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Penning a success story

May 15, 2008

A water baby if there was one (try getting her out of a pool), this young woman gorges on pasta, sips Bellini (a sparkling wine and peach cocktail), sports expensive designer bags and watches but loves shopping at Dilli Haat, swings to Salsa beats to stay fit and yet… is dead serious when it comes to business. And yes, she’s also extremely successful when it comes to work.

Pooja Jain
Pooja Jain
Perhaps that’s what makes 32-yearold Pooja Jain unique in a world where most bosses prefer to be photographed in grey suits as they sip black coffee and flaunt their Patek Philippes as they talk about Q4 results.

The Executive Director (and daughter of the owner D.K. Jain) at the Rs 1,000-crore Luxor Group looks and talks just like any other woman of her age, till she starts discussing work.

And that’s when you realise how this young woman has taken the family company from being a seller of pens to an established brand name in stationeries, real estate and hospitality.

 Pooja's day out

Being a daughter, a young woman and a top exec at the same time isn’t easy. Check this out:

7.30 A.M. Hit the gym for 45 minutes of cardio
8.30 A.M.Sit with parents over breakfast
9.15 A.M.Pooja does her Puja
10 A.M. Walk into office
10 A.M. to 7 P.M.Different things on different days, mostly at the spur of the moment. Also a regular meeting with the ’big boss’ in his office
7.30 P.M. Attend Salsa classes
9 P.M.Visit sister’s place in south Delhi and spend time with her nieces
10 P.M.Occasionally hits the party scene with old school pals
Predictably, when we meet at 360 Degrees, the coffee shop at the Oberoi, she orders champagne and asks: “So, what do you wanna know?” We are curious, of course, to learn about the person behind that pretty face. “I would describe myself as spontaneous, lively and emotional,” she smiles, checking to see if her hair is looking all right. But so much work must surely bore her?

“Oh, I’m a complete workaholic. I visit all our offices on different days, meet colleagues from various divisions and learn more about running the company every day,” she says.

What is it like working in a company she knows will be hers one day? “That’s not an issue at all. When I joined as a product manager, I reported to so many people. I learn from them as I move on,” she rattles off. Is she a fussy dresser? “Not at all.

 Inside track

Born: In Delhi. October 1975

Family: Parents (D.K. Jain, Chairman, Luxor Group, and Usha Jain) and three siblings—Payal, Pankaj and Priya

Educated: Lady Shri Ram College and London School of Economics (Masters in International Business)

First Job: In 1997, as a trainee at Gillette in UK

First salary: Roughly £150 a week
Music: Indian Classical Music and Eric Clapton

Favourite film: The Kite Runner

Hobbies: Music, swimming and travelling

Food: Italian (Travertino at the Oberoi is a favourite)

Drink: Bellini

Best Advice: Never give up

I sometimes wear salwar suits to work and love shopping at Dilli Haat. When I am out meeting people, however, I like to look dapper.” Pooja likes Bottega sunglasses and dotes on Hermes bags. She is also fond of watches and sports an Audemars Piguet. She is also an avid collector of art.

And before you say “wow”, here’s more: this lady is a travel freak and will do anything to go to a beach. “I love everything about the water—swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving—you name it,” she laughs.

Predictably, her favourite destinations are South Africa (I’m crazy about animals, too) and Australia. Kappadokia in Turkey (it’s full of rocks) also fascinates her.

Given a million dollars more, what would she like to do? we ask. “Open a Luxor school or a university,” is the surprising answer. “I’m deeply involved in education. I have just bought the play school I went to 30 years ago. One day, I want to start a university,” she says. Here’s raising a toast to lofty dreams.

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