Vanessa de Souza Proprietor Empress Estates &Vice President FIABCI-India
In a break from tradition and in deference to the wishes of my parents I stepped into the business of real estate and floated a company under the name and style of Empress Estates. In 1994, my choice of profession was dominated by male gender but with time I learnt to deal with my discomfort by relaxing into it and promoting better life and business.
At inception I identified my ‘Sphere of Influence’ and set my client profile which was dealing only with decision makers viz. Directors / CEO’s / Owners / Developers and similar. I strongly relied on word of mouth with no Walk-Ins to the office and no advertisements. I was dedicated to providing service and expertise that makes each transaction as seamless and successful as possible, providing peerless customer service and attention to detail.
Mentoring is essential for both sexes. Most of my early role models were male. Most of my current mentors are male, but there are several female entrepreneurs who inspire me.
After a few years I registered as a member of a real estate association called The Estate Agents Association of Pune (EAAP) which is the oldest association in India founded in 1986and with having learnt to hold my ground by being firm on my beliefs I ventured onto being an elected member on the Governing body. Having served on the Governing body for sixteen years my term ended as President of The Eaap.I then joined a World forum called FIABCI –The International Real Estate Federation which is a business organisation of real estate professionals in business worldwide. I then got appointed as Vice President on the FIABCI-INDIA Chapter.
FIABCI is a network with members of the highest standards. The success of being the most represented platform in the world is because of its strong communication and connections between its members, Chapters and Governments of each country.I am so proud to be a member of my local Association- The Estate Agents Association of Pune and a member of FIABCI. One must expand their horizons to grow. I believe if you don’t keep moving forward you can’t grow.
Having completed more than 20 successful years in business and dealing with top corporate pan India and never refusing to attend to even the smallest requirement – residential, retail, commercial or land requirements of a customer, I have grown my business to successful heights.Women owned businesses have the potential to empower others, stimulate job creation and create workplace environment that may be more conducive for work and family balance.The best tools in my toolkit thus far have been a relentless work Ethic, an effort to expand my knowledge base, leading with self-awareness and confidence and never giving up.
My advice to women entrepreneurs is to stay positive and surround yourself with people who will encourage, inspire and believe in you and keep your distance from those who use your good offices to fulfil their personal agendas. Honesty and Integrity must be the very core of your character. The way ahead needs to be secured by embracing new ideas, focussing on big trends and having a long term policy to ensure we move forward. Its not going to be easy but nothing challenging ever is.
We need to invigorate our traditional formula for success and do all that it takes in a manner that is wholly transparent. It will be my constant endeavour to lead this effort.Discipline is the basis of every success and I look forward to encouraging women entrepreneurs to follow this path to success.
In leadership I did face male chauvinism and moves to overpower, but with strong convictions to follow the rule and support of majority, I managed to stay in Title.