Built on the three pillars of fitness, wellness, and stress management, Dipika Trehan’s platform encourages women to put themselves on their own priority list.
“I’m ready to fall in love again, this time with myself.” This has been the unanimous response Dipika Trehan, the Founder of the H.O.W. (Health Of Women) Forum, has received from women who attend her workshops.
“Leading women towards self-development, making them aware of their of self-worth and banishing self-doubt from their minds has been a rewarding experience. It gives a new high altogether!” Dipika says
Dipika, 38, strongly believes that the wellness of a woman directly impacts not only her household and immediate ecosystem, but also society at large.
“It is about time women realise what an important a role they play, how their ecosystems would flourish if they nurture themselves, and how it may all collapse if their health scatters,” she says.
The USP of Bengaluru-based H.O.W. Forum is “human touch in a mechanised world!” The core foundation of the forum is built on three pillars: fitness, wellness, and stress management.
“Each HOWer feels bonded and connected to the forum at an emotional level and embarks on a self-development journey,” Dipika says
Working through challenges
Before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey, Dipika worked as an HR and Training and Development professional at GE Capitals and American Express. She is also a member of the Advisory Executive Council of WEF(Women Economic Forum).
She was the recipient of the Iconic Women making the World a Better Place for All award in the Innovating for health and wellness vertical at WEF 2017.
Dipika's path to success has not been without challenges. As a working mother of two, with a much travelling husband, and no support system, she often relied on friends to lend her a helping hand.
“When the going gets tough I just look back at the path I’ve traveled, where I’ve reached, and the gorgeous destination ahead. It takes away the impact of setbacks, picks me up and gets me going right back to that path that I chose for myself!” she says.
As a woman entrepreneur, she feels that women embrace entrepreneurship inherently as multitasking is imprinted in a woman's DNA.
The genesis of H.O.W.
After delivering her second child, Dipika weighed 94 kg. While the joy of motherhood knew no bounds, the nagging thought of getting back into shape was always on her mind. Despite suffering from hypothyroidism and PCOD, she began her weight loss journey which became the inspiration for founding the H.O.W. Forum.
With sheer determination and hard work, Dipika knocked off 30 kg in 36 months.
During this period she came to realise that there is much more to fitness and wellness than just losing weight.
“What’s really important is the way one feels about oneself. Self-acceptance and loving oneself leads to a feeling of self-worth and a disciplined lifestyle,” she says.
The H.O.W. Forum was born out of this very idea.
Dipika wanted to create a platform for women that enabled holistic wellness of women and encouraged them to put themselves on their own priority list.
Her advice: “The best project you will ever work on is YOU!”
Women generally are disinterested when it comes to their health and fitness post-marriage, childbirth or lifestyle disorders like thyroid, PCOD. They also nurture a number of misconceptions about weight loss.
Through the H.O.W. Forum, Dipika wishes to clear these myths and help women realize that it is not selfish to choose their wellness over others and indulge in some self-love.
She wants the H.O.W. Forum to become an enabler for women to pursue holistic wellness.
“Women must embark on a journey of self-discovery that will bring forth the strength, substance, intellect, and caliber of women.There’s so much more to us women than what meets the eye!” Dipika says.
The H.O.W. workshops
Dipika develops and conducts a wide variety of fitness workshops that cater to the needs of women; they include mixed groups belonging to different age groups.
“Each workshop is custom made to uniquely suit individual corporate requirement,” she says.
Amazon, Unilever, Capgemini, MindTree, Syngene, and Mphasis are some of the many reputed organisations that have enlisted the services of the H.O.W. Forum. The yoga at work, wellness seminars, self-awareness and stress management, corporate grooming and etiquette trainings, corporate power dressing, motivational talks, and self-development sessions are popular.
"It is not only essential but critical for organisations to not spend, rather ‘invest’ in employee fitness and wellness programmes,” Dipika says. She points to the benefits: fewer sick leaves and better stress management, along with happy, energised and motivated employees.
Be the best version - you
At a time where people measure their popularity with the number of likes they receive when external verification of self by peers/social environment based on mere looks is causing problems of poor body image, Dipika wants people to realise that beauty cannot be defined by parameters set by society.
“Beautiful is when you take care of yourself with earnest efforts towards being the best version of yourself,” she says.
The H.O.W. Forum wants women to not only achieve physical fitness but also emotional wellbeing.
As a working mother, she encourages women to take time out for a workout (walk/run/dance/yoga/Pilates etc.), make informed food choices, stay hydrated, and give themselves a pep talk whenever needed.
The future beckons
The H.O.W. Forum has come a long way ahead since its inception. It is a proud alumnus of The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in Business and also an affiliate organisation member of ALL (All Ladies League, organiser of The Women Economic Forum).
Although the H.O.W. Forum uses digital platforms for connecting and communicating, it has had a purely organic growth and has spread mainly through word of mouth.
“The H.O.W. is now at the threshold of expansion; there is a huge demand for us to reach to a wider audience. Hence we willroll out a credible digital reach project soon,” she says.
On a parting note, Dipika says, “My journey gives me a taste of the much-loved bitter-sweet truths of entrepreneurship every day… there are triumphs, there are pitfalls, but one should never give up.”