If you’re reading this, you’re probably (hopefully!) a little bit intrigued by my story. Either that or it’s a slow day, workwise!
Why is she here, in India? How does she think that she can help me navigate my business challenges? You may even be wondering – how can she help me settle in to this new and strange country?
Though there are very many foreigners living in Asia, India and Mumbai, there aren’t so many who stay for decades and really make their adopted country their new home. I originally came to Asia on a backpacking trip in the year 2000, and loved it so much, that I never left. Since then, I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the region, learned an awful lot about diverse communities across countries in Central, South-East, and North-East Asia, and finally made Mumbai, India my home.
I have a passion for people, learning and development and I am fascinated with the way that different cultures affect behaviour. I’ve worked closely with over a dozen countries in the region, and developed a deep understanding of beliefs and customs, preferences and values, which has deepened my love of this part of the world.
Over the years, here and in the UK, I’ve helped solve complex business problems, launched award winning advertising campaigns, partnered with Business Leaders to ensure excellence in recruiting and developing people, and coached senior executives to meet stretching goals. Here’s a bit more about my journey :
Born in Exeter, UK. Thankfully my fashion sense improved eventually (though it took a while).1970
2 awesome years of being an only child, before my sister joined us. As you can see, I was very happy about it.1972
Celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee in style1977
Won a scholarship to a posh private school. My Mum gave me an awesome “home haircut” using a pudding basin, to celebrate.1981
Discovered Wham! And fluorescent pink accessories. It was a year for fashion to remember.1984
Graduated from The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne with a degree in English Literature and no clue what I wanted to do in life. Became the President of the Student Union, to while a year away while I decided.1992
First “proper job” in marketing, as a Brand Assistant at Procter & Gamble. Quickly realized that my heart lay in advertising, and moved to McCann Erickson, one of the best agencies in town. Wined and dined a LOT of clients, and spent a lot of time partying, in the name of networking.1993
Left the UK, having risen through the ranks of McCann Erickson and J Walter Thompson. A year of backpacking took me all over Asia, from India to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.2000
Offered a role as Regional Account Director for the Unilever Foods Business with J Walter Thompson in Bangkok. Grabbed it eagerly, and exchanged dorm rooms and bus travel for 5 star hotels and business class flights.1984
Persuaded to move to Mumbai, and take on another Regional Account Director for the Unilever Detergent business, this time with Lowe Lintas. I was the only foreigner in the office, and immediately fell in love with Mumbai.2003
Became the head of HR for Lowe India, thanks to a prescient CEO who had "a feeling" that I'd be good with people. Realised that HR and developing people was my calling.2005
Headhunted to set up the HR team for Indian media giant UTV. Moved into a life of Bollywood premieres and TV channel launches. Met my husband Vivek, and his lovely, large family. Here's me with my mother in law and 4 (4!) sisters in law.2007
Married Vivek in a Christian wedding ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral in Kolkata, followed by a big fat Indian wedding party.2008
Turned 40, and became a mother. Something I never expected would happen as I'd never been the maternal type. Fell in love with baby Jake, and immediately wanted another. Started Coaching after being trained by some of the best coaches in India, and realized that I loved that too.2010
Left UTV to ostensibly “take a break”, write a book, and Coach more. Was seduced to join The 120 Media Collective as Chief Talent Officer by their exuberant CEO. Published the book, Becoming Mrs Kumar, a year later.2011
Had baby no 2, Noah. Now I really knew what it was to be a working Mum.2012
Spent a year living and working in the UK, and completed International Coaching Federation ACC qualification, to add to the skills I have developed already.2016