Shalini Nadkarni’s Inspiring Career Journey and Professional Growth

Our featured Woman Achiever is Shalini Nadkarni, who has the ability to enhance our beauty. She is an esthetician, and her insights on life, experiences, and learnings are worth knowing. Keep reading to discover more about her.

Formative Years

Time and again, we have seen that parents play a critical role in the lives of their children by the way they raise them. How children’s personalities shape depends on what they have witnessed and imbibed in their growing-up years. Yes, children have traits specific to their personalities, but one cannot take away the role of a good upbringing. Shalini’s life truly exemplifies this.

Shalini comes from a background where both her parents were focused on their careers; they loved what they did and worked hard to succeed in their chosen fields. This deeply impacted the children, who realised that one must have a purpose in life and work hard to follow the ambition. The strong work ethic rubbed its magic on Shalini and is the reason, to a great extent, why she is where she is today.

Her mother, an esthetician, started working when Shalini was four years old and greatly influenced and inspired her daughter. She worked hard and put her heart and soul into her work to make it a resounding success, winning accolades and recognition. When Shalini looks back, this is what she remembers most. So inspired was she by her mother and her profession that, unbeknownst to her, that profession became her calling too.

Career and Professional Growth

Having a career woman as a mother was an excellent inspiration for Shalini. From a  young age, she had seen her mother go to work, travel, upgrade her skills and be passionate about her work. And she had also seen how all the hard work translated into rewards and recognition. So she was highly inspired to be someone like her, so having a career was a given for her.

However, when it came for her to make a choice, she chose to be in a different space; she decided to be in the corporate world and opted to be in the area of advertising and PR. Corporate communication came naturally to her, and she wanted to explore that space. She loved her work and happily put in the hours required. She gained experience in different organisations and also kept upgrading her skills along the way. Even though it was a challenging journey that entailed working in the morning and studying at night, she did not give up.

A learner at heart, she has always enjoyed learning and enhancing her capability. And looking back, she feels all that learning continues to help her even though she is not a part of that industry today.

Though her mom was doing exceptionally well and making a name for herself, with time, she started realising that there was a gap in her work. That gap involved reaching out to people and telling them about her work. She needed someone who could help her reach out to people and was equally invested in the business. There couldn’t be anyone better than her own flesh and blood, and not only was Shalini her daughter, but she was in corporate communication.

So she approached her daughter, and the daughter rose to the occasion and decided to help her create a website followed by a newsletter. One thing led to the other. To make the website, Shalini had to learn about the business, and the more she learned, the more she realised that she liked the industry, and that is when she decided to take the plunge.

Shalini quit her corporate job to join her mother full-time. Once she did that, she started getting trained by her mother and enrolling in courses to enhance her industry knowledge. Shalini knew that she had a legacy which she had to carry forward, and so she had to work hard to ensure that.

What worked for her was that she had a ready-made business and an established clientele, but then she had to prove herself to meet her mom’s high standards and ensure that her mom’s clients also liked her work. So she put in the effort and today is very well known in the space.

As she says, she took the opportunity to move to a new space, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But one thing that she does continuously is constantly upgrading her knowledge and skill set to stay competitive.

Also Read: Time for Multiple Careers …

Challenges and Roadblocks

Shalini believes that challenges are part and parcel of every individual’s life, and she is no different. But the way you handle them makes all the difference. So in her journey,  though she has had several roadblocks, she has dealt with them confidently and effectively.

One of the earlier challenges in her journey was when she moved from Delhi to Gurgaon. Delhi was where her mom had made a name and a place for herself. People knew her, so getting clients was easy. But when she moved to Gurgaon, it was like starting all over again. Few knew her lineage, so she had to start afresh, which wasn’t easy.

What made it even more challenging was that the industry she was a part of was relatively unknown. Like her mother, Shalini is also an esthetician, something that most people do not understand. This was especially true when she moved to Gurgaon. People were used to randomly buying products off the shelf or running to dermatologists for their skin concerns. But here was someone who could take care of all these issues differently and uniquely. She could do it by giving them treatments and massages and helping them take care of their skin non-invasively, but first, she had to educate people about what she could do and then make a place for herself.

Added to this was that she was a small fry pitted against big and well-known brands and chains offering many other services, which she couldn’t match up to, as she was only into skin treatments.

So first of all, entering the market and then surviving there was no mean task. But here she is eight years later, having made a name for herself and built a solid and loyal clientele. She has managed to hold her own despite stiff competition.

But what has worked for her is that, unlike the big chains, Shalini gives personalised attention to her clients. She treats and deals with their issues by giving them individual attention. As a result, she can connect with them.

For any kind of healing or treatment to be holistic, one of the most critical requirements is the personal touch. And this is where Shalini scores over the more prominent names. She administers the treatments herself and, as a result, can connect with her clients and build a rapport with them. The personal touch enables her clients to open up to her while undergoing the treatment, making the connection deeper and stronger, making the treatment more effective.

As a woman, she has had her share of struggles and challenges. Shalini believes that in the patriarchal society that we live in, it’s not easy for a woman to break away from the norm and go out into the world to work. The prejudices and traditions make it hard, but one has to be firm and follow one’s goals with conviction.

While being part of the beauty industry, day-to-day- existence is relatively easier, as she is largely dealing with women; there have been instances where she has had to deal with men coming up with inappropriate suggestions, but she has managed to deal with them quietly and firmly. Also, she believes your hard work and sincerity come through over time, and people start respecting your work and you. She is of the opinion that rather than being aggressive or too pushy, there is a quieter and more effective way of putting your point across and putting people in their places.

Learnings of Life

Life teaches us all many lessons which help us to grow and evolve. One of the things that Shalini has learnt is to give 100% to whatever she is doing. And to do it with sincerity and passion. She doesn’t believe in doing things half-heartedly.

Also, she believes it is essential to keep learning and educating oneself as one goes along. There is no time or age for learning, and one can do it all the time. This is especially true when things are changing fast, and one has to be on one’s toes to keep abreast of everything. She is part of a fast-paced industry that is constantly evolving with new products and techniques, so she has to keep herself updated.

Also, one must always be optimistic about life regardless of the situation or challenge. Looking at the positive side of life and being positive will attract like-minded people. In fact, keeping this in mind, Shalini makes a concerted effort to keep negativity and negative people out of her life.

Juggling the Various Roles

Shalini believes every woman faces the challenge of balancing the multiple roles she has to play. It is a tricky situation, but one has to find a way out. And the best way to do that is by having your priorities crystal clear and knowing when to do what.

Shalini has stood by this principle and led her life accordingly.

So when her son was young and needed her attention, she prioritised that and managed her work life around that. In this, Shalini feels that she was fortunate enough to join her mom when she did because working with her gave her a little more flexibility, as she should take time off to take care of her son. Then, when she started independently, having her own setup made things a tad easier. She could be there when her son needed her and plan her work around that.

But as he grew older and with the support of her husband, she started taking on more work and even did a Yoga Teachers Training for her personal growth. And today, when she looks back and sees how her son has turned out, she is happy and fulfilled, knowing that she prioritised her life the way she did.

However, she understands not everyone can do it that easily, especially women in the corporate world. Therefore, she feels corporates should step forward to provide women with the facilities they need to balance their work and family life, like creches.

Achievements and Accomplishments

While in her personal life, it is her son who gives her the feeling of a job done well in her professional life, it is how she has made a name for herself despite all odds.

Not only has she been able to take her mother’s legacy forward, but she has also built upon it by introducing new products and techniques, taking into account the latest developments in the field. The fact that she can offer the best to her clients is a big high for her.

Added are the friendships and relationships she has built and fostered. Her biggest joy comes from waking up every day looking forward to what it has in store for her.

The Highs and Lows of Life

So like all of us, Shalini has moments that can get demotivating and frustrating, but she has a way of dealing with them.

She feels that a routine in life is essential as it ensures that you do what you are required to despite your moods or moments. It does not give you the option to avoid things. So for her, her yoga and her fitness regime start her day.

Then her music comes to her rescue anytime she is down and out, and she puts on her favourite music to chase the blues away.

She also feels that your love for what you do can be a great way to deal with all the ups and downs. She enjoys what she does, and her clients love her work, greatly motivating her. The fact that she can help them deal with their concerns and make them happy makes her want to get better and better at her work. She desires to keep learning and evolving, which only lets her remain low for a short while. Sooner than later, It makes her get up and get going.

Ten Years from Now

Shalini believes one cannot plan too much in advance, particularly after what Covid taught us. Life is quite uncertain, and one cannot say what the future will bring. But having said that, she knows she wants to grow in her chosen space offering better treatments and products to her clients.

And if possible, she would even want to get into education and teaching.

Successful Women and the World

Shalini believes that the world is full of different kinds of people, and they react to situations depending on where they come from. They could be supportive and encouraging towards successful women, or they could be the opposite as well. But the woman she feels has to take it all in her stride and not get carried away by anything.

To her, dealing with all this came easy as she had a role model in her mother who taught her the right way. As a guide and a mentor, she made her understand how to handle different people. Also, Shalini feels that one earns the respect of other people through one’s work.

She feels fortunate to be surrounded by a strong network of people who encourage and support her. And this includes friends, family and clients. They trust her, recommend her and go all out to support her. 

She feels it is best to stay clear of those who are negative. However, sometimes, one can convert that negativity to positivity by understanding where those people come from and showing compassion.

She feels people get intimidated by those who have made it in life, but it’s best to continue doing your work rather than getting affected. You don’t need to explain anything to anyone; your work is enough to prove your worth.

However, she has a word of caution. She feels that just because one is successful, one doesn’t have to keep harping over the fact and definitely not carry it back home. So there is some bit of balancing required here. At home, you have to be the mother, the wife. You can’t wear the successful woman hat in the house. But, like your priorities in balancing your roles here also, you need to know when to do what. Therefore how people treat you also has to do with you.

Switching Gears

Shalini has a fascinating perspective towards this trend and feels that two kinds of people exist.

First are those who have been following a career path for some time but then decide to change to something new and different in their mid-lives.

Then there are women who she feels could never work due to their family obligations or had to quit working. Once these women reach their forties, they want to start doing something to make their lives more meaningful. By then, their family lives are fairly settled, the kids have grown up, and they feel the urge to return to the workforce and regain financial independence.

Her advice to them is not to get frustrated but to have an open mind about what they might do. There is so much information available, so many opportunities, and so many role models, and there is no dearth of inspiration. So one should keep looking and find what one likes, which could be their Second Act.

As far as the others are concerned, according to her, they may have been doing something for a long time but slowly realise that that is not something they like. So rather than continuing with it, they decide to change tracks and do something they love.

She feels that material things are a huge motivator for many people in the initial years. But, after a while, they realise that being materialistic is not how they want to be, so they decide to follow something they love and are passionate about.

According to her, in life, as you acquire more and more of the material objects, the less satisfaction they give you. They follow the law of diminishing marginal utility.

Also, with time and age, people want to grow as individuals and move to the higher needs in the hierarchy of needs. And this awareness is hitting people in a big way nowadays, thanks to all the exposure and awareness. Tangible needs and their satisfaction no longer make people happy.

Also, as against the earlier times, there is much more financial stability and ability today, so people can afford to switch gears and explore other options.

For the Young Girls

The most important piece of advice she has for young girls is never to sell oneself short. She says you could decide to do anything, but whatever you do has to be with 100% passion. It is not about only chasing material things but doing something you love and enjoy. And once you find your calling, she feels you must keep doing it despite all challenges.

She believes it is vital to keep growing and learning as the world is changing quickly. So to succeed, you must be aware of what’s happening around you. Therefore she says one must constantly work on oneself, one’s health, personal life and career.

According to her, you will always encounter negative people in life, and though it is essential to accept them, you can’t let that affect you. So what you must focus on is having a network of good friends and well-wishers who are there for you. Therefore, you must spend time building and fostering relationships.

She advises that there is no need to do things just for the sake of doing them or to make an impression. She feels that one must do something one is passionate about because that will be long-lasting and sustainable. A whim or a fancy will only be temporary.

According to her, financial independence is a must for every girl, and there can be no compromise there. A woman must have an identity distinct and separate from everyone and everything around her.

But the ultimate goal should be to be happy in whatever one chooses to do.

A Woman is a Woman’s Worst Enemy

Shalini does not believe that it is a woman who is a woman’s worst enemy. She feels that men are equally jealous and competitive in life, but that never gets talked about. Society has put this label on women, and it is not right to do that.

And those women who do feel jealous or competitive are those who are not happy with their lives. One should therefore understand where they are coming from and empathise with them.

However, she has been fortunate because her biggest supporters are women, including her friends, relatives and clients.

Also Read:  10 Reasons Women Make Great Leaders

Can a Woman Have It All?

Shalini feels that having it all has a sense of finality to it in terms of that being the end. So, therefore, she doesn’t believe in that. She wants to keep having something more to achieve in life, which gives her a reason to grow and progress. She feels that having something to look forward to and work at is essential.

However, she also feels that one must be able to decide what one’s all is. Once you are clear about that, then you could have it all. Since women are generally pretty clear about what they want and can prioritise their lives, they can have it all.

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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