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Made in Chandigarh: First focus on learning, says Shameel Sharma

An alumnus of St John’s and DAV College, this corporate honcho says the time he spent in the city influenced many of his critical choices

punjab Updated: Sep 07, 2018 15:09 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Made in Chandigarh,HT Chandigarh,Shameel Sharma
Shameel Sharma says youngsters must make the most of this connected world.

Name: Shameel Sharma

Age: 44

Designation

I am the Managing Director for Kantar’s Global Delivery Centre (KGDC) in India with six offices across Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru. As the MD, I look after the effective running of all the units, which include HR, Finance and Facilities apart from Operations, Sales and Business Development.

Hometown

Though I was born in Roorkee as my father, a pilot in the Indian Air Force, was posted there, I have always considered Chandigarh my home town as it’s here that my parents finally grew roots.

Education

I completed my matriculation from St John’s and my 12th from DAV College, Chandigarh, before moving to Delhi to study hotel management from Pusa. I also did a one-year executive management course from IIM, Kolkata, in 2009.

My Chandigarh Connect

I first moved to Chandigarh when my father got posted in the 48 squadron and was allotted a house in Sector 31. That became my base for seven years. I made many friends when I started schooling at St John’s, Sector 26. I was part of the choir in the initial years and then dabbled in a lot of sports. I remember cycling down from Sector 31 to 26 on my modified BSA. Those days cycling was a pleasure as there were no red lights, only roundabouts, and the traffic was quite scanty.

Moving from the protective environment of St John’s to the more independent DAV College, I added to my list of friends, and learnt the art of bunking and proxy attendance. Those days, Sector 11 and Sector 17 were our much favoured hangouts; I see the action has now shifted to Sector 9. I was fortunate to make some great friends who helped to pave my path to a great future. Though I had always wanted to join the IAF or the Army, hotel management was in vogue in 1992, and I decided to try it out.

Area of Expertise

My early career exposed me to industries like hotels, airlines, BPOs and ITES, giving me a 360-degree view of management, be it operations or support services. Over the years, I have developed strong leadership skills, which have helped me build effective employee relationships. KGDC was ranked the 22nd Best Company to Work in India for 2018-19 under my leadership.

My Secret Sauce

Failures come and go, but learning from them, picking yourself up and moving on towards your goal is the key. Honesty, passion and commitment go hand in hand in all that I do. I am a keen learner, humble about my achievements, and great with people. My people connect helps me forge strong relationships in settings where multiple and diverse teams come together to work as a single unit to achieve the stated goal.

The Turning Point

In 2002, when I was working with KLM, the BPO industry was touted as the “sunrise industry” and I moved to Convergys in Gurgaon. That move changed my life, as I found myself growing by leaps and bounds.

What I Owe to Chandigarh

The initial years of our life tend to have a compounding effect on our future. The time that I spent at St John’s and the friends I made influenced many of my critical choices in life.

Things I like to Do when I Visit Chandigarh

I like paying a visit to Nada Sahib in Panchkula, making a stopover at Sector 17, and driving through Sector 31 where I spent most of my childhood. I also enjoy spending an evening at the Sukhna Lake besides meeting old friends.

How has the city Changed?

The city is more crowded, the roundabouts have given way to traffic lights. The people have become more modern, and fashion conscious which is great, and the number of eateries too has grown manifold.

Change I Want to See in the city

The government should control the number of vehicles per house and promote public transport by adding more AC buses to its fleet. It should also use more solar and battery-operated devices/modes of transport to keep the air clean. As the city continues to grow, maybe it’s time to assess if it should start growing vertically. Chandigarh is known for its safety record, the police should continue to maintain it.

The best advice I ever got

Never run after the money, focus on the content of the job and the learning that you are getting, money will follow. If you are in a role for too long and there is limited learning, get out and do something different, else you will become redundant.

My advice to youngsters in my field

Have a very clear direction and follow it, even if you fail a few times. While it’s great to be an entrepreneur don’t chase other people’s success stories, dive into something only if you are passionate about it. There are enough mentors in the market, use the social media apps like LinkedIn to make your connections and seek advice. Today, the world is more connected and access to knowledge is easier than in the past, make the most of it. But also remember to take time out for yourself – life is short, enjoy it to the hilt.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 15:09 IST