In an era marked by technological, social, and educational progress and a determined pursuit of equality, women have emerged as powerful, and influential leaders across various sectors. Many of them are leaving an indelible mark on the world, from politics to business, academia to technology, etc. They have shattered the glass ceiling by challenging the stereotypes and leading examples of empowerment for upcoming generations. Zarine Manchanda is one of those businesswomen who are leading the corporate sector successfully and leaving a significant impact behind.
Zarine Manchanda comprises a remarkable and diverse portfolio, earning recognition as a distinguished philanthropist and community advocate, and serving as the CEO of the Zarine Manchanda Foundation. This dynamic Mumbai, India-based nonprofit organization, established in 2019, has overseen 400 charitable initiatives, providing vital resources such as food, clothing, and other essentials to the most underprivileged residents of Mumbai.
Blessed with a Strong Political Family Background
As her late father was a minister and a successful businessman, Zarine was blessed with the ‘Princess Life’. She grew up in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Six years ago, she moved to Mumbai, to achieve her dream of becoming an actress.
Despite working hard and having consistent dedication towards her dream, unfortunately, she couldn’t make it happen and failed to crack in Bollywood. However, she never gave up and decided to work on plan B, i.e. getting into politics. Having a political family background, she knew what it takes to become a politician and had seen her father closely while working.
Zarine has achieved multifaceted success in her career and feels blessed to have the DNA of her beloved father. In the early years of growing up, she learned various things from him as a successful minister and politician. She noticed the charisma and dynamism of his work firsthand which made each constituent feel empowered and important.
According to her, he was probably the most successful businessman of his time in Himachal Pradesh who taught her to pursue bold dreams, possess a grand vision to lead, not follow the crowd, and become the first one in whatever sector she is working.
Princess of the Poor
Zarine aimed at building her own political base, and catering to this, she initiated a charity NGO named Zarine Manchanda Foundation in 2019. Her efforts led to her receiving significant exposure in the media and soon she was branded as India’s “Princess of the Poor”. Zarine has won numerous awards for her philanthropic and charity work, empowering vulnerable sections of society. Thereafter, she launched her own company that bears her name, ranging from India’s first seven-star café, and the first Himachal restaurant in Mumbai, as well as a Cloud Kitchen, and premium security agency.
Unique Leadership Philosophy
Being a successful woman leader, Zarine has a unique philosophy for leadership that stands on several important pillars. The first of them is—to be a visionary leader, one has to think and act boldly and avoid following trends or crowds. She wants every business to stand the test of time and to have a long-standing life with its own targeted specific Unique Selling Point (USP).
The second important pillar of Zarine’s leadership philosophy is that all her important businesses have important components of both luxury and spiritual charm. “I believe these are two values that customers and clients value so that they feel they are having an enriching, exclusive, unique experience that also feels warm, inviting, respectful, and comfortable to create a blessed and memorable experience,” she adds. She accredits this philosophy to her upbringing and DNA.
The exact blend of luxury and spiritual charm in the profession welcomes warmth, respect, and comfort in the work which creates a blessed and memorable involvement. Owing to divine and leisure grace in every business, Zarine’s organization has become a favorite among her clients and they prefer it over others. She says, “We live in a fast-paced, sometimes chaotic world where attention shifts from moment to moment, and I want to transport my clients and customers to another world, and another realm where they can have a unique and memorable experience.”
Empowering Environment for Employees
While fulfilling the responsibilities as CEO, Zarine understands that it is important to be accessible and to keep communication channels open for your clients. Moreover, it is important to create an empowering environment for employees and managers to share concerns and keep looking consistently for multiple alternatives to improve products or services. According to Zarine, leadership is as much about listening to those with “boots on the ground”, as it is about speaking and explaining the overall company vision.
Being the CEO of her organization, Zarine has recognized that the combat can be prevented at her level and this is especially the case because all the companies bear her name. The proper strategic plan must balance various interests such as stability on one hand, and innovation on the other.
As mentioned earlier, her companies have a core principle of luxury in spiritual charm and this is permanent. She makes sure that it lasts for long and her businesses must exude these principles every day, and in every way. However, the routine activities and resulting ebbs and flows must be scrutinized. It is important to be nimble, to be tweaked and adjusted, based on realities on the ground, or feedback from customers, clients, management, or staff.
Handling Conflicts and Challenges
Zarine considers team bonding and development at the core of every business. Being overwhelmed by the core principles of luxury and spiritual charm, new candidates are looking to join any of her companies and are willing to be a part of her special mission. Therefore, she believes that loyalty exists and it is easy to have a cohesive and synchronized team in all her companies. Her team sets targets and goals to incentivize employees and managers to exceed their existing targets so that everyone receives benefits and a sense of belongingness as each of them is playing an important role in fulfilling the vision of the company.
Handling conflicts and challenges is part of the business, and Zarine keeps confronting difficulties as a part and parcel of the enterprise. She believes that she has been fortunate to date in keeping clashes virtually nonexistent and dealing with challenges that may arise. In light of her leadership style, Zarine is aiming to create an appealing vision and build a team around it to include a core component of spiritual charm and positive intentions. In compliance with her leadership philosophy, Zarine contemplated that a vision makes managers and staff feel self-sustaining and fulfilled.
Clear, Bold, and Long-Term Vision
As mentioned earlier, leadership always requires a balancing act between stability and sustainability on the one hand and adaptability and innovation on the other hand. Currently, all of her businesses have grown in a manner that is consistent with her initial strategic vision. It reflects the reality that a strong and bold vision along with a strong USP coupled with a spiritual component is a winning formula. This formula overcomes the nuances and challenges that crop up on a day-to-day basis.
Accomplishing the role of CEO in the businesses that carry her name, Zarine focuses on them and makes sure that they attain consistently high performance to meet strategic goals. It must reflect the balance between clear, bold, and long-term vision with vigorous regular monitoring of whether goals are accomplished. Furthermore, every team member is held accountable for their specific skill set and job description and keeps monitoring it daily.
Simultaneously, it is significant to empower managers and staff members to have the best environment and opportunity for excelling with some latitude in following the procedure to reach their targeted goals. Zarine Manchanda regularly meets her managers and emphasizes the requirement to strike a proper balance, because with freedom comes responsibility and accountability. However, targeted structured goals require some flexibility and adaptability.
Importance of Carrying Good Intentions
Every business is established on a specific set of ethics that reinforces employees and leaders to work on the same grounds of integrity. Every company stands on the pillars of profound spirituality, intentions behind good karmas, and good deeds. This is the most important consideration of all for her and it gives her motivation to keep aiming high. Apart from considering sounding traits, Zarine says,
“God is my CEO and I report to him. My duty on Earth as CEO is to fulfill his wishes and all of my business endeavors. ”
All of her staff members know this and it is the driving force behind her business which she does not compromise at all. In addition to concentrating on the profit and loss, and monitoring the expenses versus revenue, it is important to believe that carrying good intentions in life is what works out in the end. Good intentions create an organic, wholesome, and fulfilling work environment, which is the USP of Zarine’s every enterprise.
Creating Long-Lasting Business Models
Every business starts with a vision and Zarine believes that perception needs to be unique, bold, and innovative; having its own USP should be the first of its kind whenever possible. Zarine does not believe in following trends and avoids doing what the crowd is doing. She is more willing to create long-lasting, visible business models that tie her own life experiences and DNA to successful branding, effective business operations, and robust expansion plans to catapult on initial success.
Zarine’s every business showcases a different USP for the sector it is operating. While starting a new company, she prepares plans in her mind step by step, namely, 2-3 year plan, 5-year plan, 10-year plan, etc. After being satisfied with the pre-planning, she is ready to implement administrative strategies and achieve strategic goals and milestones within the prescribed period with her team.
Understanding a Learning Curve
Zarine Manchanda is very particular about seeing her personal growth apart from professional growth in all her businesses. She can see it through her different enterprise ventures because the reality is she knew little or nothing about any of these specific organizations before she established them. She did not have any experience operating a cafe before, working in any security agency, or being a part of a charity foundation.
Each of them had a unique starting point from scratch, however, all of them made an exclusive sense to her and given her prior life experiences, passions, and interests in creating a rare business model that was potentially complementary to each other. Understanding a learning curve in each business is a different thing, but if any of them is bearing her name and evolving its idea from her passion and interest, Zarine is keen and hungry to learn the basics, absorb the content, and listen to suggestions so that she can lead confidently in an inspiring manner.
Expanding Scope to Other Corporate Avenues
Zarine Manchanda is truly grateful and proud of her success in philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and multiple business expansions have earned her considerable media exposure, and garnered many prestigious awards, including two National Awards, two Governor Awards, and the Nelson Mandela Peace Award, which conferred a doctorate to her.
These successes expanded her scope to other corporate avenues, and she serves as Regional Director for BRICS, the trade-related alliance in which India participates with other member countries of Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa as administered by the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, she was appointed as Chairperson and Editor in Chief for the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Himachal Pradesh by the National Council of News and Broadcasting in the areas of media, reform, and freedom of the press.
Zarine Manchanda is looking forward to becoming a politician like her father. Soon she will be contesting elections as an MLA in Andheri/Mumbai and has recently formed her own national party named Zarine Manchanda People’s Party. Her political aspirations continue to be a champion of the poor and less privileged as noted by many prestigious media outlets in India and around the world. It helps her to build a political base by continuing to deliver performances and actions that benefit her constituents in Mumbai.