2 min read
10 Feb

2020 impacted businesses all over the world in a significant way. Some impacts boosted revenues while others caused the businesses to shut their doors, temporarily or permanently. Of course, the adverse kind of impact is more prevalent. The entrepreneurs of this world are evolving, adapting, strategizing, and re-strategizing but they all are giving it all to keep the lights on. One such businesswoman is Misha Mahendru and I talked to her this week to learn about her story, challenges, successes, and the impact of COVID on her work.

Misha is the director and CEO of Sacred Heart International College(SHIC) in Melbourne. The college offers over 20 courses in various fields and currently has students enrolled from more than 30 countries. Academic institutes were declared essential services by the government of Australia at the beginning of the pandemic and therefore Misha and her team have been going to the office while the COVID crisis intensified. 

Misha started her life's journey in a small town in India and is now running a successful business in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. She landed in Australia in 2012 as a student to pursue further studies and joined an academic institute part-time as a marketing professional. She worked in every department of the college, with the support of her managers and mentors, to become an operations expert while progressing professionally. One attribute that contributed strongly to her success is her passion for the education field. It's clearly evident that she LOVES her job and it is no wonder that within 5 years of joining a college as a marketing professional she launched her own institute, SHIC, in 2017.

Misha is a working mom and she has almost aced the art of balancing her personal and professional life. She understands that because of her professional commitments she cannot give all her time to her son, Noah, but she ensures she gives him quality time and all the love she can. She shared with me how both work and family are equally important to her. From an early age, she did part-time projects to become financially independent, as much as she could be. She also highlighted how success will not feel as awesome if not shared with family and loved ones. 

SHIC had to significantly change its operational strategy when the pandemic started. The college did not have any online classes and had to move classes online in a rush to ensure the quality and continuity of education for the students. This also helped the international students who could not be in the country due to COVID travel restrictions. It is an achievement that Misha's institute had a profitable year in 2020 despite the operational realignment and challenges. She is really proud of being a liberal leader who believes in zero micromanagement and having a personal connection with her team.

She hesitates a little to answer when I ask her what she is most proud of professionally. I like her honest modesty but I remind her that she is undoubtedly an achiever. She was the Indian Executive Club Award Finalist in the Young Executive Female category and is one of the youngest NRI CEOs in Melbourne. I asked her what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially to women, and she highlights being a self-motivator, having clear goals, and balancing work and family are the keys to fulfilling success. 

Starting an academic institute in Melbourne's crowded education field was a bold move and now Misha wants to start a cafe/restaurant too(Melbourne food scene is known for being extremely competitive). Her clarity of thought and ambition is remarkable and the feminist in me thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a woman who is going after everything she wants. She is a doting mother and a working woman with hard work backing her current success and clear goals solidifying her future achievements.

This young woman is convivial, ambitious, and a self-motivator. Getting to know Misha's story was a pleasure and I hope it motivates others to follow their dreams. Here is our fun chat where we talk about it all.

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