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Take A Peak Into The Extraordinary Life Of Michelle Poonawalla

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Jeena J Billimoria

The celebrated artist, philanthropist and ‘First Lady’ of Pune shares a rare glimpse of everyday life — and her grand plans for the year ahead, with HELLO!

Celebrated business visionary, artist, philanthropist, world traveller and a patron of numerous social causes, Michelle Poonawalla has embraced various roles over the years. Yet, her heart is devoted to the close bonds shared with her family. “My ‘me time’ is at home with my family,” confesses the beautiful mother of two. In an exclusive chat with HELLO! she shares the inspirations that fuel her progress.

HELLO!: Michelle, what makes you really happy?

Michelle Poonawalla: “Spending quality time with my family and growing mine and my husband Yohan’s business interests. So does putting a smile on someone’s face by helping them make their dreams come true. My art always makes me happy; giving me great satisfaction that I am able to support charities with the philanthropic endeavours of our family foundation and CSR initiatives.”

H!: What is your secret to shine?

MP: “Being positive, fearless and determined; believing in yourself is key. I take pride in the work our company does with the specially-abled, creating sources of income for them and their families. We support education for girls, animal welfare and are passionate about our green initiatives. These projects reaffirm my faith in doing something for the larger good, all helping me shine.”

H!: What are your plans for 2024?

MP: “Work wise, we have many projects in progress; the Poonawalla Business Group is helming multiple new ventures, creating impact at the grassroots level. This is also the year I will be settling my daughter into university. Moreover, I am overseeing the restoration of the Pune Turf Club, which I have lovingly designed. Under the patronage of my CMY husband, Yohan, and myself, the project will be restored to its original heritage.”

H!: Which is your next destination you’re travelling to?

MP: “Zurich to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, where she’s studying fine art. It’s a day we want to cherish together as a family.”

H!: Your current favourite restaurants in India and abroad?

MP: “Mark’s Club, George and Harry’s in London. But when in Pune, I enjoy our comforting home-cooked meals. Sometimes, the kids and I like to whip up new dessert recipes.”

H!: How do you take care of yourself, both mentally and emotionally?

MP: “I like to keep my life balanced; I work during the week and spend weekends with friends. Family travels provides us with valuable moments to unwind and rejuvenate. As an artist, my creations offer meditative solace. I find peace crafting art in my studio, surrounded by the greenery of my garden.”

H!: The biggest lessons life has taught you?

MP: “Live your life on terms that make you and others happy. I truly believe that the more you give the more you get, and it all starts with spreading happiness. Most importantly, keep your circle positive!”

This interview has been adapted for the web from HELLO! India’s February 2024 issue. Grab your copies right here.