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From running a library in her bedroom at age seven to co-founding India’s leading executive search and recruitment company, EmmayHR, Monisha Advani’s entrepreneurial graph epitomises her words: “I’ve always wanted to be the boss.” Monisha’s success is proof that if you can survive and grow with a sustainable model without external funding, you are indeed doing things right!

When she read out her business plan to potential investors, some suggested she get married, others demanded a controlling interest. Monisha didn’t listen, of course, and entered the world of recruitment business in 1996, when most recruiters called themselves management consultants and shied away from being recognised for their job. Monisha aimed to change this perception, while dealing with the cliches of being a woman in a man’s world, operating sans collateral, and working only on a cash-positive model.

With a minimal bank loan, she started EmmayHR. The first three months yielded small cheques for petty jobs, till the big break came. The rest, as they don’t say, is her story. Monisha was CEO from 1996 to 2007; in 2005, the company was bought over by Randstad Holding N V, the world’s second largest HR services company. She gladly hung up her ‘corporate boots’, and her employee ID, in February 2009.

Monisha is a panellist at numerous seminars and forums, a strategic advisor to British Airways, HSBC, State Street Global Advisors, Countrywide Financials, AND Data, Capita plc, and Banca Sella; a corporate member of ERA, NASSCOM, and CII; and an active supporter of NICCT and INBA, to promote Indo-Dutch collaboration.

She was featured in Persons to Watch – Asiaweek 1993 and was Savvy Woman of the Month in 1992. Today, she is an active supporter of many NGOs and promotes entrepreneurship at the grassroots level in India.

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