Sep 2019 , by , in Interviews

“While working hard at your career and looking after family, don’t forget yourself.” Gauri Naiknavare, Director, Naiknavare Developers

How have you maintained synergies between professional and personal life?

An architect by profession, I have always wanted to be not just a consultant, but to be in the field where I could execute my design in totality. This was a challenge as in India, ‘construction’ when I started my career was a man’s world. There were many women in the design aspect, but very few of us onsite or in liaison. The second challenge was the balance between professional and personal life. I have managed this synergy by compartmentalizing the two. Once I leave office I have learnt to keep work behind and focus on personal life, be it an hour of exercise for oneself or the pleasures of family life. Even at social get-togethers I have always avoided discussing work related topics. A strong supportive family is a blessing that goes a long way in maintaining this balance.

What are some of the career achievements that are close to your heart?

My biggest achievement was being accepted as an equal for my knowledge and not just someone who had to be accepted being part of the family running the business. My greatest joy is when a customer living in one of our projects, compliments me on the design and construction be it someone from one of our HIG/MIG projects or a slum dweller who has recently moved into one of our slum rehab buildings. Designing for the economically weaker section is one of my career achievements which has given me pleasure.

What are the general perceptions about women in your field of career and how have you handled them?

Today women are well accepted in my field, particularly in the urban environment. A clerk at one of the authorities once asked me to give a job to his daughter in our organization and went on to say ‘my family doesn’t want her to work for a builder, but I told them, she is a “Lady Builder”, This is an anecdote I always remember and have a good laugh!

My goal is to give better designs and improve construction. Keep learning about new developments in technology and materials and to incorporate green technologies and reduce environmental impact would also be a major focus.

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