry.

Unmesh Srivastava

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rajasthan in India and a Master of Science degree from California State University at Northridge, Unmesh brings a wealth of engineering experience to the company. His expertise lies in data-driven automation and technical solutions. Unmesh has also successfully completed the Emerging Leader Program at The Wharton School and the Artificial Intelligence Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

AN IMPRESSIVE CAREER

Before joining P3, the leader-cum-innovator was an Associate Vice President at Optum Care, where he led innovations and business transformation. Also, he oversaw the creation of new management strategies and operating models for UnitedHealth Group, Toyota Financial Services, and Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. Unmesh believes the experience he has gained from his internships and past work has given him a unique perspective on the art of sales and implementation, which is likely one of the reasons for his success. He is well known in his circle for his extensive knowledge and expertise.

A TECHNOLOGY WIZARD

Unmesh loves technology and stays abreast of the latest trends in the industry. With his innovations, healthcare providers have been greatly empowered. Among the technology products, he has delivered include clinical decision support technology for providers, data analytics, and artificial intelligence that enable seamless care delivery to patients, and multiple other innovations that reduce the administrative burden for providers and hospitals. Moreover, P3 Data Fabric—his brainchild, gives intelligent insights to the entire care ecosystem at the point of care. With this platform, partners of P3 Health can manage medical risk, care delivery, and patient experience by using advanced data integration, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

A GREAT TEAM PLAYER

Unmesh enjoys being in charge, just as a good leader should. The technically sound and focused leader is also a team player who strives to bring out the best in those around him. It is his razor-sharp focus on putting together a world-class team that makes him so successful. He deeply values his team’s participation and recognizes the importance of their involvement in the firm’s success. As a true leader, he develops a growth strategy and provides direction to his team to meet the company’s goals. With the help of his dedicated and proactive team, Unmesh has created a digital technology ecosystem and a data ecosystem at P3 that supports the experience of patients and providers. As a focused leader, he ensures that the entire team is aware of the collective goals they are pursuing.

TOWERING ACHIEVEMENTS

Like a true leader, Unmesh constantly looks for the next big challenge. His leadership qualities have earned him several prestigious awards, including the Digital Disruptor Award by Globant Of 2021, the Top 10 Best CTO’s of 2020 by Industry Era, Talend Data Masters Award 2020, and IFAH top 100 Healthcare Leader Award. Yet he doesn’t trust in resting on his laurels, but rather constantly strives to improve himself as an individual and as a leader.

Prasad Guntupalli

As the Co-Founder of Attra, Prasad created the company from the ground up, transforming it into a global technology services and solutions provider in the banking and payments space with over 2,200 domain experts and revenue of $75 million. Under his stewardship, Attra has grown to have offices in 13 countries across four continents, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%.

AN INDOMITABLE SPIRIT

Prasad is a first-generation entrepreneur who made the brave decision at a young age to soar beyond his humble roots by forging a successful future. He took up odd jobs at the age of 16 to get by. He began his career as an engineering apprentice. He paid his way through college by working and studying part-time and earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce.

He subsequently moved into the nascent Indian IT sector after being hired by DCM Data Products, where he quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted eight times during his nine-year stint in the company. He then went on to work for IBM for three years. Following that, he worked in senior positions at Pentasoft and Birlasoft, managing accounts in Sydney, Australia, and overseeing the Asia Pacific region. As the founding member of Pentasoft and Birlasoft in the APAC region, he swiftly scaled both businesses through customer acquisition.

Prasad devoted 18 years to the IT sector before embarking on his entrepreneurial adventure in 2005, establishing his mark wherever he worked by tackling every challenge with entrepreneurial zeal.

His successful track record of building numerous businesses from scratch compelled him to leap into entrepreneurship to uncover his true potential. In 2005, he associated with Attra, Melbourne Australia, founded by Anil Gammampila that primarily served the Australian market. Despite a solid earning potential and a secure job at the top of his career, Prasad invested his life savings in becoming a co-founder of Attra, with a mission to transform the company from a regional to a global player.

As soon as he took over as co-founder of Attra, he launched a series of transformative moves that catapulted the company to the next level, Attra 2.0, which began with the company’s first offshore development center in Bangalore, India. He said, “It was difficult to persuade customers to entrust their projects to a small delivery facility in Bangalore. We persisted in convincing potential leads for the next 12 months until we finally won the trust of a very large Global Payment Credit card company, the center’s first client and project.” With Attra 3.0, the company experienced increased growth and expansion, adding more services to its portfolio to meet the growing demands of customers. Under Prasad’s supervision, Attra expanded globally, opening additional offices and offshore development centers in various geographies and gaining a competitive advantage in 24 countries worldwide. Last but not least, he also oversaw the acquisition of Attra by Synechron, a global transformation consulting firm helping banks, asset managers, and insurance companies accelerate their digital initiatives. Attra has broadened its offerings beyond payments to include wholesale banking, wealth management, and insurance with the acquisition. It has also enhanced its digital, consulting, and technological capabilities. Prasad played a key role in leading the arrangement, which proved to be a huge success and a win-win situation for Attra’s clients.

EMPHASIZES A POSITIVE WORKPLACE CULTURE

Prasad believes that a positive and employee-centric workplace culture significantly improves teamwork, increases productivity, and helps retain employees. He has a well-deserved reputation for tenacity, endurance, and putting staff first. Creating a new practice structure to ensure that teams remain market-aligned and customer-focused is one of the notable initiatives taken by him for the development of his team. Simultaneously, he promotes a culture of continuous learning and development to encourage and support in-house talent.

He has also taken the initiative to create special career pathways for employees with untapped potential, preparing them for success and speeding up their advancement. Moreover, Prasad is also an advocate of gender diversity, which is an essential factor for the company in creating an equal and positive work environment.

As a result, Attra has 31% of women in its workforce. Attra has 85% of its senior management team from within the company, including 75% of the Business Unit leaders. Furthermore, the tech-savvy leader has pushed for the digitization of internal operations to boost intra-organizational operational efficiency.

ACHIEVEMENTS WORTH APPLAUSE

Several awards have been bestowed upon Prasad for his outstanding leadership abilities. He was named one of India’s “Top 100 Great People Managers” by The Great Manager Institute and Forbes India for modeling surefire strategies that encourage his technical leaders to grow and develop organically. Over 5,200 managers took an active part in this evaluation, and the best 100 were picked through a 4-tiered rigorous assessment.

He was also named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Payments and Cards Summit (5th edition) in 2017. Under his leadership, Attra has earned numerous awards. In 2019, it was honoured with the ‘Best Payments Organization of the Year’ award at the 7th edition of the Payments and Cards Summit. In the same year, Shri Nitin Gadkari, India’s Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), presented the company with the ‘SME 100 Award, 2019’ at the International MSME Convention in New Delhi.

VENTURING WITH HEART AND SOUL

Prasad is also a proponent of environmentally friendly practices. He chose to set up Attra’s new office in a building that was the first in India to be awarded an EDGE green building accreditation by the World Bank/IFC and the Green Building Council of India, despite having more appealing options. Additionally, Attra teamed with ‘Social Venture Partners Melbourne Limited’ under his direction to support seven not-for-profit organizations in their efforts to help underprivileged yet talented youngsters learn, grow, and thrive in life and work. In addition, the firm contributes to the PM’s Relief Fund (India) planting of trees to improve the environment and help farmers, and more recently, the building of essential infrastructure for a two rural school in India.

Fazeela Gopalani

A member of ACCA since 2004, Ms. Fazeela possesses over 18 years of experience in accounting and finance. Her mission is to increase the awareness of the importance that highly trained accountants bring to companies and economies across the world.

EARLY LIFE

Ms. Fazeela, who was born and raised in the UK, completed her Bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Birmingham and the University of Strathclyde, respectively. Before moving to the UAE, she managed and operated an accounting firm in the UK, where she offered specialised financial services to a variety of clients. She was also a Senior Manager at PwC in Dubai.

It’s no surprise that accounting is in her blood, thanks to her father, who was an ACCA member and ran a successful accounting practice in the UK, offering professional financial services to a wide range of customers, including private individuals, small companies, and large corporations. She decided to follow his footsteps as she grew up. The determined leader was constantly mindful of the ACCA qualification from an early age.

THE CONVERSATION STARTER

Ms. Fazeela’s role is to act as a conversation starter, to make people aware about the critical role that accountants play in businesses and economies, especially in the Middle East, through the implementation of VAT, IFRS changes, the incorporation of Islamic finance, business sustainability, and much more. Her position entails managing and developing strategic relationships with regulators, business leaders, stakeholders, and the ACCA Middle East stakeholder network in order to influence dialogue and discussion about key issues affecting the region’s ongoing economic growth.

FORGING KEY PARTNERSHIPS

Ms. Fazeela collaborates with a variety of educational institutions and government agencies in the region to help new generations recognise not only the value of the pandemic-proof profession, but also the critical role that a professionally trained accountant plays in the development of economies.

CONSTANTLY MOTIVATING YOUNGSTERS

With her ceaseless efforts, she has been successfully motivating the next generation to consider and pursue a career in accountancy and finance, while also emphasising the importance of financial literacy being ingrained at an early age. She believes that mentoring can assist young aspiring accountants in achieving career success. Her goal is to empower young people with the required skills such as creativity, communication, and collaboration, along with emotional intelligence, and empathy so that they can navigate effectively through whatever situations arise in this ever-changing global environment.

She regularly designs interesting campaigns to challenge youngsters interested in Finance or Accountancy. ‘Take the Challenge’ campaign, launched in January 2021 has been specially designed to challenge children aged 13 to 16, particularly those interested in accounting and finance.

She lives in Dubai with her husband and two children. She loves spending quality time with her family and maintains a healthy work-life balance.