Q. What was the problem you were grappling with?
A. In 2008, after the Lehman crisis, every retailer had walked out from DLF Promenade. It was at that juncture that I joined as the mall head. In three years I turned it around into the go-to mall in Delhi. At that time, I was given the choice to turn around an upcoming mall in Noida (the current Mall of India). It was a ramshackle building, which was getting built for over eight years. No brand wanted to take a lease there. I had the choice to continue as the Centre Head of Promenade or take this new project.
Q. Who did you approach for advice?
A. There were a lot of naysayers who said taking up the mall project would be a doom for my career. But, as I explored the area in Noida, I saw there was potential. It was then I went to a mentor and counsel, who is also my senior in the firm, to figure out if it was professional harakiri. I knew in my heart I wanted it, but I wanted to hear it from another person.
Q. What was the advice you received?
A. My mentor who is well regarded in the real estate development industry said: "You have converted difficulties into opportunities in the past, so just take it up. People will laugh at you but you have an entrepreneurial streak."
Q. How effective was it in resolving the problem?
A. The advice stood out. These are opportunities in one's career that allow you to chart your own course. It meant sitting in a construction site for three years and starting from ground zero. There is no looking back after that. The glass ceiling disappears, you are not a man or a woman, but a doer, a leader.