Deepali Nangia used to be a high-flying businesswoman, travelling the world, but she has given all of that up to start up her own organisation, supporting other women entrepreneurs and using her business skills to do so.
Born and raised in Calcutta, Deepali studied to masters level at the University of Rochester in the US and worked first in investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney on Wall Street and then in private equity. In 2001 she transferred to the UK and then worked in financial services followed by a three-year stint at the insurance broker Marsh McLennan where she was project manager in charge of setting up their India back office.
It was that job which brought her back to a changing India - “an India that had moved far ahead from when I was last in it”, she says. She then worked for the chief executive and chief financial officer of Marsh McLennan on strategy, operations and business development, including a seven-month stint in New York.
This was followed by a stint at Aon Ltd as Operations Director.
While at Marsh McLennan, she had her daughter Malaika, now six. She returned to work after maternity leave and balanced her job, the travel involved and looking after Malaika. During her second maternity leave three and a half years later she didn't take it easy either. Instead, she set up a mother and child centre in India, delivering after school classes with a local partner.
The centre, Tiny Feet, Giant Leaps, also provides parenting workshops with doctors, psychologists, nutritionists and other experts. Deepali is responsible for all the class curriculum, strategy and business development and finances.
Deepali has years of experience in voluntary roles, many of which draw on her business skills. In the US, for instance, she was a volunteer at Ground-Zero at the World Trade Centre and has volunteered at organisations as diverse as the India Earthquake Relief Fund and the New York Carers Volunteer Network. In the UK she has been a mentor to secondary school students in Hackney through Aon and is currently developing a fundraising strategy for CRY UK, a children's rights organisation which works with underprivileged children in India.
All of this work has meant she has built up a huge range of experience and contacts globally. Last year she decided to give up the corporate life and strike out on her own, giving a range of organisations and women the benefit of her knowledge and contacts.
She has just launched Empower, a consulting service advising entrepreneurs, non-profits and other organisations. The business focuses on women. Deepali is passionate about helping other women to achieve all they can.
Empower covers a range of services, including business plan preparation, financial analysis, marketing strategy and launch including guidance on print and social media content, business writing services including reports, news releases and PR articles, operational support and general career guidance and mentoring plus CV advice.
She says part of the reason for setting up the business was to spend more time with her children. Her son Veer is two and a half and she says she notices that being at home – which is where she now works - has increased her children's confidence. However, she did not want to give up working. “I needed to continue to do something for myself,” she says. She had helped a lot of friends with advice about their cvs and decided she could develop that support as a business. “I really enjoy it and I'm very hands on.”
She already has some clients, including a portrait artist in Pakistan who wants to launch in the UK and a businesswoman from Germany who wants to launch her children's products in the UK. She also does pro bono work for a number of non profit organisations and is hoping to work with a local London authority soon delivering workshops for women.
She hopes that the business will allow her to make the most of her experience and to support other women in business.
*For more advice and support on setting up your own business, go to Workingmums.co.uk's Business Zone.