It can be a daunting task to be in Sairee Chahal’s shoes, well sneakers to be very specific. Amidst the daily grind of travelling extensively, processing tons of emails and messages, stitching up partnerships, following up on clients and reflecting on how the business is doing, for the serial entrepreneur the “fun never stops rolling.”
The founder and CEO of Sheroes, a women’s platform, Sairee is credited with building a strong technology play to solve the problems of gender disparity in India. An M.Phil from JNU and a PGDBM holder from IMT Ghaziabad, she kick-started her professional career while at college before co-founding her first start-up at the age of 21.
She considers what she is able to do nothing less than a blessing. She says, “I am fairly close to the ‘Work is Workship’ adage. I find deepest value in a job well done. I see market opportunities in solving quantum of problems. I always thought I would be an academician but I missed the pace in that field. Also, I am not that broody by nature.”
But it’s not just work that is on her mind. She has her separate routine to unwind. “I love good walks. Reading or meditation is a bedtime must. I have switched from reading fiction to biographies lately. I love listening to chant and that the Hanuman Chalisa,” she says adding, “My hobbies are also not very far off from my work. Every weekend, I conduct something called ‘Saturday with Sairee’, which is an open house with women entrepreneurs, women who want to meet me, women who are aspiring or even facing difficult situations. I spend time with them. Besides that, I am a lot into yoga and crossfit. Also learning more gardening and healing therapies is on my mind.”
For someone who meets hundreds of people on a daily basis, she says that she isn’t high on socialising. “In family gatherings, I go and sit in the kids’ room as they are served food before elders and I eat very early. Also, I don’t have to do any gossiping. I party with my team members but the Delhi definition of ‘socialising’, does not define me,” says the mother of a 10-year-old. One can get an idea of how regularly she travels from the fact that in December, she went to the US, Norway and Germany. “I am at the airport every third-fourth day. I am beach person and like Mediterranean climate. I like exploring new places and try to soak in the ambience,” she says.
Another interesting facet about Sairee’s life is that she wears only sneakers. Ask her if she is trying to create a style statement, and she puts it casually, “I chose sneakers because they are comfortable and I am always on the move. Now, it has become a part of my persona. Also, I don’t have to waste time thinking what shoes to wear to office.”
Talking about the motivation she gets from her “mentors, friends, colleagues who embody zen-like wisdom and ninja-like actionability”, she says the stories of women striving to grow, keeps her going. “I am working to see a world with a better sense of equanimity and balance,” she says.