Vineeta Singh, 39, is extremely versatile, switching effortlessly between suits and gyms, swapping out her work heels for a pair of running shoes at will. Just days after the second season of Shark Tank India kicked off and memes depicting it began flooding social media, Singh ran the full marathon at the Tata Mumbai Marathon in 4 hours 26 minutes.
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Anyone who runs, or knows someone who does, knows the amount of discipline, training, and rigor involved. She did all this while filming the second season of Shark Tank India, raising her two kids, appearing for various promotions, doing interviews, and most importantly, running SUGAR Cosmetics, the brand she co-founded with her husband, Kaushik Mukherjee.
To give you an idea of how busy 2023 will be on the business side, SUGAR Cosmetics has a massive launch calendar with several multi-tasking products with sunblock, moisturizer etc. on the cards while the goal is to double its net revenue to R500 crores.
Singh, who grew up in South Delhi near AIIMS and studied at DPS, RK Puram, is a graduate of IIT Madras and IIM Ahmedabad. She fell in love with running after someone at IIM asked her to run the full marathon in Mumbai in 2007 and hasn’t stopped since then, even running a half marathon while pregnant. She’s even conquered her fear of swimming in open water and completed a grueling Ironman triathlon.
Singh, who lives in Mumbai and runs SUGAR cosmetics out of a WeWork facility, talks to Lounge about learning the art of thinking big and ambitious from BoAt CEO Vivek Gambhir, keeping her meetings clear and short, the Nike influence co-founder Phil Knight’s bestseller and why she prefers Personal meetings.
Who do you consider your mentor?
Vivek Gambhir, CEO, BoAt. He has always been guiding me to dream bigger and push my limits. Also, Dr. Sunil Lamba, an entrepreneur turned professor at IIM Ahmedabad, mentored me even before I started my entrepreneurial journey and pushed me to believe in myself.
One of the main ideas you worked on under the guidance of your teacher?
Vivek [Gambhir] He has always guided me to think bigger and be more ambitious in everything I do. This has helped me set higher standards and goals than before. I’ve also learned to delegate better and create processes and systems that allow the organization to operate without any checkmate or my involvement in decision-making at every level.
What does being a mentor mean to you?
Mentoring budding entrepreneurs and colleagues, especially women in the business and those who have attended my university and who reach out to me for any advice, is something I know I do with great passion and enthusiasm. It’s great to get involved and mentor someone who’s been on the path you’ve been on for years and facing similar challenges. I couldn’t have been where I am without the guidance and inspiration I got from my mentors. I feel that for whom a lot is given, a lot is also expected, and it all starts with communicating with employees and my team members, not only guiding them but also taking the time to listen to their grievances. Seeing other women succeed is something I really enjoy, and ensuring that I mentor hundreds of young professionals, especially women, gives me a chance to return the favor.
Describe your morning schedule.
I belong to the 6 a.m. club. I like to start my day with a strong coffee and a quick snack, followed by my daily run, bike ride or strength training. This “me” time is a very important part of my daily routine and helps me feel fresh and energized for the rest of the day. After the workout it’s time to help my kids get ready for their day and as soon as they go to school I take a quick shower and get ready for work.
What’s the one positive work routine you’ve developed during the pandemic?
Keep meetings clear and short. Attending hundreds of Zoom meetings during a pandemic has made me realize that they tend to get to the point and get done very quickly, and I’ve tried to bring that into my daily in-person meetings as well. I feel that long meetings can be unnecessary for team members, especially those with a large group of people. I make sure we stick to block schedules for each meeting.
What book would you recommend about mentoring and growth in the workplace?
dog shoes Written by Phil Knight, Memoirs of the Nike Co-Founder. It was one of the first books I read when I was learning about entrepreneurship. To this day, the book’s message remains true – that if you do something you love, you can overcome the challenges and obstacles thrown your way. Two of my favorite podcasts are The Tim Ferriss Show and The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish.
How do you relax… any serious hobbies?
Once home, I love to relax by spending quality time with my sons who are four and seven. While I live with them, I live in the moment and give them my full attention.
I really enjoy a good run, swimming sessions, bike rides or strength training; Exercising helps me manage my energy levels and feel refreshed. Being an Ironman and fellow ultramarathon athlete is my great passion. They are two of the toughest endurance events in the world and give me the opportunity to push my limits and learn a lot about myself. It also gives me an opportunity to excel somewhere outside of work.
What are some productivity principles you follow that have improved your professional and personal life?
As a marathon runner and entrepreneur, I’ve learned that no matter what challenge you face, being agile is important. My personal belief is that growth is not about how quickly one achieves success but how successful one is. My fitness journey has always inspired me professionally too, not being swayed by adversity, and staying consistent in my style are mantras I apply to both.
Is looking the part as important as playing the business leader?
In my 15+ year journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve come to realize that looking the part is vital to first impressions, no matter the label. I believe that in a fast-paced environment, first impressions matter. Having said that, it always boils down to the experience and knowledge one brings to their work that makes the biggest difference. While looking for the part can help you get your foot through the door and give you the benefit of the doubt, you really need to prove yourself through content delivery and stand out in order to be successful in the long run.
Zoom calls or personal meetings?
While I enjoy the flexibility and time management aspect of Zoom meetings, I personally prefer in-person meetings. Now that we are back at work, I am looking forward to in-person meetings with brainstorming sessions, these meetings not only give us an opportunity to talk business but also to build relationships, which is not possible during virtual calls. Zoom meetings tend to be very transactional, which can make them very cold and impersonal.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer, editor, and co-author of The Shivfit Way, a functional fitness book.
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