India has many global success stories, yet not many of them have women in the lead and to top it off not many from Belgaum. But Chitra Bhonsle, 36, who was born in a village and today heads the New Zealand operations of global courier company DHL, has always defied the odds.
Chitra was born in Khanapur , 26 km from Belgaum. She studied in her village school and went to college in Belgaum.
Chitra’s road has been tough. After graduating in arts, a friend suggested that she do her masters in business administration (MBA). After her MBA, she moved to Mumbai in search of work.
Her brother Sanjay was a reporter in the Free Press Journal. They lived in a ‘chawl’ in Malad, a suburb in Mumbai. Chawls are shantytowns on the fringes of the city that offer one-room homes with common toilets.
After getting her masters degree, she decided to work for a courier company because it was a nascent industry and the potential for growth was high. She applied for a job at Blue Dart, a premier courier company, and got it.
Chitra used to travel by the local train, second class. After three months she shifted to DHL. ‘Blue Dart did not appoint me as a manager trainee, even though I had a degree in business administration.
The girl from a village, who once traveled to Mumbai every day in suburban trains, is now the national operations manager of DHL, New Zealand. DHL is a Brussels-based courier firm that ferries cargo and letters across the world.
She met her husband Lakshmikant in DHL. They decided to tie the knot after a long romance and now have two daughters. Chitra, a Shinde now, feels that it is a coincidence that both Bhonsle and Shinde were generals under the legendary Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Three years later, she moved to Papua New Guinea, where her brother was living with his family. She quit her job after DHL-India refused to relocate her and applied afresh on the strength of her experience in India.
She got the job and stayed there for three years after which she applied for a job in DHL, Australia. ‘They told me that there was a vacancy in the Fiji islands and none in Australia. I took up the job in Fiji.’
She spent the next three years in Fiji before moving back to Australia. While in Australia, she applied for a residency in New Zealand and got a permit for four years.
She realised that she had to move to New Zealand or else she would lose her residency.
She has been in New Zealand for four years now. She was promoted as the country head of operations last month. She works late hours, but her ‘commitment’ to work, according to those who know her, is extraordinary.
Article taken from http://www.nerve.in/. Contibuted by Siddartha Hundre