From being An Engineer with Bachelor's degree, a Master's in Business Administration & a Doctorate in Management Studies of Human Resources, T&D, Dr Pratima is a Corporate Leader, HR Evangelist turned Academic Entrepreneur. She is indeed a multifaceted personality who has various faces, on the professional front. She currently heads Crecers Academy as Founder Director and also she is the Executive Chief HR Advisor for organizations spread across IT, F&B, & Infrastructure. Also, she is a Professional Life & Mindfulness
Coach, Certified Parenting Practitioner and an NLP Master Coach. She is also identified as one of the 100 Most Influential HR professionals in the Asian continent.
She aims to build emotionally intelligent people in society and trains the school and college children through her Crecers Academy. The Spark Icon Team interviewed her to know more about her achievements. Indeed, it is heartening to have a conversation with Dr Pratima, for The Spark Icon.
1. An MBA graduate with a double PhD. And now, you are a coach and academic entrepreneur. How did all of this start?
A career is never a linear path. According to me, it is a constant revelation. One needs to listen to oneself and be intuitive about it. Post my engineering I realized that I enjoy working with business and people than coding in a closet. That led to MBA and fortunately too much more to explore in management & psychology. Being a voracious reader, I continue studying and taking exams, it has never stopped.
Entrepreneurship was latent for a long and as they say – when it's time, it's time. Probably I was uncomfortable with my comfort zone, irked with mundaneness and more so, I felt I was working for myself and contributing nothing to create change with what I can. The bravest and boldest decision I ever took was to take a plunge and leverage my strength.
2. What led to the start of Crecers Academy?
Stories or results happen over time, not overnight. Crecers had its roots deep for long to see its daylight. Let me tell you what "Crecers" mean – It's a Spanish word meaning growth; expand; strive. It was chosen with tangible meaning.
Three major experiences transpired to start –
a)As a professional counsellor every case made me think, this needs more hand-holding and if fixed earlier, lives can shape up a lot better. With that Life Skills took their shape encompassing building oneself with mindset, behaviour, personality escorting career, social skills, and money management resulting in Diploma in Life Skills.
b) As an HR Evangelist, I constantly witnessed HR Professionals struggling to shape up their careers. Unlike others, HR professionals come from diverse academics and experiences and lack business process and behavioural competency, and these are ultra vital for career progression. Conventional methods, Operational square approach, lack of financial knowledge… with these snags, one can't progress. So, wanted to create a fraternity of well-groomed, well-equipped, and super competent HR professionals. With that intent, we host a Diploma in Comprehensive HRM enhancing their skillsets to advanced levels.
c) Employability Skills – I have interviewed nothing less than three thousand candidates in all these years, and as I observed, every candidate is good and lacks in some fundamental aspects which they are unaware of and lose out on good opportunities and career launch focuses on preparing them for industry needs.
In a nutshell, Crecers started because I wanted to solve common & collective problems which are critical for well-being at an earlier stage and enhance dimensions of life through awareness and education, and that's the reason we kept tagline enhancing dimensions on life.
3. Life skills – How do you impart the training on this? How does the younger generation nowadays are eager to learn life skills?
We host a Diploma in Life Skills for all above 12 years.
Life is all about we(I), our career, our social relationships, and the money we earn for a secured life. Problems we have are only around these things and we touch base to upraise these imperative elements.
Training starts with fundamentals to understand the human anatomy of the brain. All of us grew learning A for Apple and our teachers showed red apple on the chart and we learned to perceive it. Think about it – If I want to teach you emotional intelligence, I first need to make you learn about your brain and mind and then move to emotions and connect it to your behaviour and personality.
We follow right from roots so that the young mind gets clarity and can imagine the internal world, only then these abstract concepts look concrete to comprehend.
Majority of the society still is unaware of the significance of life skills, mental health, mindfulness. Younger generations and their parents are yet to be open and consider that the earlier we learn, the better it is. Things are definitely shaping up and I constantly encourage that life skills apply to all of us irrespective of age and occupation, but extremely beneficial if started earlier.
4. As an HR Trainer, and academic entrepreneur, share with us some of your very interesting moments while interacting with the youngsters?
Oh! Yes, there are a bunch of them which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
While we function as coach or teacher or trainers, younger generations today look for
- Are you a subject matter expert and agile!
- How assertive, confident and practical do you sound & display your skills in imparting knowledge
- Being open enough to consider them equivalent to sheltering under designations or authority
While in one of the reputed institutions, I was speaking about career orientation and employability skills and one of the student asked me that she was asked a question during an interview and the question was – Why do our mobile phones are vertically rectangular and not in any other shape? She was unable to answer that question there and she intended to have an answer from my end. In turn, I asked her, what is the basic function of a phone. She said communication device. Great!, and how do you communicate?. She was a little apprehensive and I could see a question mark on her face. I said, we listen and talk. Draw a figure between senses of listening and talking. Is that simple enough!
As a coach, you should be capable enough to answer things technically with lucidity and such real-world questions seemingly simple should strike to make us think.
Today's youngsters are more utilitarian mindsets and as teachers, we should be more dexterous with them to make them think and extract answers from them instead of giving them ready.
5. When you were a kid what was the area of work that you said to yourself: "I will do this if I grow up"? What was the inspiration or reason behind it? And, is what you dreamed and what you are now doing the same?
Well, that's a nostalgic question. As a kid, I wanted to be an IAS officer and wanted to be in the education field. Both of my parents worked in the education sector and my dad was a teacher during his early career days. The entire credit of 'me being me' goes to their upbringing. Rising a child with confidence, positivity, and more importantly resilience isn't easy and they have done a fab job with it.
If not an IAS officer, I am certainly happy to be what I am today because I am touching lives equally on the ground in the place of being an administrator as well.
I should admit, any strong career-oriented woman needs solid family support and my parents have immensely supported me throughout for making my dreams come true. I am indeed living one.
6. What do you believe is most important – the degree that the candidates have or the practical knowledge that they possess?
No second thought – Practical knowledge stands upright. But that doesn't discount one to be bad at academics, sensibly which isn't possible.
Yet again, only with high grades and no conceptual or fundamentals is no good. All I can endorse is – give justice to where you are and work hard for yourself. Plus as you start working don't stagnate, you need to keep upgrading if you want to sustain.