‘I can’t afford to freak out and just go…’: Upasana Kamineni Konidela on pressure of being a third generation entrepreneur and a superstar’s wife

By Naina Sood
March 25, 2022, Updated on : Mon Mar 28 2022 12:54:54 GMT+0000
‘I can’t afford to freak out and just go…’: Upasana Kamineni Konidela on pressure of being a third generation entrepreneur and a superstar’s wife
At HerStory’s Women on a Mission Summit, Vice-Chairperson (CSR) at Apollo Foundation and Apollo Life, Upasana Kamineni Konidela, talks about her endeavour to pursue wellness, the upsides and downsides of belonging to an influential family and creating a meaningful impact.
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Not everything in life comes easy. Being born into one of the country’s richest and most influential families may help things, but it’s still never enough to be successful. There’s always the pressure of living upto the family’s expectations and legacy and more importantly, carving your own niche.


“It’s commonly said that first generation sows, second grows and third blows. I am the third generation. So the pressure to not blow everything away is very high,” says 35-year-old Upasana Kamineni Konidela, who carries the Apollo Hospitals empire torch forward zealously.


As the Vice-Chairperson (CSR) at Apollo Foundation and Apollo Life, Upasana, is the force behind making sure healthcare reaches as many people as possible. During the pandemic, she founded wellness startup URLife that aims to make caring for one’s health a simple, creative, and enjoyable experience.


The social impact entrepreneur says that she counts her blessings and is grateful to have been born in an influential family. She realises that it comes with its own set of responsibilities. 

“On one side (in-laws) I have a huge successful film family and the other side is India’s top business family. People expect heaven on earth from us ! It’s a lot of pressure. I can’t afford to freak out and leave everything and just go,” says Upasana. 

The third generation entrepreneur takes the pressure in her stride and pushes herself to work harder every day. It is a tall legacy that Upasana lives up to. 


Her grandfather Dr Prathap C Reddy, the founder of the Apollo Hospitals empire, revolutionised healthcare in India, while her maternal aunts, Preetha Reddy, Sangita Reddy, and Sunita Reddy as well as her mother Shobana Kamineni, have taken the legacy forward.

“I am born in this family for a reason and if I don’t make full use of my background in a good way then what is the use of it? It pushes me to work harder,” she adds. 

Working for over 21 years now, Upasana had early on decided to pursue the path of social entrepreneurship. Since childhood, she has been surrounded by hospitals, medical experts and got to closely examine the agony of patients suffering from various diseases, especially lifestyle. 


“Making money doesn’t give me a high. If I can make an impact, support a lot of people in the journey, give jobs and make people happy about what they are doing, that would be fulfilling,” she adds. 

Starting URLife

Started during pandemic, URLife shares engaging content, backed by experts, including certified medical professionals, fitness experts and nutritionists, who provide people with first-hand access to trending health tips, nutrition, expert videos, diet plans, lifestyle hacks, consultations, healthy recipes, fun DIY’s and personalised services that equip users to live a fit and wholesome life. 


The platform has established over 600 occupational centres through corporates across India and has built a network of two million people through the B2B association.


“I spoke to a lot of people and realised that if a person follows a disciplined life, good health won’t be far away. I have seen people crying about big bills at the hospitals for lifestyle diseases. So if we make correct choices, get access to correct information, and are continuously prompted to lead a healthier life and bring down the emotional torment, it could keep us away from those hospitals,” says Upasana. 


Strongly batting for mental health and wellbeing, the creator, as she likes to call herself, is extremely mindful of her social media posts and content, keeping them bright, motivating and consciously positive, whether it is sharing personal joys or expert advice. 


While influencers play an important role in keeping the public motivated, it is extremely important to have certified wellness professionals onboard to personalise the journey and give people the science and study behind what influencers preach.

“Wellbeing is not a cookie cutter model. Our vision was very clear—the fit will get fitter, the injured will heal and the lazy will start moving. You don’t go to the doctor to get the same prescription as someone else, it has to be personalised. We wanted to give the same value to well being professionals,” says Upasana.  

Besides wellness, causes related to children, tribals and old age homes are close to Upasana’s heart. 


In partnership with Saving a Child Initiative (SACHi), the Foundation is providing free digital consultation with Apollo doctors for the underprivileged young (16 years or under) pan India, with over 200 paediatric specialists on board as human capital.


“Congestive heart failure and disease is a huge problem in India and Sanchi has done over 5,000 surgeries free of cost to date. We also work towards empowering tribals in the forest areas to live a dignified life and protect the environment. Zoonotic disease is going to become a huge problem in future,” she informs. 

Experiencing biases, life lessons 

Surrounded by strong women leaders in the family, Upasana is extremely secure about her stance as a women business leader herself, negating all the biases around. However, she had her share of struggle in fighting for a space in the wellness industry. She has found a middle ground between an influencer and an expert—a curator.  


“I have been bought in an atmosphere where most of the things have been women-centric. Over 57 percent of our company's population is women,” she says.  


Taking a vacation after 2.5 years with her husband, Upasana has now decided to take things slow and focus on smaller joys of life. 

“I have decided to take Saturdays off from now on. Ram (Charan Teja, her husband) has been a great supporter of my work. I learn a lot from him, especially discipline. My strive to become disciplined about health, work and life comes from my husband and grandfather. He has just entered his 90th year and still follows the same routine. Does his puja, go to office, spend time with family….this just motivates us!” says Upasana, who is determined to revolutionise wellness in the truest sense. 

A shout out to the sponsors of Women on Mission Summit 2022, an Initiative by HerStory, by YourStory - BYJU'S, the presenting partner, and other sponsors - Kyndryl, Sequoia Spark, ZilingoAtlassianAkamai TechnologiesFreshworks for Startups, and Netapp Excellerator.


Edited by Ramarko Sengupta

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