Dr. Uma Rajarathnam

Dr. Uma administers various multi-disciplinary projects with immense dedication. An alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the US and the Saïd Business School in Oxford, UK, she has worked with diverse renowned organisations including The Energy and Resource Institute and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in the past. Her mentoring has greatly influenced a new generation of women to step up, join the energy and environment sectors and lead sustainable change. With her exceptional observational skills, Uma has led initiatives that maximise the use of renewable energy while focusing on delivering value to stakeholders across the globe.


A woman of extraordinary talent, Dr. Uma credits her success to a penchant for knowledge and a passionate belief that energy and water should be available to all in an environmentally sustainable manner. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and a Doctorate degree from the Centre for Energy Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. These have helped her develop a clearer perspective on how to utilise resources in a more efficient manner. Thanks to her huge wealth of knowledge, she has successfully published more than 30 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and books, exhibiting her adeptness and devotion to the cause.


As the leader of various projects focused on energy and environment, Dr. Uma has donned multiple hats during the course of her illustrious professional journey. Through her 30 years of experience, she has become a brilliant business leader and project manager, the head of Enzen’s innovation arm and an inspiring mentor for younger talent.

Dr. Uma has partnered with eminent international bodies and her work has been considered as a benchmark in the development of energy efficiency. Her assignments with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, along with other projects with the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, are all much acclaimed. The present time calls for immediate action to protect the environment, so Dr. Uma’s focus is on taking measures towards creating a cleaner world, while delivering positive impact to communities. These include optimising energy use, promoting the use of green energy and running programmes focused on creating smarter and healthier cities. During her time at Enzen, she’s led several transformation programmes which have helped save 30 million units of electricity and reduced carbon emissions by 28,000 tonnes. In addition, her work has positively impacted the lives of 1.2 million people across the globe.

Dr. Uma’s boundless efforts have been duly recognised and rewarded. Her work on climate change was an eye-opener and was instantly recognized as a significant contributor towards the UN International Panel for Climate Change which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dr. Uma’s concentrated work in the field of energy and environment has also brought her many laurels in the form of the Fulbright Indo-American Environment Leadership Programme Fellowship and the Chevening Rolls-Royce Fellowship for Science, Innovation, Leadership and Policy.

Dr. Shweta Tripathi

Dr. Shweta possesses rich experience that spans more than two decades in the water and energy sectors. She specialises in using knowledge to drive business strategy, solve problems and deliver solutions that positively impact our planet and communities.


Dr. Shweta holds numerous degrees from well-known institutions. These include a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Lehigh University, USA, as well as two Master’s degrees in Environmental Engineering and Management from IIT Kanpur/ Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and in Life Sciences from the Kanpur University.

Apart from her stellar education, she is a formidable research scholar with a number of publications to her credit, all of them reflecting her passion and belief for creating an environment that makes sustainable use of energy and water.

Well-travelled and with a multicultural outlook, Shweta is proficient in four languages: Bangla, English, Hindi and Oriya. She strongly believes knowledge is the backbone of a strong professional career and, when coupled with creativity, can lead to exemplary results. She is a Chevening Gurukul Fellow and has received the prestigious FQRNT Fellowship from the Ministry of Education and Science in Quebec, Canada, and the DAAD Fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service. Dr. Shweta has also been a Senior Research Fellow in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, Canada, where her research focused on nanotechnology and ground water remediation.


Dr. Shweta has worked with utilities, academia and NGOs from across the globe. Over the course of her career, she’s developed a keen eye for identifying areas with poor resource accessibility and has used this insight to deliver innovative solutions – a highly valued skill that’s enabled her to understand and adapt to different challenges in the energy sector.

She now heads a team of skilled researchers at Enzen, a leader in the energy and environment sector, where she collaborates with various experts on numerous, diverse projects to deliver positive change to the energy and water sectors.

Through their deep understanding of power, water, gas and renewables, Dr. Shweta’s extraordinarily skilled team of professionals are focused on providing a comprehensive suite of solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow. Dr. Shweta’s interpersonal skills, deep insights and enthusiasm for excellence make her a true role model for leadership and a paragon of female empowerment.


Using knowledge as her guiding principle, Dr. Shweta creates cutting-edge solutions that make the energy and water sectors more efficient, enabling greater and more affordable access to these life essentials. She believes science and people should work in tandem to restore the delicate balance between natural resources and their consumption, and that efficient use of resources plays a key role in this. With a passion for creating a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow, Dr. Shweta is doing her bit to help Enzen transform utilities and create a better world.

Prakarsh Gagdani


Mr. Gagdani, an impeccable specialist in the stock market, has been a source of positive energy for the people who keep looking for accurate updates on the market trends. He has always been setting the stage to let people gain an insight into the volatility of the market. His valuable inputs and opinions are sought throughout the biggest media houses in the country, needless to mention that his fan following is tremendous. His impeccable finesse for detail and knowledge of exact facts and figures have earned him the greatest position in the stock broking industry. Under his leadership, the 5 Paisa app has already clocked in a million users and has emerged as the fastest expanding discount broking enterprise in the country.

Mr. Gagdani being an expert analyst keeps updating his insights at regular intervals which act as a guideline for his followers. In the current market scenario, he is optimistic about Nifty giving returns of over 15 percent in the following year. His accurate and precise predictions have made him a dependable figure and have earned him the trust and faith from traders countrywide.

With the ongoing crisis and the nationwide lockdown, he has observed that the number of investors in the share market has increased exponentially and according to him, this would continue to rise in the coming months. It has been studied that the existing number of investors has been trading actively as compared to earlier times. There has been a steep rise in trading volumes and the number of new Demat accounts.


Mr. Gagdani believes that Stock Market is all about taking the right decisions at the right time. No wonder 5 Paisa enables its clients to do that. With the launching of various schemes and plans, there is absolutely no dearth of opportunities that have been created by the company for the investors. Mr. Gagdani is of the view that the clients should be given the right platform which helps them to understand the intricacies of the current proceedings of the stock market.

In today’s cut throat competitive era, the 5 Paisa app comes absolutely free of cost with extremely user-friendly instructions. Mr. Gagdani has ensured that the clients enrolling through this app receive live updates and are made aware of all the latest developments in the market. From trading, to buying shares, insurances, mutual funds, and much more, it gives the accessibility to the users on the go in this fast track life. Undoubtedly, his professional and skillful analyses are bound to show great results in future for both his company as well as the investors.

Rakesh Pandey

A humble background was never a dampener for Mr. Pandey who was all set to make it big owing to his earnest efforts and unwavering determination. Under his quintessential leadership, Bravo Pharma has been consistently charting newer trajectories of success and is looking forward to exploring avenues and business interests in Central Asia, Europe, USA, Africa, South East Asia and Australia.


A bright student, Mr. Pandey obtained his preliminary education from Bihar and obtained a graduation degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi in the year 1999. He further completed his Post Graduation in Management from the Department of Economics & Commerce, the University of Delhi in 2001. A multilinguist, he has learnt five languages namely English, Hindi, German, Russian, and Sanskrit. He has also obtained the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations (Honoris Causa) from Keisie International University.

Mr. Pandey started his career as the International Marketing Head with ABB – a Swiss mega engineering company. Here, he drove business growth through identification and penetration of new market segments for attainment of targets with a view to optimize revenue. At ABB, he worked for cancer research, R&D manufacturing of drugs and their distribution in 8 countries globally. He also oversaw the execution of 132 KVA Transmission line from Kanchan Kalalaipur Northern Grid, Nepal under Nepal Electricity Authority. The Government of Nepal and Intertech-Alstom consortium under the Danida Private Sector Development Programme (the PSD Programme) jointly executed the project. He has also successfully executed the single-phase transformer for the railway’s transmission projects in Southern Colombo regions.

He established an EPC company in 2006 and personally monitored and executed around 17 projects. As he puts it, “I have executed the APDRP Project of Government of India; Ministry of Energy, under the Rural Electrification programme with the value of around USD 5.7 million.”


Having acquired a rich experience owing to his tenure at multinational companies like ABB, Mr. Pandey decided to launch his healthcare venture. As he puts it, “In 2008, the company Bravo Pharma was established and since then I am working to expand the healthcare business globally. Bravo Pharma is a group of companies focused on drug development; R&D in oncology and liver diseases; manufacturing, marketing and sales of medical products; medical tourism; telemedicine and diagnostics. Currently, Bravo Pharma has activities spread across Asia, Africa, Middle East and Europe. We have total 262 employees and 27 research scientists working in the manufacturing facility and R&D Centre.”


Under his able leadership, Bravo Pharma has been working closely with the John’s Hopkins Cancer Hospital, Baltimore, USA. In addition, Harlev Hospitals, Denmark, have financed the firm’s on-going cancer research programme for the development of the Biomarkers for pancreatic cancer. Mr. Pandey has also established Joint Cooperation with National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), Ministry of Defence, Uganda, and Ministry of Police Reform Uganda, for the development of e-healthcare platform for central Africa.

The firm has been working in coordination on “HEPAMUT” R&D project with CCCR, Competent Centre of Cancer Research Tallinn, Estonia and Cambridge, UK. It is jointly working on the new drug discovery project and for the Oncology Advance Lab pre-clinical trials, with University College of London, London. It also holds the credit of setting up the first Referral Laboratory specialised in Oncological research and clinical trial in the Republic Oncology Hospital, Uzbekistan on BOT basis.

Mr. Pandey aims to serve humanity by providing quality pharmaceuticals across never nook and corner of the globe. Sharing his plans with regard to the expansion of the firm, he elaborates, “The next strategic aim of Bravo Pharma is to expand its activities in Europe. The two target countries selected are UK and France. In United Kingdom, Bravo Pharma has already established relations with University College London (UCL).” He further adds, “The plan is to establish an R&D Company in the neighbourhood of UCL in order to be in close proximity to the university facilities and highly qualified personnel. The focus of this company at London will be R&D in cancer research, patenting and trademark issues.”


Extremely passionate about giving back to society, Mr. Pandey launched BRAVO Foundation to provide aid to the needy sections of society all across the globe. The best aspect of Bravo Foundation is that its welfare activities are not limited to a specific region and it endeavours to reach out to the needy in every corner of the globe. Sharing some of welfare activities personally undertaken by him, Mr. Pandey elaborates, “I monitored and run a charity programme for Cancer Treatment, free medical camp in Asia, Central Asia, and Africa for poor patients. In the year 2015-2017, total 1364 kids were given financial help for cancer treatment from my personal funds.” He adds, “I personally, monitored and financed the free training programme of doctors and professors from various hospitals in Asia and Europe.”

The Foundation has launched several initiatives for employment of youth and women, disseminating education and providing healthcare facilities across Bihar. Bravo foundation also launched the Bravo Scholarship Program in 2016, for the Students of INHA University, Tashkent; Tallinn Technical University, Tallinn, Estonia; and Tartu University, Estonia; and MGCUB Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari East Champaran Bihar, India.

For his determination to provide affordable healthcare to all, he has received numerous awards and accolades such as Excellence Award, Business Tycoon and Inspiring Social Activist 2019 at House of Commons, UK, to name a few.

Dr. G.S. Matharoo

The Chairman of highly successful and reputed institution, Prudence School, Dr. Matharoo is a former civil servant who joined the education sector with a passion for revamping the secondary education system in the country and introducing the holistic way of teaching and culturally relevant curriculum to the education sector.

His aim is to inculcate a relevant learning environment, which is in sync with the evolving global trends and yet engraved in the socio-political realities of a diverse society, which India is.

In his decade-long journey in the sector, the terrific visionary has successfully delivered a responsive model of teaching and learning that is highly relevant and challenges students, parents, and teachers to work and think outside the traditional mindset. He has infused academic rigor by providing individualized support to each student, creating systems that embrace and engage the students and furnishing them with the necessary information, tools, and facilities at every point.


Dr. Matharoo was born and raised in a middle-class family with limited resources. However, with great hard work and determination, he grew out of these circumstances and created his own unique legacy, revered, and celebrated by many today.

Since a very young age, Dr. Matharoo had a great interest in studying and learning about new things. He was one of the brightest students in his batch at a government school and following that he walked the corridors of Delhi University with an inquisitive mind.

A meritorious student, he always inspired his juniors to work hard and study with the aim to learn and not merely get good scores. Further, the genius personality attained his Ph.D. degree in education management from a foreign university, covering an aweinspiring journey.

A self-made person with determination to progress and leave a mark by way of constructive contribution towards the society, he started his career as a civil servant at the Union Ministry of Home Affairs where he held a variety of charges. His tenure in the North East Division of the Ministry was a defining one where he proactively contributed a lot towards the development of the region and bringing control/removal of insurgency in the area.

His seniors were mighty impressed by his outstanding performance and with the display of his executive abilities and therefore deputed him to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). He was given the responsibility to introduce a reformed system of functioning for the corporation, which was dealing with a number of messy situations and chronic ailments at that time.

During his tenure at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), he introduced Unit Area Method for the purpose of computation of property tax liability of the property owners, bringing in transparency in the system and saving the property owners from harassment at the hands of inspectors. He also led the privatization of toll tax collection at the entry points, thus increasing revenues for MCD. He also brought changes in the procedure for approval of Building Plans for construction. He was harassed and threatened by mafia within the MCD, which was negatively impacted by these reforms. But he remained fearless, bold, and continued serving his duties with full dedication and honesty. Although he emerged victorious and stronger, a sense of disillusionment with the system in him prevented him from continuing in Civil Service and urged him to do something for the society.


Dr. Matharoo had a great passion for education and improving its standards within the country ever since. So, around a decade back, he moved on from his duties as a civil servant and ventured into the education sector to which he was enamored from the core of his heart since his young age but was being constrained from doing so after having joined civil services.

He joined as head of an academic institution and contributed tremendously to its growth as uplifter of standards of teaching and bringing an innovate approach in its administration. Eventually, there was a sea change in the schools headed by him where students became very participative and started looking to coming to school as a passion. He dwelt on the overall personality development of the students and emphasized personalized attention on each student to identify his areas interest and strength.

As Head of the Prudence Group of Schools, he challenged conventional wisdom to pioneer dynamic and far-reaching changes through a determined focus on the holistic development of each student. By doing so he was able to infuse academic rigor by providing individualized support to each student, creating systems that embrace and engage the students and provide them with the necessary information, tools, and facilities at every point.

He reckons that it is very necessary to ignite in each student the spirit to stand for oneself and identify their strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, pays a lot of attention on individual skill development. His mission is to make each student a champion in one’s own right and empower them with the right approach to deal with life’s challenges. All the students at his school see him as a father figure and a guiding light who is training them to be the best versions of themselves.


He is very passionate about extending equal opportunities to all and is working hard to make the education system a more equitable and inclusive entity and realizes that leaders like him will have to contribute towards that. He has a vision for free education for poor deserving children. He does not want that poor students who want to study should be deprived of that because of financial constraints. In the near future, he intends to open a world-class school for poor and underprivileged children where free education will be imparted and bright students from poor families would be groomed as the future engine of growth of the country

Manish Shah

Working with the sole ambition to keep nurturing a win-win situation between organisational aspirations and team goals, Manish Shah is setting up a unique culture of workplace motivation. His transformational leadership style has set his venture Prakash Chemicals International into a new orbit of growth, initiating a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and calculated risk-taking at all levels.

A key aspect of a transformational leader is that he defines and crafts a vision and strategy for the company and ensures that every employee lives the same vision. Manish Shah and his team nurtured the vision of being the top global distributors in the world way back in 2007. Today the firm is counted among the top 15 distributors of Middle East & Africa only because he ensured that every employee lived the same vision.


Any leader becomes a great leader by seeking inspiration from already established personalities who can motivate them either spiritually or in polishing their entrepreneurial strengths. For Manish Shah, his inspiration has been his father who believed strongly in values, ethical practices and carving our long-lasting relationships. He dedicates his success in the entrepreneurial world to these very qualities that enabled him to create an organisation which has grown leaps and bounds from its date of inception. It was only his father’s teachings that helped him set the organisational mission of being a signature entity in terms of its people, customer and supplier practices and become one of the top global chemical distribution companies.


It was in the early 90s that India was beginning its journey to being a selfdependent nation, liberalising its economy that Manish Shah took the helms of Prakash Chemicals International in his own hands and contributed immensely to its pioneering steps in chemical exports from the country. It was with great perseverance, persistence, and patience that he crafted a success trajectory for the business even when none of the Indian players was keen on collaborating for the international markets. It is these qualities that enabled him to get an earlybird advantage for the international market for Indian products.

He started the company in an era when there was not only any support for exports from the government and the Indian manufacturing community but also lacked basic infrastructures like the internet, email communications, and direct international telephone services. Airmails were the only prominent mode of communication with international customers. The journey had its share of trials and tribulations but through his vision, ambition continued perseverance and strong conviction he achieved this scale of operations today which benefits being ranked among the top global chemical distribution companies of the world.

For him, the highest point in his journey thus far has been him leading a company which made its beginning as a small merchant exporter to a global conglomerate of high repute and stature with presence in 118 countries and a customer roster of more than 5000 global clients comprising prominent MNCs.

In the past two decades, PCIPL has expanded its marketing offices in Cameroon, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Vietnam and Egypt and has over 6 global stock points. Through its four wholly-owned subsidiary companies outside India (USA, Netherlands, Kenya and UAE), full-fledged Research and Application Development Centre, and State of Art Global Warehousing, Blending and Repackaging facility in Dahej SEZ, it provides chemical solutions to customers in 118 countries. It’s ACE, MAX and PRO business verticals cover the entire gamut: distribution of bulk chemicals, custom manufacturing of speciality chemicals, and manufacturing of performance chemicals respectively, across 10+ application industries.


The true prowess of a leader lies in his/her ability to innovate continuously and create opportunities for the whole team to grow and perform together. Manish Shah also has invested a great amount of his time and energy in innovating some path breaking projects at his firm.

In his leadership role at PCIPL, Manish Shah has planned and executed the setting up of a full-fledged R&D unit to design and develop processes for molecules where India currently has no manufacturing strength thus creating an alternative to Chinese imports. These processes are then transferred to SME to promote Make In India for these molecules.

He has also been functional in setting up of an ISO 9001, 14001 compliant Quality Control and Application Development Centre to assist customers in their production and formulation design so as to improve customer experience – a one of a kind initiative for any Indian chemical distribution company.

Currently, he is working on developing a unique digital interface with features for e-commerce such as purchase, order tracking and inquiry tracking for all customers across 118 countries. He has also developed a Process-Oriented Culture with clearly defined KPIs so that the company can grow at a rapid pace in all dimensions of business while ensuring strategic fit. These processes are created, implemented and monitored regularly via our centralized ERP system so the entire organization is on the same page.


Manish Shah believes in the power of positive progression of the business. It means that he wants to create a mutually beneficial environment for not himself and his teams, but also the society at large. He is associated with various trusts and organizations that provide maximum impact to people’s lives. Under his able leadership, PCIPL indulges in a number of philanthropic activities as well. The firm has adopted 15 anganwadis (preschool for underprivileged children) in the surrounding Gorwa village along with their entire families of close to 1500 people – Project Kiran. PCIPL provides the women in families with employment opportunities through vocational training and specialized projects such as weaving, sanitary napkin making, box making among others. PCIPL also runs de-addiction camps for the males in the families and provides scholarships and tuitions to the children. PCIPL also funds Disha Autism Center in Vadodara & is building a hospice for old age people in Vadnagar.

Mr. Bal Krishen

As the Chairman and CEO of Century Financial, Mr. Krishen has been entrusted with the task of taking crucial decisions for ensuring the company’s continued success, maintaining its impressive track record, and developing strategies for its rapid progress. He ensures that all his strategies are aligned with the organization’s vision. He oversees every business aspect of the firm and is actively involved in its day-to-day functioning.


Mr. Krishen belongs to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir and has had a humble upbringing as one of the nine siblings in a modest family. His rise to the top was anything but easy. But he did not give up in the face of adversity. On the other hand, he turned every adversity which came his way into an opportunity. He started working at an early age to support his family by doing several odd jobs. Ultimately, he created an opportunity to hone his entrepreneurial skills when he started a small business venture in his native town. The real turning point in his life was when his father retired early, and he decided to travel to Dubai with an aspiration of finding a good job, which would provide a better livelihood for his family back in India.

When he first landed in the UAE in 1996, he took on whatever job he could find, and joined a local hotel in Dubai. During his career in the hospitality industry, he learnt the basics of people management and the importance of customer service. At the hotel, he worked his way up to become an accountant. Right from his childhood, Mr. Krishen has had a way with numbers. He was always good at Math and Finance, despite his lack of higher education, and his passion for numbers-crunching showed in his current role. Impressed with his speed and accuracy with numbers, one of his regular clients, a senior banker, advised him to move to investments and finance sector. This gave him the push that he needed to consider a career in the financial investment industry seriously.

In the year 1999, while working within the hospitality industry, he met Mr. Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi, an Emirati entrepreneur and the then Chairman of Century Financial. Mr. Sulaiman was immediately impressed with his positive attitude, tenacity and uncompromising ambitions. No wonder he offered Mr. Krishen a role at his company. Mr. Krishen started as a dealer, wherein he assisted in the supervision of transactions across major global exchanges. Later on, he rose to the position of Trader and Financial Analyst and eventually went on to become the Head of Investment, Associate Director, Director and ultimately, the Chairman and CEO of the company. As a result of his dedicated efforts, what started out as a junior role 20 years ago in Century Financial, was gradually transformed into the pinnacle position of the Chairman of the firm.


Mr. Krishen is a successful entrepreneur and a seasoned investor himself who understands mature businesses and startups alike. He has developed astute skills and business acumen fostered over years of experience. He knows how to grow businesses, build timeless relationships and empower people around him.

His quest for perfection in every aspect of the company’s business and operations is the cornerstone of the progress made at Century.


A devout family man, he regards his wife, two sons and a daughter as the pillars of his strength and support. His mantra for success is to eat healthy and maintain a regular exercise regime that helps in physical and mental wellbeing. His typical day starts with 30-minutes early morning yoga in his villa that helps him manage the day taking in stride the business-related matters and managing his day-to-day affairs to run the company in a highly competitive market scenario efficiently.


Mr. Krishen shares a great rapport with his 100+ staff who always look up to him for inspiration and guidance. He vehemently believes that employees should be continually motivated so that they turn out to be innovative and stay focused on delivering excellence.

He is of the view that employee satisfaction goes hand in hand with the company’s ongoing and future success. Under his guidance, every staff undergoes an intensive training scheme designed to give them all the skills and knowledge required to serve clients using any of the platforms and products the firm provides. No wonder the organization takes pride in possessing one of the highest percentages of CISI certified professionals for any UAE-based financial investment firm.


Besides being an accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Krishen is also actively devoted to philanthropic causes highlighted by his support to various NGOs, which promote human welfare in the UAE and India. Under his quintessential leadership, Century Financial has been giving back to society by way of caring and sharing through its annual charity drive and imparting industry education programs to future generations of leading educational institutions in the UAE.

He played a significant role in launching a unique CSR initiative called “Health, Wealth & Happiness” (HWH) to align with the ‘Year of Giving’ in the UAE in 2017. Under the ‘Health, Wealth & Happiness’ banner each year Century has been creating a unique charity experience that reaches out to the less privileged sections of the society. A typical HWH kit consists of a) Health (Health/ hygiene related items), b) Wealth (Discount vouchers for money transfer charges, to send across their money to their families) c) Happiness (calling cards to call their loved ones back home).

With regard to the current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic; this year its HWH kit was modified to contain hygiene and protection items like face mask, gloves and sanitizers for the Frontline workers comprising Careem food delivery captains.

Chandrashekar V

Born into a lower-middle-class family with humble roots, Chandrashekar was willing to make it big for himself from a very young age. He aspired to change his family’s fortunes and he was greatly motivated to achieve this by his mother. She imbibed in him an attitude of winning, not to get bogged down by challenges and failure. She taught him that with no financial support to offer, the only way he could come up in life is by staying focussed, working hard, and being honest and sincere.

A curious student with big dreams, Chandrashekar always remained a topper of his class and completed his graduation in mechanical engineering. During his college days in 1990, he even managed to work on a collaborative project to build a robotic arm. It was considered a revolutionary project as robotics was a novel concept then. It got him immense fame and he read his name being printed in national dailies for the first time, making him believe even more in his dreams.


After graduating from Bangalore University in 1990, Chandrashekar started his career as a shop floor engineer with Larsen and Toubro, assembling earthmoving equipment. After 4 years in the role, he felt that he had to have better exposure if he has to contribute. His life and education were limited to the four walls of the factory. He shifted to sales and marketing and was posted in Kolkata. He further spent a decade in the sales and marketing department and then moved on to executing infrastructure projects of national importance in hydropower, roads, bridges, mining, and other sectors for over 12 years. Through these experiences, he gained tremendous expertise in Project Management, learned the importance of teamwork, sharpened his decisionmaking abilities, and learned to adapt to adversities in challenging ever-changing work environments.

Finally, in April 2019, he took over as the managing director and CEO of Gmmco limited, a C.K. Birla group company. He started working on expanding business profitability. He restructured the organization into business verticals, namely Construction, Surface Mining, Underground Mining, Energy and Transportation and Allied business, with each vertical operating as an independent profit center. He believes in developing leaders as any organization is as good as its leaders.


Chandrashekar reckons that a leader’s biggest strength is one’s team and it is important to nurture, collaborate, and promote the growth of every individual working with him. He completely understands that leadership is not about power or position but about taking responsibility, and therefore, allows people the freedom to operate, communicate transparently, take risks, and celebrate failures. GMMCO has always been an employer providing equal opportunities and Chandrashekar has taken up initiatives to provide opportunities for youngsters with the talent to reach leadership positions. A strong believer in inclusion and diversity, he has made sure that a great gender balance is maintained in his firm. Realizing the importance of technology in modern society, under his leadership, Gmmco implemented SAP, CRM for sales and product support and effectively digitized the complete workforce. Gmmco created applications to enhance support to customers and digitized the inspection of equipment. These applications allowed customers to monitor operations and costs remotely. Gmmco also implemented artificial intelligence to monitor employee engagement and satisfaction under his leadership.


Too much analysis will only lead to paralysis in decision making; with this thought, Chandrashekar makes sure that the workings of GMMCO are maintained raw and organic. He takes more time acting on plans than discussing the roadmaps and that makes him a unique leader. Chandrashekar realizes the importance of Gmmco to be a solutionprovider. The organization has moved away from only selling and supporting equipment to executing prestigious underground coal extraction projects. The company was awarded the largest underground contract for operation and maintenance of longwall equipment for the extraction of coal, on a cost per tonne basis. He has guided Gmmco in the last year to be rated within the top 100 best places to work for by GPTW. The company is rated the best in the infrastructure and construction sector. Chandrashekar has engineered associations with Linnhoff, Sandvik and Maxam to expand the product portfolio. Gmmco is also in advanced stage of discussions for associations with other leading companies in the world.

He is also leading the group’s many CSR ventures as an opportunity to give back to the society he belongs to. He is as passionate about them as the group is. The company’s goals don’t stop with maximization of shareholder value but lie in maximizing the interests of a much wider set of stakeholders that encompasses the owners, employees, customers, environment and the society that they operate in.


The women in Chandrashekar’s life have always been a guiding and nurturing force. While his mother gave him the vision to attain greatness, his wife, Chitra, whom he married in 1992, supported him in achieving success. She has stood with him through thick and thin and has always been there for his growth. A helping hand and a supportive shoulder, Chitra has been a great contributor to Chandrashekar’s beautiful journey. The couple together has two children, Sheetal and Atthin, who are learning a great deal of patience, gratitude, and hard work from their parents. Chandrashekar admits that his family is his greatest strength and with their constant support and encouragement, he is scaling towards newer heights of success, fame, and recognition, every single day.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan

By ensuring focus and progressiveness, whilst preventing himself from being distracted by actions of others, he has been taking charge, making his own rules, and writing his own script for the future Thus, driven by his own ambitions, and not by others’, Dr. Chilwan believes in building capacity for future – financial, people, systems and technology – pre-emptively and continuously, and considers them key ingredients in the recipe for his success.

Though success may be a subjective term, and may be a matter of opinion, Dr. Chilwan feels that it is also definitely personal. Whilst many measure success via theirs or the organization’s financial achievements, he has a very different perspective, i.e. shattering myths and changing mindsets.

He shares, “My success story is not just about the transformation of DIB under my leadership. It is about the mindset change that has happened because of what I believed I have pursued over my entire working life – making Islamic finance the norm. From my earlier achievements in incorporating the model in foreign conventional players, to converting a conventional bank into an Islamic entity, to completely unleashing the true potential of the oldest Islamic bank in the world, all have led to this massive change, and shattered the myth that Islamic finance is limited to select Muslim populous. Clearly it is not and the world knows it now.”

Taking away The “im” from impossible

He is also aware that the world sees only the tip of the iceberg and considers others’ successes easy, and fails to see the years of hard work in achieving any greatness, which is understood and felt by only those who see it through till the end.

He observes candidly, “For me, the journey is just as rewarding as the final result. My career has spanned some of the most tumultuous years in the history of the financial services industry, but what I saw during this time was opportunity. Ten years ago, when I joined the bank, I had a decade-long vision for the organization – I knew the bank could be the single most disruptive player in the financial sector in this time frame. But this message would have been a little difficult to digest at the time, given the effects of the global financial crisis and the positioning of DIB in those days.”

Renowned for taking away the “im” from impossible, Dr. Chilwan set about to adjust the sails, broke the plan down into intermediate goals over shorter horizons which appeared more realistic then, and all of a sudden, what seemed ambitious and virtually impossible in those days is a reality today – DIB is the 4th largest and the 3rd most profitable bank in the country, a jump of around 9 places in less than half a decade, and all of that was possible organically.

Acknowledging that every success is a team effort, and though uninhibited passion and belief played a major role in DIB’s current success, he is also aware that even if your ultimate vision, goal or game plan is visible to a limited few, break it down into manageable steps, keep providing input and guidance to steer and direct, and instead of waiting for things to improve in order to progress and grow, craft out opportunities in any given scenario.

Growth – Elusive to Others, Exclusive to us

Getting a chance to understand a situation through the eyes of an expert is priceless, and here Dr. Chilwan shares how around 2008 when the global financial crisis impacted the UAE and the region, he wielded a different approach than most of his competitors and first expertly created the foundation and then swiftly made DIB the fastest growing organization in the region. He reminisces, “In 2008, the impact of the global financial crisis had made its presence known in the UAE and the region, and it was quite a dismal picture across the industry at the time.

“Most players were effectively trying to gather themselves up quickly and grab whatever business was available in the market to show growth in size and profitability. To me, it was clear that we could not do what the others were doing. That approach was definitely not aligned to the long-term plan I had for the bank and the industry.

“So, irrespective of how the market was behaving or competitors acting, for us it was time to CONSOLIDATE. I had a two-pronged agenda in mind even at the time, the second leg being GROWTH, but I knew that we were not ready to get a glimpse of that currently. So I provided the first five-year consolidation plan with yearly executable targets and goals, which effectively aimed to strengthen the bank financially, create capacity (financial, personnel, systems) so as to establish a platform from where growth was inevitable. And then when the time came, well the rest as they say is history!

“All the scepticism has disappeared, and the market in fact is expecting even more from us. And what to me is perhaps our greatest achievement is that in these last few years, we have made Islamic banking a household model across the country and are now spreading it to other markets as well.”

For him, the true satisfaction is the achievement of what he is pursuing – rewards and accolades are a mere ratification and reaffirmation of what he already believes to be true. His steely self-belief, firmness of purpose and passionate efforts have naturally brought him various recognitions of the highest order, as he has been ranked amongst the top 3 Indian leaders in the Arab world by Forbes, and also in the CEO rankings in GCC. He has also won multiple awards and accolades for his vision and excellence in Islamic banking, including the Islamic banker of the Year award multiple times.

Believing that success is not static, and is not a point in time, but is the ability to build on what has already been achieved to reach newer, greater heights, his thirst for more keeps him inspired and motivated, while he follows his true passions, and always seeks more beyond the horizon. At the same time, his philosophy is reflected in the vision of the organization as well – progressiveness, constantly evolving, improving and moving in a northbound direction.

Committed to give back to the society, which has helped him achieve tremendous success, he is deeply involved in CSR activities. More than just about money, his CSR goes well beyond financial commitment and support. He believes in positively impacting lives of others in a variety of ways, and accordingly devotes his time to propagating not just the business model he believes to be the most appropriate for today’s world, but also his own learnings and experiences to students and practitioners across the globe.

Competing with himself, he believes in daily improvements, which can do wonders while continuously moving towards one’s goals. “One does not need complex strategies and plans and huge towering targets. Incredible things happen if you believe and follow the concept that you are your own competition in this world. My first thought every morning and my life-long motto is simple – TODAY WE NEED TO BE A TINY BIT BETTER THAN WHAT WE WERE YESTERDAY.”

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.


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-today operations of the company. Since then, he has taken major policy decisions that have influenced the growth of the company in a positive way.


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.


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.