[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet Kavea R Chavali, who has donned many hats — an engineer, Emcee, and entrepreneur
Kavea R Chavali had a fascination for stage and performance when she was in school and always dreamt of speaking to a large audience.
Like several others, she pursued electrical and electronics engineering from NIT Warangal and worked at a few Bengaluru-based IT companies.
“While the work I was doing was good, I knew I simply had to do so much more,” says Kavea in a conversation with HerStory.
Today, she has realised her dream. Dabbling across industries, Kavea has now hosted 1,400 shows across 15 countries for close to 800 brands.
In fact, she started a handloom platform along with her mother to take the textile of her home state Andhra Pradesh to the world.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we put our heads down and build a strong online presence and channel,” she says.
An anchor by chance
Kavea shifted towards the stage around 2008-09 when she chanced upon an opportunity to anchor for TV9 — a Bengaluru-based news TV platform, quitting her IT job, she took the anchoring opportunity.
While she was walking past the office, she saw an ad for the opening. One of her friends suggested she try for the role, and she got her anchoring gig.
“But it still didn’t satisfy exactly what I had wanted or was looking for,” adds Kavae.
Since she was doing voice recordings, she decided to try her hand at EMCEEing and got her first professional LIVE event — Embedded Systems Conference for UBM India — in Bengaluru.
“I knew I had to do more of EMCEEing and be on the stage like I always wanted,” says Kavea.
Soon after, she quit her anchoring job and came to Mumbai.
“There are no retakes in my profession, and that's why it's the most dynamic industry. Every day is a new stage, a new industry, new learnings, and new audiences. During a show, featuring the Late APJ Abdul Kalam sir, after I introduced him and invited him to come to the podium, he said, "Thank you, Kavea.” I realised what you do is actually not easy, but with your powerful voice, you have done such a great job." That moment has stayed with me like my shining testimonial and guiding light,” Kavea shares.
The world of EMCEE
When Kavea first landed in Mumbai, she worked multiple gigs to find her sweet spot. “It’s all about working multiple gigs and putting yourself out there,” says Kavea.
She has toured the length and breadth of the country, hosting live events. Some of the industries that have employed her include automobiles, pharmaceuticals, BFSI, healthcare, FMCG, technology, IT/ITes, publishing, travel and hospitality, retail, manufacturing, F&B, media and entertainment, and fashion.
She has worked with some of the top-line brands and companies, including ITC, Fortune India, Audi, Hyundai, Microsoft, Google, Infosys, Apple, Fujitsu, Sony, IBM, ICICI, HDFC, HSBC, SBI, American Express, Times of India, Economic Times, Femina, Apollo, GSK, UpGrad, Government of India, and Government of Andhra, to name a few.
“It was putting one foot forward and getting what I can. And I can say, I’ve been truly blessed to share the stage with the likes of Mike Tyson, Amitabh Bachchan, Mary Kom, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Irfaan Khan to Hon’ble APJ Abdul Kalam, Shri Chandrababu Naidu, and business barons like Bill Gates, Indra Nooyi, Narayan Murthy, and Subhash Chandra. I have had the pleasure of opening for these stalwarts on stage or at virtual events,” she adds.
At the Golden Mikes Awards 2018 — an award for radio industry professionals — she sang an Ed Sheeran song called Shape of You, rewriting the lyrics to align with her event, or the CROMA awards, where she did a Broadway-style presentation with 13 days of rehearsals.
Kavea says, “Both the shows turned out to be a huge success and created a new benchmark in terms of creating value for Live events. A mix of theatre and acting training allows me to incorporate a zing into my shows, while my strong educational background makes me a knowledge seeker, and I come prepared with industry data and statistics.”
Dealing with the highs and lows
While she has many accolades, Kavea has also seen her fair share of ups and downs.
“I did not get every gig; it wasn’t a cakewalk. People have given me time and promised gigs only to give them to some else. I’ve been shifted at the last minute, propositioned, and many other things,” she shares.
Kavea adds, “It’s about not letting the lows pull you down and watching your highs. The lows teach you so much more than the highs; cherish them.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kavea knew she had to diversify.
Besides managing her handlooms platform, she ventured into mentoring and helping other anchors and speakers develop through her experiential masterclasses, and eventually, an academy.
Advising all women entrepreneurs, Kavea says, “Don’t overthink, just start. Once you do that, only then will you know if it works or not. Don’t let anything or anyone derail you.”