Anjali Rattan Nashier© HELLO! India

Anjali Rattan Nashier Takes Us Through Her Journey To The Top

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Neeva Jain

Featuring India’s most inspiring women and men who set an example for innovation and leadership in their fields.

HELLO!: Your unique entrepreneurial journey radiates tenacity and fortitude. Please share what your early days were like.

Anjali Rattan Nashier: “I got married fairly young, when I was still in my final year of electrical engineering. I became a mother of two while I was working for a company. Eventually, I realised I wanted to make it big in life while having the flexibility to raise my kids. So I started my own business in real estate construction and manufacturing. I also wanted to pursue further studies, so I took up a course on law to enhance my knowledge in legal affairs. At the same time, I grew my business from the ground up without taking a penny from anyone. Running a business, studying law and raising kids at the same time made it a difficult phase in my life. But in hindsight, having so much on my plate made me efficient at multitasking.

Over the years, my hunger for learning took me to Cambridge for a management programme and London Business School for HR strategy. After 10 years helming a business, I had the confidence and skills to take on significantly larger ventures. That’s when I started my solar firm, secured General Electric as an investor, built the finest plants across the country and scaled it up to 315MW solar plants. I sold this business to a marquee private equity fund in 2019. Using this money, I started four new businesses that function under RattanIndia Enterprises Ltd. I’m a lifelong learner, and hence I keep taking up new courses along with managing my business. I’m currently enrolled in a three-year owner/president management programme at Harvard Business School.”

Anjali Rattan Nashier©HELLO! India

H!: Your billion-dollar RattanIndia Enterprises comprises a number of verticals of new-age businesses like electric vehicles, e-commerce, fintech and drones. How did it all start for you? 

ARN: “After the sale of our solar portfolio, we turned our focus on future-ready businesses. Our aim was to select new-age ventures that would resolve significant problems for the country and positively impact the lives of all Indians. Early on, we had decided to steer clear of debt- heavy industries and instead, focus on clean, green, technology-driven businesses with low capex and direct- to-consumer engagement that could be scaled up rapidly. We also wanted it all to be environmentally, socially and governance compliant. With these underlying tenets in mind, we selected electric vehicles as our first investment. That’s how it all started. We had been working on a fintech business for some time, after which we looked at drones and e-commerce.”

H!: Which of these verticals do you oversee? 

ARN: “Each of our businesses is currently in the buildout stage, which requires laser-sharp focus on execution. I’m fortunate to have an excellent team, but I’m quite hands- on and like to roll up my sleeves and get into the details. Nothing is off the table for me — from driving the strategy for businesses to personally interviewing people to put together great teams, down to being involved in day-to-day operations. I’m quite the perfectionist and detail oriented.”

H!: You’re one half of a dynamic husband-wife duo, which isn’t as common in India as we’d like. How do you balance growth for your professional and personal lives? How did you manage to integrate your worlds so seamlessly? 

ARN: “We thrive on and bond over our work. Business is what we talk about most of the time. My husband and I both started our respective businesses fairly young and had our own careers. It was only in the past two years that we started working together. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and luckily, they balance out quite well when put together. When you’re a strong team, you debate, discuss and then make a decision. Respect for each others’ points of view vastly improves this collective decision- making. We then go ahead with full gusto to achieve whatever decision we arrive at.”

Anjali Rattan Nashier HELLO!©HELLO! India

H!: What are your short- and long- term goals? The ones you hope to conquer…

ARN: “Our short-term goal is to ensure fantastic execution in each of our businesses, whereas our long- term goal is to establish each business as a market leader in its respective segment. We work doggedly on clearly defined annual operating plans to achieve our business goals.”

H!: Covid brought on an onslaught of mental health issues. With the high-stakes businesses you helm, how did you bring yourself to a state of equilibrium?

 ARN: “I believe in this mantra: ‘Inhale patience, exhale gratitude.’ It gives me a deep sense of peace and equilibrium. Covid gave us time to think deeply, reflect on new business opportunities and devise strategies for each of them. That’s when we started working on all these new projects. The world went through a terrible time; we lost our close ones. I, too, had a tough time when I got afflicted with Covid. Though it gave time to dwell on the importance of health and healing. We should be grateful to god for what we have. The importance of our relationships, our loved ones and the connect we have with them, and most importantly, time, which we take for granted. We need to make the most of our time, our present, and never fail to seize opportunities.”

H!: Who’s the one role model who has inspired you in all these years?

ARN: “Having started my own business at a fairly young age, I was quite self-motivated. Apart from being a wife and mother, I had clear entrepreneurial aspirations for myself. I had a great role model in my husband, too; I truly admire his hard work and resilience.

Among business leaders, I admire Elon Musk. His sheer vision and execution to solve multiple world- scale problems is awe-inspiring. I’m also inspired by Indira Nooyi for what she has achieved on the world stage. As a woman with multiple familial duties, you cannot have it all, but she best embodies what all can be achieved with the right balance.”

H!: When you think back, is there anything you’d have done differently?

ARN: “I neither have any professional regrets, nor would I have done anything differently. On the personal front, as a mother, you always wish you could have spent a little more time with your children when they were younger.”

H!: Could you share some joys of being a mother to your kids? 

ARN: “I’m blessed with two superb kids. My sons have turned into young, independent thinkers. They were both scholars at the Winchester College in England. They were lucky to have gotten enrolled in the same college and are now pursuing their undergrad studies at Dartmouth in the US. It’s great to see my elder son being self-motivated to pursue chess competitively, while my younger one has keen interest in economics and politics.

From a young age, we inculcated the importance of being independent in them. They went to boarding school in England. We didn’t have any family or friends there, so they had to make do for themselves in a foreign land around alien culture. We gave them opportunities, but they created their own paths — all while staying rooted to their culture. They are very fond of visiting India and spending time with extended family.”

H!: What are your hopes for the future of India? 

ARN: “The single biggest quality of an entrepreneur is optimism. And I’m eternally optimistic about India. We have favorable demographics, talented professionals and a stable democratic system that make for a strong foundation for economic progress. India is well on its way to secure its rightful place in the global order. Without an iota of doubt, I’m certain that the 1.35 billion aspiring Indians will propel the country to rank among the top three world economies. I hope to see India become developed on all fronts.”

H!: How do you manage to stay beautiful? 

ARN: “I’m neither a gym person, nor do I believe in beauty treatments. I thrive while I’m in work mode. It’s the best exercise for me. I’m an inherently optimistic person and don’t stress easily. I believe eating right, staying happy and not dwelling on the past are all keys to a beautiful and healthy life.”

H!: Your words of advice to the dreamers out there.

ARN: “Be an eternal optimist, believe in yourself, and accept that failures are part of the journey. Have a dream and the passion and perseverance to pursue it. Be ready to work really hard and never stop creating. Be a lifelong learner. Take people along with you.”

Photography: Anil Chawla; Creative Direction & Styling: Amber Tikari

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s October 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!