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Parul Mehta, Founder of Destination Globe, an international luxury experiential travel company.Her business philosophy is to make travel planning an enjoyable, laid back experience for the customer – the only stress the passenger must face is his packing and unpacking, as this cannot be substituted. Destination Globe (DG) was born in 2006,is member of Four Seasons Preferred Partner, PEN Club, Relais & Chateaux preferred partner,VITA Partner of LHW, Luxury Circle of Shangri-la, Passport to Luxury by Jumeirah, Hyatt Privé, Member agency of Luxury International Consortia called Traveller Made. DG designs and runs the world’s most immersive, inspiring and unforgettable journeys, combining adventure with unparalleled cultural immersion in the world’s greatest destinations. Let us learn more about her journey from her days at the airline office to being a globe trotter and tourism expert.
PV Q1: How do you balance being a Mother/Home And Work? What have you sacrificed (Both Personally And Professionally) At Each Stage Of Your Career?
Parul: Being single and independent, I take care of my personal and professional life emotionally as well as Financially. Whether it is mundane grocery shopping or big investments and everything in- between, I handle it single handedly. I take some pride to be the Founder of an international luxury experiential travel company. While working hard for over 27 years to achieve success and pursue my passion, I have not managed to find time to look for a companion to share my life and adventure with.
There are bad days too, when I feel completely drained, burnt-out, emotionally and mentally exhausted, depersonalization of relationships, reduced sense of accomplishments also seeps in, yet at end of that I feel empowered to take care of myself, my family and my siblings with utmost priority. The happiness I see on the lives I make a difference to gives me an impetus to continue my enthusiasm and zeal to make an impact.
PV Q2: What was the Organizational Culture Like 10 Years Ago For Women And Working Mothers?Do You Feel That Corporates Make Efforts Towards Improving The Facilities For This Cohort?
Parul: I have been very fortunate to be working at Air France with a superior working environment. My career has been quite a journey from back in 1993 as a data entry operator climbing the ladder in 7 years as a Senior Sales Personnel with Air France. I am forever grateful for it because it transformed my personal and professional life. I vividly recall the fabulous work culture, some friends for life. I have been fortunate to not face any cultural or political hardship, we had an equal ratio of Men and Women, it was a fair place to work.
PV Q3: Do Women In Your Profession Have A Hard Time Getting Promoted? What Are Some Strategies That Can Help Women Achieve A More Prominent Role In Their Organizations?
Parul: Continuing my experience at Air France, I had a lady boss and she promoted my strengths. It was her confidence in my skills that I was not just promoted as Sales Manager but also allotted a special task of chasing the coveted diamond trade travellers, to ensure these high net worth individuals travel by Air France. I could manage to increase the market share in the first year by 14% and then there was no looking back. I was nicknamed ‘The Queen of Diamonds’’ by Air France colleagues. They had printed a beautiful flyer with my picture on it to promote me as a diamond market specialist and the frequent flyer programs.
To explore greater pastures, I went onto the United States of America to work at a big Tourism company. Well as they say time does not wait for anyone, it was 2001 march, I was just getting adjusted to the whole new working environment and 9/11 happened, and bam the whole American tourism Industry changed, nobody wanted to come to Asian Countries.
I came back to India in December 2001 and joined another company as a Director of Marketing. Within 6 years, they grew leaps and bound as the biggest wholesalers of tour packages in India. I got 2500 hotels in there portfolio to sell to the Indian travellers.
After working both sides of the table I decided to start my own company in March 2006, and ‘Destination Globe’ was born and we are now in the top 10 travel companies in Luxury Travelin India. My strategy has always been hardwork, market knowledge and all of this was made possible with the teamwork of operations and sales, promotion follows naturally.
PV Q4: As A Female Leader, What Has Been The Most Significant Barrier In Your Career?
Parul: I am not sure why it is perceived that women leaders have barriers and difficulties, in fact being a woman I have had it easier. I got all the support from my clients, hoteliers, and the airline. I think it is the way you handle yourself makes or breaks it for you. The personality must be developed so that none can take you for granted or run you over just because you are timid. I suggest we should be strong, confident and show their power to have achieved this status themselves. Being competitive, firm and confident has enabled me to be not behind them but rub shoulders with them and yet shine brighter, every time.
PV Q5: Who Inspired You And Why? What Are Some Traits You Think Great Leaders Possess?
Parul: Well, I am a living example of how a personal setback kept me timid, low profile and unsociable. I had almost zero confidence and self-worth for over a year. The only thing I enrolled for was Excel Coaching classes that too near my fathers’ office in Kalba Devi. I excelled at the classes, and destiny got me to work at Air France as a data entry operator.
My ex-colleagues recall how I walked into the office in a simple salwar kameez, a girl who would talk softly. One year of deliberation and hard work on my social skills enabled me and I turned confident,my communication improved, everything about me changed drastically. I had moved on with life. And so I would say, a leader must possess traits of Self-confidence, Must be Firm, Shrewd, Risk-taker, Intelligent, Focused, Passionate with strong work ethics and people skills.
PV Q6: What Was Your Dream Job As A Kid And Why?
Parul: To be honest, I belong to a middle-class Gujarati Family, nobody worked in our family hence I never thought of a career. I was not exposed to the world. I always thought and assumed I would get married and live and work on chores like my mother.With my mother’s blessings and god’s plans for me, I became a trendsetterinmy otherwise or thodoxfamily. Now, I am glad to see other women and girls in my extended family have a career and their voice and financial freedom.
PV Q7: What Is The Best And Worst Decision You’ve Ever Made?
Parul: To my mind, my best decision was to MOVE-ON in life and pursue a career. The time, space and abilities I developed while working has transformed me and my outlook towards life. And …well I do not regret anything, we all are human beings, and make a few errors of judgment, but then we do our best to rectify and put ourselves back together.
PV Q8: How Do We Move Forward When Everyone Else Is Telling Us That Our Idea Won’t Work?
Parul: When the going gets tough, the tough get going, so I vividly recall my sibling commenting on my capabilities to be unable to pull off the strenuous schedule managing computer classes and work at Air France simultaneously. He would always scoff and say that I would quit in less than a week. In the hindsight, those remarks made my resolve stronger and I only grew in both cadre and as a person. Hence I urge all of you to realize your potential and feed your positive energies and trust me you will emerge as a fighter soldier.
PV Q9: How Did You Reach Your Level Of Success, Given The Sector’s Gender Gap, Especially Among The Leadership?
Parul: I like challenges, and without blinking an eyelid I would place determination, focus and hard work as the measurable standards of success. As most of the travel and tourism industry is driven by males, it has been quite a sojourn for me. Back in 2006 with a few contacts from my previous job, credibility in the market and sheer focus led me to launch ‘Destination Globe’.
We are members of the International Travel Fraternity Consortia. It is a privilege to be among only 16 members pan India, as it is by invitation only consortium. And, I am the only lady who made her mark reckoning my humble background and conforming family.
PV Q10: What Do You Do For A Hobby?What Is Your ‘Me-Time’ Like?
Parul: I used to be a party animal, but now I choose to have a comforting time to unwind the hectic schedule and let loose with a few close friends. I especially enjoy cooking a variety of cuisines. I also love to workout and exercise. I enjoy driving to the countryside, it is like meditating. I am a quiet person, and my me-timeis to relax at home, sipping on a glass of champagne or wine, and explore myself.
PV Q11: What Words Of Wisdom Did Your Mother/Grandmothers/Aunts Share With You?
Parul: I can not remember if any words of wisdom came from the ladies of my house, nevertheless, my Grandfather always pushed us to do exactly what we felt like doing, never sit back. He expressed ‘Give it a shot so you don’t regret that you never tried.’This has always stayed with me.
PV Q12: What Advice Would You Give To Our Next-Gen Women?
Parul: Next-Gen women I feel are very cold towards a lot the way they look at life. In a rush to achieve, they forget relationships. So I would like to opine and ask them to be cool and focused, yet be warm towards people around.
PV Q13: What do you usually bitch about? Your Favorite Topics? And When?
Parul: I usually refrain from unsolicited advice and casual talk, being pressed for time. Once a while, I do share my opinions about world leaders and grouse about their policies.This applies to close family and friends too, it is never sacrosanct of what elders advocate, so I like to discuss those out with my BFFs.