Founder and CEO – Cherry-pick JOBS; Women’s Activist
Shanthi Augustus ascribes her successful journey to two strong women. The first, her grandmother, Clara Mary (Late), who was a single mother and fought hard against the village culture and mindset to educate her children. The second, Shanthi’s mom, Dinakara Devi. Again, a single mother who lost her husband at an early age, she worked in HTL as a Senior Purchase Officer while simultaneously toiling hard to raise three kids, Shanthi, her brother Santhosh and sister Sophia.
It wasn’t the easiest of childhoods, but Shanthi managed to graduate in Bachelors of English Literature from Meenakshi College in Chennai, and started working in a BPO while simultaneously completing her MHRM from Loyola. She also met her husband Leon Moses Augustus, VP Operations at Ceequence, at this time. He believed in her dreams and supported her in all their ups and downs.
Shanthi got her first break in HR in 2005, through ex-boss Rajesh Somasundaram, CEO – Ceequence, a man of ethics and principles, and the best boss ever.
However, her challenges were far from over. “Nobody teaches you corporate etiquette and office politics. Most of the time, I failed to articulate my achievements and challenges proactively. Work was tough. Marriage was rough. Luckily, I had the privilege of working with Gayathri Chandrasekhar in my last corporate role at Xome as she understood the challenges of other women. I still remember how elegantly, yet authoritatively she carried herself in the boardroom full of men. During these times, my biggest support system was my mother-in-law Moyra Augustus who helped raise my kids Joey and Chelsea, and later became the first investor in my business along with my aunts Lillian Augustus and Gina Brass,” says Shanthi.
This was also the period she experienced the whole fuss about work-life balance. Today, Shanthi runs an HR Consulting Firm – Cherry-pick JOBS Private Limited, and thoroughly enjoys the work from home freedom and flexibility. “When I took a break for an year for personal reasons, I found it extremely difficult to place myself back in the workforce, in spite of 16+ years experience. It was my lowest point,” she reveals.
However, did Shanthi rise from that? She says, “Once I was out of work, I had no friends, passion or hobby to fall back on, as it had been work, work and work for the better part of my adult life. The best way I moved forward was to start investing in myself, by a healthy lifestyle, reading, listening to audio books and mentors whom I could fall back on in case of any difficulties at work or with personal challenges. When I changed, people around changed for the better, and I started working to become the best version of myself. Simultaneously I sought God as the last resort. Pastor Ricardo and Sutapa Brass stepped in to rescue and mentored us through our faith, comforting words and encouragement. Our grateful thanks also to Comdt (Retd) Jacob and Mrs Rani Jacob, Family Counsellors, who have impacted many marriages through their selfless service to the community.”
The intent of helping other people, especially women, is what led Shanthi to launch Cherry-Pick JOBS. “I started with limited investment, but with my HR network and professional connections, I was able to get clients from day one,” she says.
In 2021, Cherry-pick JOBS was listed in the Top 10 Recruitment Startups by Silicon India Magazine. It also prides itself on sponsoring ROD Football Club which is committed to nurturing the growth of footballers through training, mentorship and character building.
“I started my business with one goal – to help women re-enter the corporate world after a career break, in leadership roles, and in business. My dream is to build a 100 million USD Global Recruitment Firm with a majority of women leaders focusing on empowering women in any way possible, especially investing in women entrepreneurs with a passion and vision to uplift one another,” says Shanthi.
Till she scales those heights, Shanthi keeps herself engaged with other noble deeds. “Ministering to enrich marriages through counselling, empowering women through Cherry-pick JOBS to get back into the workforce, and uplifting women via ‘The Stronghold Throw ball Team’ are some of the ways which keep me fully engaged,” says a content Shanthi.
“My biggest strength is my faith in God. I always tell people, ‘Wait until God steps into your life’. Everything changed, the minute I surrendered my life for God’s will and purpose,” adds Shanthi.
In her message for our readers, she says, “Always know that you don’t have to be the smartest in the room, all you need is the desire to learn. You need to be a lifelong student, keep learning. I’ve learned to ‘Become the woman whose voice is heard’.”