These are no ordinary ladies. Each woman is a stalwart who has achieved the pinnacles of success in her chosen field. Delhi-based Gunjan Jain, who hails from a prominent business family has chronicled the path-breaking journeys of India’s 24 feisty women in her debut novel, She Walks, She Leads, that will be launched in Bengaluru today.
Gunjan’s personal record is pretty impressive. She has a degree in economics and finance from Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, besides a masters in wealth management from Cass Business School, UK. Gunjan is currently enrolled in a general management programme from Harvard Business School.
Gunjan holds a diploma in image management from the London Image Institute as well as the Academy of Image Mastery in Singapore. And if all this not enough to overwhelm you, she also has a diploma in international etiquette and protocol from the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland. Ask her if she constantly seeks challenges, and she simply states, “I constantly seek growth to better myself. And this quest got stronger when I was working on this book.”
Instead of profiling the ladies alone, Gunjan has closely interacted with their inner coterie, thus delving deeper into the persona behind the achievers. So you have India’s much admired icons like Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar decoding the multifaceted perfectionist, Nita Ambani.
In an interesting twist, she has got Bengaluru’s bio-technology czarina, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (who is featured too) sharing candid moments of her friendship with philanthropists Yasmeen Premji and Sudha Murty.
This book is not just a revelation about the lives of these famous women, but more like a Bible on India’s high profile personalities and their hoi polloi friends too. So, don’t be surprised to read about Hollywood’s legendary star Goldie Hawn 20-year-old friendship with Parameshwar Godrej.
Gunjan, in her quest for ‘growth” and desire to delve deeper into the lives of her subjects has even managed to conduct, snappy interviews with the low profile but high net worth husbands or children of these women of substance. From Kumarmangalam Birla to Tanya Godrej and Akash Ambani, these children with a golden spoon reveal fascinating aspects of their mother’s lives.
The author, who will be visiting Bengaluru to launch her book today, talks highly about the local power women she has handpicked for her book.
“Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is warm, intelligent, hardworking, compassionate and courageous. In fact, when I am unsure about my journey, her strength and courage always inspires me,” says the soft spoken Gunjan, in a telephonic interview, ahead of her trip to the city.
Gunjan appears to have a soft spot for Yasmeen Premji, whose reticence and low profile has made her story a riveting read. Says Gunjan, “Yasmeen is confident and comfortable in her own skin. She is understated and independent and these are qualities that I appreciate.”
Another lady to have made it to this coveted list is Sudha Murty, whom Gunjan hails as a trendsetter. “Imagine, she was the only girl amongst 300 male students in an engineering college, and was a topper too. That takes a lot of courage,” she says with obvious admiration.
So, it is a tough call, to ask her to name her personal favourites. But, she sportingly chooses Nita Ambani’s name from the pick, after making it clear that all 24 ladies are special to her.
Speaking about Nita, Gunjan admits, “Her quest for accomplishment and sense of service is unparalled. She is compassionate and wants to genuinely contribute to society. I have never seen this in anyone before,” reveals Gunjan who was obviously thrilled to have Nita as the host of her first book launch in Mumbai.