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Meet four AccompliSHEd women who symbolise the spirit of resilience in the Indian woman

In Tamil Nadu, a woman in a small town wonders how to keep her family going after her husband’s business collapses and their debt burden skyrockets.
Another woman, in Mumbai, is frustrated for lack of a college education and therefore a job or other avenue where she can apply her intelligence.
Also, in Mumbai, fate leaves a young woman widowed, with no way to make ends meet and raise her two school-going children.
Across the country in Assam, a young woman is diagnosed with skin cancer. For her, it seems like her world is ending.
For each of these women, it would have been easy to give in, to turn to others for lifelong assistance, to despair about their situation. And yet, instead of being paralysed by their circumstances, each of these women took one step – the first and most important – to make sure that they were financially independent. The financial security that they gained from that first step then helped them accomplish everything they wanted for their families and for themselves.
Earning gives her control over her financial assets, a clear vote in decision-making within the household, and greater self-confidence in herself and her capabilities. Read on to see how these four women emerged from the depths of their despair to become strong, confident individuals running their households and nurturing their families with their heads held high.
  1. Overcoming crippling debt burden

There are two basic human responses to danger: fight or flight. In the case of financial danger, that turns into do-or-despair. For Sarala G of Tamil Nadu, despair would have been easy to give into. Sarala grew up in Kandigai – a small village 150 km from Chennai. She went to a Tamil-medium school, got a Bachelor of Arts in History and was married by the age of 21. Her husband was a businessman and she, a home-maker. Soon after, her husband’s business collapsed, plunging the family into a crippling Rs 40 lakh debt, which translated into an interest payment of Rs 50,000 per month.
At first, there seemed no way out of the mess they were in. But Sarala decided there had to be a way out. Having come across an ad for the position of a Life Advisor with Kotak Life Insurance, she applied and was appointed. That was just the first step and it wasn’t easy. But Sarala persisted. With her hard work and excellent work ethic, she steadily rose through the ranks to become one of the company’s most successful advisors in Chennai.
For Sarala, what she does is not just employment. She believes that the liberation of being financially independent and having helped her family out of debt was its own reward.
  1. Not letting your lack of education get in the way of your success

The lack of a formal higher education can be considered a disadvantage by many, but it doesn’t have to come in the way in fulfilling your dreams. Ask Bina Doshi. Born in Mumbai as the youngest of five sisters, Bina was married at the age of 18 – right after she finished her schooling. With her husband being an engineer, her educational qualifications put her in harsh perspective. She felt a sense of anonymity and frustration with being only a home-maker and one without a college education. One day, she came across a job advertisement for Kotak Life. She decided to enrol for the training, passed the eligibility test, and soon became one of the most successful Life Advisors in her region.
Today, Bina is a highly successful professional in her own right. She no longer feels held back for being just a high school graduate. What’s more, she is now recognised as a financial expert with a vast client base to show for it. She believes that at the end of the day, it’s your ambition, your attitude and your willingness to slog it out that counts. College degrees are optional.
  1. Turning a tragic turn of events into a springboard to success

Losing a spouse in a blink of an eye is not just tragic, it also turns your life upside down. The way forward seems bleak. And money is the last thing you want to have to worry about. But you can’t. Sandhya Babel, a mother of two, had no choice but to become the family’s sole breadwinner after her husband’s sudden demise.
Raised in a traditional Marwari family, Sandhya finished her schooling in her hometown and went on to get a degree in Home Science in Ajmer. After college, she married and moved to Mumbai in 1998. In 2008, tragedy struck and Sandhya’s husband passed away, leaving her with two children, aged eight and five, to raise alone.
If the lack of work experience was a challenge, this was compounded by the fact that with two children to raise, most regular jobs would have been a challenge to retain. But Sandhya decided that her destiny would only be hers to control because she was ready to do everything in her power to become financially independent and secure her children’s future. Sandhya cleared the qualification exam for a Life Advisor at Kotak in late 2009 and was commended for her performance by her branch manager within her first week on the job. Encouraged by this, she decided to go for the ultimate recognition in Life Insurance: the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) conference, a feat she achieved in barely three months, which was laudable given that many others fail to accomplish this even after working all year.
  1. Bouncing back when life as you know it changes forever

The presence of a medical condition – can be tough on both your resilience and finances. Yet, sometimes, a serious health condition even impending mortality can be an uncommon motivator to get out of one’s comfort zone and help not just yourself, but others as well, as in the case of Sujata Misra who embarked on a career after being diagnosed with cancer.
Born in Nabarkatia in Assam, everything changed in 2012 when she noticed that her health was declining – Sujata was diagnosed with skin cancer. The news changed everything. She was in utter despair and felt completely helpless.
A year later, with treatments still on, Sujata decided to take control of her life and her future. She would not wait around for the inevitable to happen. Instead, she joined Kotak Life Insurance as a Life Advisor in 2014. The role gave her the opportunity to meet a lot of people and listen to their stories. This kept her busy and she focussed all her energy in helping others achieve their financial goals.
Sujata believes that nothing is more important than securing one’s future for oneself and one’s family. She truly believes in the benefits of what she sells. That conviction, in part, has helped her perform so well, take control of her life and her future.