Aditi Balbir Aditi Balbir is a pioneer in true sense. Though hospitality is often thought to be a woman’s forte, when it comes to spearheading the hospitality industry, the first choice is always a man. But breaking the mold is the CEO and founder of V Resorts. Aditi Balbir has a management degree from ISB Hyderabad and Fuqua, Duke University. This dynamic entrepreneur is the only woman in this field and is creating ripples that can be felt along the patriarchal hierarchy. Her previous experience in Finance has helped her in her maiden venture. V Resorts has created a niche for itself, catering to the overworked public who seek little escape and respite from the mundane and humdrum of life. There are over 80 properties in 16 states and works to promote grass-root level empowerment by promoting employment and income through showcasing of local handicrafts and using products that are available in the local market and are completely organic. Aditi Balbir doesn’t believe in growing alone, she takes other women along with her. She is an Angel Investor and mentors and puts her weight behind creating a platform for future women entrepreneurs. For her contribution, she has vetted with several awards like ‘Dell Foundation 200 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs In The World’, ‘Exceptional Women of Excellence 2017’ from World Economic Forum, and many more. The Voice of Woman presents the story of Aditi Balbir. Read on to learn more about this icon and inspiration. What ignited your passion for the tourism industry? The fact that by the time I was an adult I’d travelled to 5 major continents over the world. So I always saw the tourism industry from the eyes of a traveller and not a tourist. Since I was 6 years old I have always been travelling with my parents all over the world and I have been to over 100 countries and countless destinations to date. So, travelling has carved my love for tourism! Are you an avid traveler yourself? Tell us about your favorite destinations. My favorite destinations have always been offbeat ones, that include a lot of road travel, engaging with locals, and are not overrun by tourists. I don’t have favorite destinations, just favorite experiences. For example, while traveling to Greece, more than Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos, which are the popular tourist destinations, I enjoyed Crete. Crete is lesser-known among tourists, so I got to enjoy the small towns within Crete and be blown away by the beauty of it all and enjoy the silence and solitude. How tough or easy has it been for you to establish yourself as a successful businesswoman? I think I had it easier than most because I was venture-funded and had access to a large network beforehand. I come from a similar background and the company had the required seed capital. I had it quite comfortable, as I never had to worry where would my salary come from since the company was always solvent. This allowed me to focus on how to expand my business and take it from strength to strength. What motivates you to pursue your passion? I think there is no such thing as passion. Passion seems momentary and the truth is it takes a lot of time and effort to be able to create something large. So motivation is not driven by passion, it is driven by the need to create something meaningful. If you have taken money from an investor, you have to guarantee a return on investment, take the company to greater heights, and not be overshadowed by competition- those are the things that should motivate you. Of late, there has been a huge uproar about mental wellbeing. How do you keep yourself mentally sane in tough times? Meditation. In fact, any kind of self-work is pretty tough and mediation is too. It takes a lot of practice but it keeps me sane. It helps to keep your anger and frustration level in check. Initially, it might seem really hard and that’s why many people often give up before they can reap the benefits. you have to keep practising to make it easy. What are the hurdles you face in your professional arena- if any? An entrepreneur faces hurdles and challenges on a daily basis, from customers, employees and the business itself. It’s a way of life. In fact, another word for entrepreneurship is the ability to solve problems. If you don’t like solving problems, then you can’t be a successful entrepreneur. You got into this space because you saw that there was something lacking or there was a problem in the society, which needed to be solved. The pandemic scenario has drastically increased cases of domestic violence and abuse. What are your thoughts on that? Don’t you think women’s safety has failed to live up to their mark? Women’s safety has always failed to live up under any scenario, COVID or not. It will take generations of rethinking and changing behaviour before this problem gets solved for good. Everybody has to get involved in this process from the government to teachers to institutions. A lot of work has to be done to change the mindset of the future generation of men who are still very frustrated, angry, poor with no access to proper income- and until something is done about all this, the problem will remain! You have earned high recognition and laurels for your work. However, there are still scenarios in India where girls are not allowed to chase their passions and dreams and are forced to go by the patriarchal norms of society. How do you think the progressive society goes to shun that situation? Society can only enable, the actual plunge that needs to be taken by the person herself. If a girl herself doesn’t want to take a plunge of entrepreneurship, it doesn’t matter what the society can do or not do. The field of female entrepreneurship is relatively new, there are only very few women who get funded or are coming to the venture capital space, but why is that? Women do not have a platform. What if someone wanted to become an entrepreneur, and even if nobody stopped them but still do not have that platform where they can reach out for help and guidance. But that said, the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs is tiny and I am working hard to set up a platform where women (who want to become entrepreneurs) can get access to knowledge, skills, network, and capital. What would you like to convey to aspiring youngsters out there through the Voice of Woman? That there is no time like the present to follow your dream. 2020 is the year where the maximum amount of money has been raised for women entrepreneurs! So access it.