Shreyasi Singh | The face behind “The Wealth Wallahs”

Shreyasi Singh is one of the most promising and finest media professionals cum entrepreneurs who talk about her endeavors and challenges from the time when she started her career as a journalist and editor to the time when she came up with her first and the very renowned book “The Wealth Wallahs.” The Lady Sri Ram college graduate is a woman of substance who gained several laurels in the field of media and continues to work for women empowerment. She is now paving better ways for the youth to survive in the competitive and challenging business world through the use of technology. In a recent conversation with the Articles Today, she shares about her journey of success:

What has been special to you about your writing and journalism?

A large part of my professional career has been spent in the media. Covering entrepreneurship, in particular, has been transformational for me. They say stories are data with a soul. I have experienced that lived wisdom. Having the opportunity to interview and engage with India’s leading entrepreneurs has given me the courage to commit myself to taking risks, aiming high and thinking afresh. It has taught me valuable life lessions about what aspirations, bravery and can-do help us achieve. The urge to be more entrepreneurial would never have been possible without this dose of inspiration. I strongly hope that the stories I have written about in Inc., or those that I continue to focus on in my columns for Mint, have had similar impact on others. A young country such as India needs these positive stories of change and progress to foster self-belief and entrepreneurship.

Please tell our readers about your book, The Wealth Wallahs. How did you conceive the idea about the book?

A few things in the last couple of years led me to write this book. First were the many conversations I noticed happening around me. When you live in Delhi, there is great upper-middle-class angst on the conspicuous consumption of the new wealthy and the crass, ostentatious display of wealth in large pockets of South Delhi. Much of this is true, of course. What I found interesting – and often hypocritical – though was the fact that that the people complaining, including my friends and me, were also spending more and had more money to indulge than our parents ever did. It got me thinking about the lens through which we saw wealth and consumption.

In early 2012, I had met the founding team of IIFL Wealth for the first time. I was then the editor of Inc. India. For a cover story I finally filed on them for the magazine’s August 2014 issue, I met more than two dozen of their clients. Several were first-generation entrepreneurs and senior corporate professionals. Each of them had their own fascinating story of success and wealth creation to share. They were entrepreneurs that magazines such as the one I was editing often put on the cover.

Collectively, the treasure of insights from their clients was the “after” story of the entrepreneurship boom. Wealth was the happy albeit uncertain corollary of entrepreneurial and professional success. I began to realise that most reportage on entrepreneurship is limited to the process of building the business. Few articles or books focus on what happens after: the creation of wealth. When people do write about the affluent, it is to gush over their material purchases. There was an entirely new set of insights to explore. It’s what I have set out to do with this book.
This book was based on interviews, with wealthy creators, high net worth individuals, wealth managers and private bankers, and other people from industry who work with or think about the wealthy.

What were the Challenges that you faced while writing The Wealth Wallahs?
Writing a book is definitely a huge challenge. It takes too long. It occupies too much mind space. The first challenge definitely was the logistical challenge of conducting interviews. Then, you had to go through 300 plus hours of tape; and tried to stitch a story with that material. How do you begin? What is the most interesting part? These are challenges that can bog you down for days? Of course, the writing is the biggest challenge. It requires intense self-motivation and self-discipline. Nobody in the world is really asking for your book: what motivates you to finish it?

Which are the two big challenges which working women face in the current era?

My work with The Foundation for Working Women, and more recently, at the Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, helped me understand the overt gender imbalances and the insidious sexism pervades large parts of our workplaces. These are conversations I have been fortunate to have not only with young students of our programme but with senior management at a wide cross-section of companies in India; as well as at numerous conferences, seminars and discussions.

There are so many challenges, both internal and external. If we look at India specifically, female labour-force participation in the organised workforce is stagnant. Actually, it’s dipped over the last decade even though the enrolment of women in higher education has gone up dramatically. As a country, we haven’t been able to reap the advantages of an increase in female higher education to financial independence. Compared to other similar economies, we do poorly in terms of our female labour-force participation.

The challenges for working women are two-fold. One, the world of work (companies, organisations, institutions) aren’t providing workplaces that are condcive to working women, whether it is in infrastructure, gender-aware human resource policies or enabling mindsets. Our partriarchal society and crumbling urban infrastructure and safety adds to these challenges, and makes it difficult for women to pursue ambitions.

It is equally important that women must have a conversation within their homes and with themselves about their aspirations and ambitions.

Actually, Vinay is a writer by chance and writing is one of his passion. He love to pen down his thoughts in the form of blogs/articles & forums. He is a poet too :) Despite having a tough life, he is also passionate about the social relationship and he loves to interact with the new crowd across the globe.

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