The Internet is full of posts on the importance of believing in the endless possibilities of the universe, and while we scroll through them regularly, not too many of us truly BELIEVE. An exception is Delhi girl Amisha Sethi, 36; she wanted to become a choreographer, but when things didn’t work out, instead of wallowing in despair, she actually did believe in herself, with the result being that today she is not only one of the country’s best known marketing consultants, but also a motivational speaker who has authored a best-selling novel. This is her story.
“I have been quite clueless about what I wanted to do, and I guess I still am,” she chuckles, but don’t be fooled by her goofiness, because beneath the apparent confusion lies a confident young leader who has written her own success story.
Born in Rajkot, Amisha grew up in a joint family in Delhi. “I have extremely fond memories of a beautiful, green, and warm (read people) Delhi. For me, the growing up days were all about friends, doing dance shows, reading thriller and romantic novels, watching movies, and of course, getting good grades,” she recalls.
She studied at Delhi University, did her MBA from Amity Business School, Noida, and then attended Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago, where she successfully completed the Executive Scholars programme.
The once-aspiring choreographer was drawn to marketing while she was doing her MBA, and eventually decided to pursue a career in the field. “What fascinated me most about marketing is that a marketer can create this sweet spot of association of a brand with its millions of customers, an association which is not just a transaction, but a bond of trust, love, and continuous engagement,” she says.
Amisha started her career with telecom giant Airtel, where she worked for four years before moving to BlackBerry. In the course of her illustrious career, she has held several powerful positions including being the Director of Brand Marketing Asia at BlackBerry; AirAsia’a Chief Commercial Officer in 2013; and CMO Global at Zafin, a Vancouver-based startup in 2014. As a result of her outstanding work, she has also been the recipient of various awards such as the Young Women Rising Star at the World Women Leadership Congress 2014; the Asia Pacific Young Women Achievers Award in 2013; the CMO Council and CNBC’s Youth Achievers Award 2012 for her work in marketing and brand strategy at BlackBerry; the Indira Marketing Excellence Award 2013; and most recently, the Women Leadership Award in Corporate Excellence 2015 by Amity Business School. She was also featured among the top 50 most talented brand leaders of India by CMO Asia and Bloomberg in 2012.
Although Amisha’s career in marketing was reaching new heights with every passing day, she had her eyes set on a completely new mission—turning her interest in ancient scriptures and sculptures into extensive research,
“The transcending wisdom from these scriptures is timeless. My own moment of self-realisation, the glorious ‘moment of truth’ made me comprehend my life’s purpose, which is to be a better human being with each passing day. The quest of taking this purpose to millions germinated the idea of writing my first book. I think this is the most meaningful work I have ever done in my life,” she explains.
Although she wanted to translate her learnings into a book and get the world to read it, Amisha had no prior writing experience, and the many high-profile marketing projects on her plate left her with little spare time anyway. However, like all the other challenges in her life, she took this one on head-on as well.
“I have always been an outrageously stubborn girl. Once I have my sights set on something, I make sure I get it. While I was a marketer during the day, the nights were meant for writing and I kept at it!” she says.
All her hard work paid off as her book, It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Nice, became a national bestseller after its publication in 2015. The story, a spiritual drama with hints of comedy, revolves around a dynamic 30-something girl called Kiara, through whom Amisha attempts to spread the message of love, happiness, and being beautiful inside and out.
While promoting her book at various forums, Amisha realised that people loved her talk sessions, and the requests for talks wouldn’t stop pouring in. This marked the beginning of her new role as a motivational speaker.
“The love and appreciation I have received while doing these workshops is indescribable. The joy of making a positive impact on someone’s life is incomparable to a good quarter end, promotion, or any salary package!” she exclaims. While motivational speaking came to her by chance, Amisha makes sure she is well prepared for each of her sessions. She continually works on improving her content for workshops, which combine ancient timeless techniques, meditation, fun games, neuroscience, and psychological tests. She frequently conducts happiness sessions at cancer institutes, hospitals, and support centres. Her most recent workshop was at the School of Ancient Wisdom in Bengaluru.
While scriptures have been a great source of knowledge and wisdom for Amisha, her own experiences in life have also had a great impact on her. Working at various MNCs meant having to deal with fierce competition and “dirty politics”, as she puts it, but her positive approach bailed her out.
“The best way to overcome them is to stay calm, have your team love you, and focus on results. In the long run, nothing matters but your own well-being,” she says.
Amisha’s story is a great example of how not letting initial setbacks get the better of you can take you places in life. Although things didn’t work out for her when she set out to become a choreographer, she didn’t let her choc-a-bloc schedule affect her passion for dance. She is professionally trained in various dance forms such as contemporary, salsa, jazz, and freestyle, and never misses an opportunity to shake a leg!
Marketing, writing, speaking, dancing; so what’s next on Amisha’s to-do-list?
“Nothing as of now; I only live by the day,” she says with a smile. But going by her infectious energy and never-say-die attitude we wouldn’t be surprised to see her succeeding in a new field altogether soon!