Anannya Parekh, our Ninja Of The Week, is not just like every other 21-year old. She is currently pursuing her third year of Aerospace Engineering and is running her own startup, The Inner Goddess Academy!
The Inner Goddess Academy inspires women to discover themselves, fulfill their potential and pursue their passions. They enrich women with skills and information and equip them with the critical tools required to be at the forefront of leadership and innovation.
Starting the Inner Goddess Academy, wasn’t Anannya’s plan and neither did she foresee it coming! There were a series of steps that inspired her to start it.The first and most strong reason was because of a book called Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. The book showed that only 12-13% of leadership positions in the world was occupied by women! This really agitated Anannya and nudged her towards finding a solution to this. There were many reasons for this disappointing figure like lack of confidence in women, family problems, societal pressures etc!
Anannya really felt the need to do something about this, so she conducted surveys, carried out research, consulted all her co-workers in AIESEC to contribute their ideas for this cause. She also spoke to some eminent and influential women in Chennai, including her Mother, and they all felt that for women, climbing up the career ladder, was a do or die situation!
Also, another incident that triggered her was that her parents sent her brother and her out of the house to pursue their careers and dreams, and whilst her parents told her to prioritise marriage, kids and career equally, her brother was given no such advice!
These series of events, lead Anannya towards starting The Inner Goddess Academy. She doesn’t consider it to be a complete success yet but attributes all that she has achieved, to her team of 30 people who all have a selfless motive to work for this company, since none of them are paid a salary yet.
Anannya feels that her success was majorly because of three very strong habits. Firstly, she is a voracious reader, since 3rd grade! She started reading at a very young age and always has a book in her bag, wherever she goes! She manages to read 5-6 books a month despite her busy schedule! It keeps her mind very active and helps her learn!
Secondly, she likes being busy at all times by always doing something or the other!
“Don’t while away your time and rarely ever says no to an opportunity!”
Something else, she also considers extremely important is to put all her efforts and invest in emotional relationships with school and college friends! For they are her solid support system in times of need!
When asked about the obstacles she’s faced in her journey, Anannya says that “Every entrepreneur could vouch for the fact that everyday is an obstacle, haha!”
A glitch that she faced was that she didn’t have the right team at one point, and they started off well but lost momentum. So she had to let go of some people and that was really hard on her because she’s never done that before! She had to make such a major HR decision but it turned out really great in the long run.
In this journey of hers, Anannya has had three exceptionally proud moments. First, she was selected to be a speaker at the Women Economic Forum, in Delhi in 2015, to talk about young entrepreneurship, which was an honour for her.
The second one was when she finally launched her second product, the Inner Goddess Conference. It is a 2-day program which is a little more advanced. She managed to pull it off smoothly and it was a huge success.
Though, her proudest moment was the Girls 20 summit, on 16th of June, 2017! She was chosen as a finalist, to represent India at the Girls 20 Summit in Munich. This summit focuses on the economic concept of Female Labour Force Participation. Her entire trip was sponsored and she met really eminent people who inspired her to better the Inner Goddess Academy!
Throughout her journey towards success, Anannya has always been supported by her family, boyfriend, and her executive team, which is like a close-knit family. Her future goals are to expand The Inner Goddess Academy, in Bangalore and Mumbai by the end of 2019. She also wants to give her GMAT and apply to colleges all over the world for MBA, She wants to travel as much as she can, and also actively practice Kathak, a dance form which she had learned in her childhood.
ADVICE TO THE READERS:
India is going to have the highest youth population by 2020, and according to Anannya, it’s up to us to make the right decisions when it comes to our lives. Don’t mess up, save the country. Stop being ignorant towards minorities because unless the youth collaborates with each other, India won’t be as successful!
To women specifically: Stop cutting yourself short. Just because women had it hard in the past doesn’t mean you have to have it hard too!