Upasana Kamineni Konidela of URLife on what it means living under the spotlight
A successful entrepreneur in her own right, founder of an all-in-one wellness portal, a superstar’s wife, and living up to the legacy of an extremely illustrious family, Upasana Kamineni Konidela’s many roles keep her under constant spotlight. The burden of so many titles hasn’t been an easy weight to carry, but Upasana has managed to carve out a space that she can truly call her own.
At the first edition of the ‘No Ceiling Summit 2022’, Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Founder,and Vice Chairperson, CSR, Apollo Hospitals presented a keynote address on what it is like to be in the spotlight and the toll it takes on you.
Powered by Kalaari Capital’s CXXO programme and YourStory, the ‘No Ceiling Summit 2022’ aimed towards creating an empowered community of women entrepreneurs, nurturing emerging talent and celebrating the efforts and achievements of women changemakers of today.
Often labelled a privileged woman as the wife of a mega star and an entrepreneur taking over her family-owned business, Upasana feels the title that suits her best is that of ‘a passionate lover’. A passion for health and wellbeing that she developed out of love for herself. While it may not sound like the most obvious adjective for someone in the healthcare industry, Upasana explains that according to her, love is the superdrug for good health. “Love is the reason why people understand the value of being and staying healthy. If you don’t value the relationships in your life, you won't value your own and your loved one’s health,” she says.
URLife - a passion project
Shedding light on her entrepreneurial journey, Upasana shared how helping people heal with dignity and empathy has been at the helm of things for her. She also explained how the Apollo group changed its vision to preventive care and is ironically focussing on helping people keep away from the hospital. As the disease burden on the country is increasing day by day, the healthcare giant is now focussing on preventive measures for its patients.
Following her passion for a healthy lifestyle, Upasana founded UrLife, an all-in-one wellness platform. Being India’s first holistic wellness platform, URLife inspires people to live life to the fullest by harnessing the power of technology to promote healthy lifestyle choices. “It is my passion project, away from the Apollo ecosystem and is a personal journey that I went through, of loving and respecting yourself,” she says, adding, “everyone has wellness needs, you need to realise what stage of life you’re in and what you are ready to consume.”
URLife not only helps in improving physical fitness, but curates a wholesome wellness programme with adequate focus on mental health and self care as well.
Surviving the spotlight
From failures to successes, career to her personal appearance, every element has been under strict scrutiny. Over the years, Upasana has formed her own life mantras that help her sail through these choppy waters, and she takes pride in calling these her achievements. From being an emotional eater till recent times, she has now developed a healthy relationship with food, and this change in her age-old eating habits ranks numero uno on her list of achievements.
Facing constant trolling on social media has been one of her toughest challenges. While it came as a big blow to her initially, a lot of effort on her mental health has helped her deal with trolls and not being bothered mentally. “I’m strong enough to deal with [trolls] right now, and the silver lining is people’s attention span is really short, today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s toilet paper. This keeps me going,” she says.
Being the chairman’s granddaughter came with its fair share of preconceived judgement at the workplace. Upasana’s mantra of being egoless at her place of work, her readiness to learn from juniors, and the ability to display vulnerability when required helped her gain respect and admiration from her staff as well as peers in the industry.
Leadership style and learnings
One of the most successful women entrepreneurs of India, Upasana is not someone who would rest on the fact that she was born with the proverbial silver spoon. As a leader, she believes in keeping her team constantly motivated by setting small goals that are achievable. “No matter how small your goal is, achieving it makes you feel like a champion. That’s why I believe in setting small goals and achieving them,” she explains.
Another key leadership skill that Upasana acquired is the need to review relationships. Being in a family business, constantly reviewing and reworking on relationships attributes to tremendous personal growth, she feels.
Talking about having a good mix of loyalty and productivity in the workforce, Upasana says, “You need ways to measure them tangibly and intangibly otherwise you’ll make emotional decisions at the workplace. Cutting the family atmosphere and having tangible measurements for loyalty vs productivity can help us grow.”
Coming from a family of strong women, Upasana is a staunch supporter of gender equality and firmly believes that “progress, passion, performance and peace” should be the top focus of any forward thinking leader in today’s times.
A philanthropist at heart, Upasana feels strongly about addressing the ageing population with respect to health and wellness and upskilling and reskilling them. “Re-skilling makes senior citizens relevant and that gives them more dignity. Apollo Foundation takes care of 300 senior care homes and we try to help find these people some relevance that helps them command more dignity,” she says, signing off.