Natasha began her career in finance with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad, implementing process changes to reduce cost and improve control. Her financial analysis and communication skills won her department the Best Analytics Team award. While at DRL, she volunteered with Dr Reddy’s Foundation to help expand their livelihood program. Later she left the corporate sector to join Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad, as Manager, CEO’s Office, streamlining processes that helped Naandi smoothly expand from two to six states. At Naandi she was instrumental in process improvements, project planning and as a donor liaison.
Family drew Natasha back home to Pune, where she set up a training academy for Inn-Venue Hospitality. Later, she leveraged a dual MBA in Finance and HR from Symbiosis University and her multi-functional experience to set up an independent training and communication consultancy. Her clientèle was primarily corporate but she continued to work with educational non-profits and CSR Foundations.
I’ve been volunteering since childhood, with the environment and animal rescue being two of my passions. When I decided to start my first independent project as an adult, I chose reforestation in a desolate village that lay in no man’s land. Neither Pune nor Pimpri Chinchwad claimed the village, as it was within the boundaries of the 3,600-acre campus of the College of Military Engineering. Luckily, I had a great mentor, and when I proposed the idea she asked me a seemingly simple question, “Have you chosen this village because it needs what you want, or do you want to do what the village needs?”.
I was an adult, but still a teenager, and this was a huge mindset shift for me. From volunteering for outcomes I wanted, to working towards someone else’s goal. Eventually, after a long and very participative village meeting, we adult-teenagers became teacher-trainers to village students appearing for their 10th and 12th board exams. In a couple of months, it quickly expanded to include students of various ages who wanted to improve their English. Somewhere along this journey of mutual learning, we planted trees, and the village took on the responsibility for their care.
Dr Anji Reddy, a mentor, often lamented, “Why do people think they need an MBA to sell soap but not to solve the world’s most complex problem, poverty?” (at the turn of the century, Unilever was the most favoured employer of most MBA students). For nearly two decades of my professional life, I straddled and switched between corporate and social sectors. I think of SVP as the best of both worlds: brilliant corporate minds with big hearts, working with passionate Investees to help solve problems and scale solutions.