Indian women are scripting history across the globe and how! Here, we are talking about Radhika Gupta who became one is one of the youngest Indians to become an CEO. Radhika achieved this remarkable feat at the age of 33. But the road to success was not an easy one for one. From being bullied for her Indian accent to facing a string of job rejections after college, Radhika had many unfair encounters in her journey. She shared her inspiring story with Humans of Bombay.
“I was born with a crooked neck. If that wasn’t enough to single me out–I was always the new kid in the school,” Radhika Gupta, chief executive officer of Edelweiss MF, told Humans of Bombay.
Radhika’s father is a diplomat, and as per the demand of her father’s job, she moved places during her teenage and early adulthood. She lived in India, Pakistan and New York before arriving in Nigeria, where she says her Indian accent was judged. “They named me ‘Apu’, a character from The Simpsons,” said Gupta of her former classmates. “They compared me to my mom, who worked at my school. She’s a stunning woman, and people always told me how ugly I looked in comparison; my confidence plummeted,” she said.
At the age of 22, things came to a head for Gupta after she faced her seventh job rejection. “I looked out of the window and said ‘I’ll jump’,” she recalls. Following this, her friends asked her to consult a psychiatrist and she was diagnosed with depression. She was admiited to a psychiatric ward and the only reason they let her go was because she told them she had a job interview.
“My life was on the right track,” says Gupta. “But 3 years later, after I survived the financial crisis of 2008, I wanted a change– so, at 25, I moved to India & started my own asset management firm with my husband & friend.”
A few years later, their company was acquired by Edelweiss MF. “I climbed the corporate ladder. I became a saree in a room full of suits & I wanted to raise my hand for opportunities,” says Gupta. Therefore, when Edelweiss MF began looking for a CEO, Gupta was initially hesitant but decided to apply, encouraged by her husband.
“The next year, I was invited to speak at an event–I shared my childhood insecurities and my suicide attempt. I let go of my baggage. And my talk traveled; I became known as ‘the girl with the broken neck.’ People shared their stories with me,” says Gupta.
Today, after tasting both failure and success, Gupta says her er biggest achievement is accepting her imperfections and understanding they do not make her less beautiful. “So now, when I receive comments on my appearance, I just say, ‘Yes, I have a squint in the eyes, & a broken neck. What’s unique about you?’” she says.
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