Cover Story

Manasi Kirloskar: The Boss Girl

Manasi Kirloskar

A persona of many facets — painter, deep sea diver, mountaineer, traveller and writer — she has already become a youth icon. Her entrepreneurial skills, of course, are also much acknowledged and reflected in the number of awards she has been honoured with over the past few years. That’s Manasi Kirloskar in a few words.

Only child and hence sole heiress of industrialist Vikram and Geetanjali Kirloskar and the great-granddaughter of the legendary S.L. Kirloskar, as also a family name which enjoys a rich and timeless legacy of over 130 years and considered amongst the most respected names in business today, this brilliant youngster has never let her silver-spoon upbringing overshadow her down-to-earth mannerism.

And perhaps, that’s the key to her entrepreneurial success. She is presently Executive Director & CEO Kirloskar Systems Ltd, as also Director on boards of Kirloskar Technologies and Toyota Tsusho Insurance Broker India Pvt. Ltd. She also works with her large inherited business group. In addition, she has set up her own ventures as an entrepreneur and is even involved in community service through her registered not-for-profit Trust “Caring with Colors” where she is Managing Trustee and CEO.

In conversation with THE TEENAGER TODAY, this ‘girl boss’ speaks about her passion within and outside her business realm and offers teenagers the perfect dose of inspiration.

Your family name enjoys a rich and timeless legacy of over 130 years and is considered amongst the most respected names in the business world. However, being the sole inheritor, do you feel the pressure of responsibility?
I have been raised in a business family, with working parents. Each worked in completely different industries — my father in heavy manufacturing and engineering and my mother was an advertising and TV professional (President of her Advertising Agency). I would sit in on meetings as an 8-year-old at their respective offices. Therefore, I always had the exposure, and working in the family business was a natural aspiration for me. Although I wasn’t alien to the corporate environment, upon my return from college, the pressure started to sink in after a few months. People expected a lot from me, in terms of competency and stereotype behaviour. I felt the need to live up to the expectations, and trying to change mindsets in a 130-year-old legacy is not very easy.

Manasi Kirloskar

“Dream BIG and don’t give up. There will be so many obstacles and challenges thrown at you but once you achieve and look back at all your struggles, you will have no regrets.”

What inspires you to get to work every day?
I don’t know anything else. I love what I do and have found the right balance between managing my responsibilities and pursuing my own interests. I love interacting with people at the office and meeting new ones. I have something new to learn every single day and that is my greatest motivation.

You are a deep-sea diver, a painter and an entrepreneur. Tell us more about your varied passions.
I have always had many interests. The world has so much to offer and I want to experience everything. My love for the water led me to acquire a scuba diving 30m and Nitrox license. The colour of fish and coral underwater are just so spectacular. Words cannot describe my feelings when I am diving. My love for colour also extends onto the canvas. I love to paint using a lot of colour. I also seek adventure. Not only do I get a rush of adrenalin from diving but also from climbing mountains. I enjoy hiking and being amidst raw nature. It puts me in touch with all my senses which is a beautiful feeling.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I love Indian classical dance and music forms. I have learnt Kathak and the tabla as a child. Also, I always wanted to be an actor.

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