The Member Diaries – Chronicles of a journey into the land of entrepreneurial excellence
Being a member of one of the ASCENT Trust Groups is such a unique experience that it can be best summed up by the individuals members themselves.
At 36, Anand Baldawa is heading his family business at Seeba Group, manufacturers and exporters of Stainless kitchenware, houseware and gifting items.
Reminiscing upon the day that was his very first into the Trust Circle ‘Agni’ (the group name was thought up by him along with his group members) on the ASCENT forum, Anand grows nostalgic. It’s hard for him to imagine that two years have already flown by, but a wide smile spreads across his now beaming face as he acknowledges that over the past two years he has grown from strength to strength, expanding and improvising upon his family enterprise with the key insights gained through the collective wisdom of the group.
“I was anxious and a million thoughts whizzed through my head. How will it all be? How will they (the other group members) react to me, my thoughts and my experiences? Will I be able to add value to the more experienced entrepreneurs in the group? What if it does not work out?”
He pauses, lost in his thoughts, before continuing in a more calm voice “It all worked out remarkably well. I think it was the second or third meeting where I had the chance to share my business details, my pain points, my goals, etc. I ended up getting extremely honest, unbiased and non-judgemental feedback from everyone in the group. It was constructive criticism at its best and it came from a source I could bank upon. That experience reinstated my confidence in ASCENT.”
Anand is no stranger to academic or pragmatic knowledge which drives operations across industries.
A Chartered Accountant turned Investment Banker turned Entrepreneur, Anand carries over 18 years of experience in transaction and M&A advisory services as well as manufacturing and international trade. Having seen to the needs of many diverse industries be it construction, education, transport or even the railways, Anand is well versed in complex, competent and adaptive strategies. However, what impressed him the most at the Trust Group meetings was the amalgamation of differing viewpoints and approaches, “I definitely saw more perspectives to each experience and to each problem put on the table. It was like a 360 degree, 3D review of the problem, if you can visualise that!”
With a twinkle in his eyes, he continues, “I absolutely love listening to other members, hearing the diverse views and perspectives of my peer group is something I really enjoy and learn from. That’s the definition of fun for me!”
To summarise his ASCENT journey Anand goes back to the very first task he undertook as part of the forum, the ritual of christening his group along with his group members.
Thanks to the group, today he has come to personify Agni.
“You have to learn to see what each member is seeing and understand where they are coming from, basis their entrepreneurial experiences in life. Each one has been through a trial by fire to reach the place they currently hold. The more you hear them, the more rapidly you grow by tapping on key insights.”
He concludes by saying,” I am proud to say that now I feel like I am AGNI, the very embodiment of the thinking and the dedication which is reflected in the action and commitment from everyone in the group.”