Chandni Kapadia: Asia’s Most Trusted Leader 2022
Selected as Asia’s Most Trusted Leader 2022 by WCRCINT, Chandni Kapadia, Executive Director, GLS University is driving a world class education ecosystem with strong processes, dynamic leadership abilities and an unparalleled vision towards excellence.
WCRCLEADERS in conversation with Chandni Kapadia, Executive Director, GLS University
What makes a strong leader? What are your key leadership strengths are make the strongest attributes of success.
I believe becoming a strong leader is a process. You become stronger than before when you learn from your day to day experiences. A leader has to be flexible and adaptable to changes in his/her leadership style as per situation demands. You need to take some tough calls while at the same time you need to trust your people that they will do their jobs and give them the freedom of thought and actions. My leadership strength is believing in myself and my team!!
An accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? What challenges did you face to reach to the success.
A leader would always have a lot of critics on his journey of success. Believing in yourself and your work makes it all easy. Life is nothing without challenges and it is what makes it worth living!! It was my dream come true when I directly got to learn from Mr. Calvin Klein himself while studying in FIT, New York, and eventually I went on to become the brand’s Country Head. Accomplishing even the smallest of dreams you had as a young girl, is always a big high for you!!
What is your vision and how do you share that with your shareholders, employees and others?
As an Executive Director of GLS University, my vision is to change how the higher education is perceived in our Country. The goals and vision of our university focus upon inculcating smart education and making them global and noble citizens of this country. Creating a world class university is what we aim for and for that we collectively work as a big team with shared goals and path of success. I believe no goal is big if you believe in it and collectively work towards it as a shared dream. It was our President Shri Sudhir Nanavati’s dream to make transform a 90 year old educational institution to a Private university & the journey to this transformation has indeed been phenomenal.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
As a part of our corporate social responsibility, we run various blood camps, spend a part of our earnings on giving free education to deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds. Even during these unprecedented times of pandemic, we did our bit. We offer many schemes for our employees so that they never have to look anywhere else for their needs & they feel like they are a part of family even when at work Because of this most of our staff retention ratio is almost 90% and most of our staff leave the institution only post retirement.
One lesson that I have learned from life, is to be nice to people but not to let them walk all over you. I strongly believe in adapting to the circumstances yet staying true to myself as in the end what makes or breaks you is your inner self, and I feel that the cosmos will give you what you desire and truly deserve.
How do you drive business at global levels?
I have studied and worked abroad as well as in India. And both have different culture and Work ethics. I have been associated with the field of Education since a decade now. And certainly the education system is different here and abroad. In all these years I have established strong networks and have tried my best to give students an environment they would love to study. International Collaborations with different universities have provided an environment to grow for both the students and its staff. An educational institute should be such that students love to be a part of it.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition? What is the most significant aspect of leadership?
For me success is continuously growing to become better version of yourself each day. You are your biggest competitor and to sustain yourself in this changing world you should love what you do and I may have made few mistakes along the way but never have regretted my path which I have chosen for myself. I believe that is success when you have satisfaction of how far you’ve come in something you’ve always loved.
Most significant part of leadership is people, without your people who are you going to lead. I believe your people are your most important asset & the people in your organization will ultimately determine the success or failure of your business. As a leader it is important that you foresee what your organization needs and channel your efforts towards its growth & even your employees needs & growth for that matter for whatever time they are with you & perhaps even beyond that. Another significant aspect of leadership is being a great mentor . Mentoring is critical to develop future leaders. Mentoring is very important for leaders because it brings out the best out of the people you lead. Mentoring is critical to develop future leaders. As a mentor you generate confidence, inspire trust and fast-tracks team development. When you mentor as a leader, it is equally important that you be more approachable as a human and show empathy.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?
Empowered women empower others and at the end we have an empowered society. I strongly believe that if a nation can be empowered when the women of that nation have equal rights, equal say and equal pay as men. I have always believed in gender equality and have tried to have women in key positions because as I have experienced it can be quite hard for women to reach the top at times & retain that position for long!! I also have associated myself as National Design Council President of WICCI which works towards empowering women businesses and endeavours and have always made sure that women I am associated with have their own voice and be able to stand for themselves.