In today’s age, while an increasing number of women are taking up jobs, the question of sufficient opportunities arises. While many get into a profession to support their families, there are others who work simply for the love of it.
In a bid to support such ambitious women, Sairee Chahal launched Sheroes.in in January 2014. The platform’s sole purpose is to help women navigate their professional roadmaps and find a career that fits their life.
“It is a platform to provide a career ecosystem for women with opportunities of various work formats — full time, flexible options, entrepreneurial avenues, internships, projects etc,” explains Sairee. “It aims to be the ultimate career destination for women from all walks of professional life. The Sheroes community has access to high-growth career resources, mentorship and support, and it engages with businesses to help them connect with female talent in form of employees, partners, customers and business owners,” she adds.
With a community comprising over half a million members, the platform-centric model helps connect businesses to women professionals. These include digital products, channel programmes, hiring initiatives, employee branding, custom and special projects. It also offers online branding and recruitment products, assisted hiring subscriptions and customised consulting for corporates through its experienced mentors. That apart, Sheroes is also an engagement platform for brand marketers, looking to engage with urban educated women between the ages of 24 and 40.
On the growth path
Within two years of its existence, Sheroes has grown consistently at a rate of 300 per cent (CAGR) with the help of its strong 30-member team. The company has over 7,000 companies with women professionals from 5,000 locations. It has already processed over a million service requests for its community members.
So, how did this concept come about? “The idea evolved from Fleximoms. I started it as a pilot for women on a career break, to identify flexible work options, work from home or those who were looking for more friendly opportunities. When we saw acceptance from all stakeholders, we decided to look at the entire gamut of opportunities for this talent pool, which is yet to be explored. The groundwork, idea acceptability, feedback — all helped in defining the base for Sheroes and launching it.”
The Sheroes.in job board is an open platform where companies keen to hire women can post their jobs for free and women apply directly. “We do not slow down the process by adding any conditions or processes...However, women have access to many kinds of assistance, including mentor calls, coaching, offline interventions and career resources,” says Sairee.
Simply put, women can join Sheroes.in community by creating a profile, after which they explore opportunities, consume career content, connect with mentors, or participate in various activities and career events.
“Initially, it was tough to convince everyone that every woman’s career matters and that small changes can make big impact when it comes to gender diversity, women entrepreneurship and leadership,” confesses the entrepreneur who works for 14-16 hours a day.
The journey isn’t easy. “There are crucial challenges and it will take time. But slowly, people have started aligning and are becoming a part of the change. There is a long way to go, but we are on our way,” says the lady who has won several awards and accolades and has been featured on shows like Young Turks, Pioneering Spirit and What Women Want.
However, Sairee believes that there is a lot more to be achieved. “We want to connect one million women with opportunities in the next three years along with bringing over 50,000 businesses to the platform. Our immediate future plans include expanding our footprint into tier 1 and tier 2 cities, where the need for opportunities is vast and there are no resources or help available to women,” she says.
It is her positive attitude, self-belief and strong will to bring about a change that has helped Sairee in steering through all the challenges so far.
Ask her about her mentors and she says, “There are a lot of peers from the startup ecosystem, including Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Rajan Anandan from Google, Binny Bansal of Flipkart and of course, some exceptional women like Anu Aga and Zia Mody.”
When not at work, she likes to read, connect with people and spend time with her family and dog But her mind is constantly ticking with ideas about ‘women at work’.
What lessons can other women learn from her journey? “Persistence. This is
a key value that will always help,” she signs off.