Samara Mahindra, Founder and CEO – CARER
Samara was always interested in the space of health and wellness. However her inclination to step in the realm of oncology came to her, when her mother fought and succumbed to cancer in 2010. Samara is a certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery Trainer. She is also a qualified personal fitness trainer from the American Academy of Personal Training, New York, Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and certified in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. Samara then went a step further and was certified as a Holistic Cancer Coach from Beatcancer.org, Center for Advancement in Cancer Education.
Samara built a social enterprise that provides holistic healing in the homes of cancer patients and survivors, working alongside mainstream treatment, called CARER Program. It’s a Cancer Recovery and Rehabilitation program.
CARER is the first and only social enterprise of the kind in India. CARER also provides services for free to those who are unable to afford the program and are in need of it the most. They work with one of the biggest hospitals and foundations in India to do this. Samara completed her Bachelors in Marketing and Masters in Corporate Communication in Australia. The background in business gave her the foundation to start the company. Other than healthcare her interest involves travelling, food, movies and reading.
Here are some more insights from the journey of Ms. Samara Mahindra and CARER, as shared with team ABT.
Please tell us about your Entrepreneurial Journey.
I firsthand encountered the lack of holistic services available in cancer care while my mother was battling the illness for over 6 years. It was however after her loss that the urge to make a difference grew. I had to gain the knowledge and credibility, so I started medicine from scratch and entered the field of holistic healing for cancer through a movement perspective, becoming a Cancer Exercise Specialist and then training further in other relatable fields.
I decided to move back to India to provide an all rounded approach to healing that includes the nutritional, physical, mental and emotional aspects that are completely ignored in treatment today. It took close to 2 years to procure the right specialists who I was comfortable to send to my patients homes and once that was done, we officially launched in September 2016. The feedback was invaluable and we gained so much knowledge being on the ground. In April 2017 we became a full-fledged personalized home care company.
Today I run the show but I never lose the pulse of my business, which are the patients (clients) that we serve. I try to connect with each one of them as much as possible.
Who is your greatest inspiration & why?
It has to be my mother. I grew up looking at a woman who built a business from scratch and went on further in creating an incredibly successful foundation all by herself. She was a one woman show who defied every stereotypical norm, every rule in the rule book and every obstacle that came her way. She taught me that nothing is out of my reach and in fact if I focus with the right intention and perseverance; it’s all right here in the palm of my hands.
Was there an inflection point which turned you towards the path of entrepreneurship?
Yes the inherent interest in health and wellness coupled with the experience of losing my mother to cancer and the dire need for the services that we provide today. No one was doing anything about it and I certainly wasn’t going to keep waiting for that to happen.
Which has been your most challenging assignment so far?
Every case is challenging in its own way but none that I haven’t been able to gain positive results from till date.
What are your experiences on being a woman entrepreneur?
Incredible, powerful, encouraging and inspiring.
Tell us about your leadership style
I lead by example and most importantly I involve my team in the process of every minor and major decision I make in my company. They are the backbone of my business and without their efforts, we are nothing.
What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
To open up an entire field of treating cancer holistically, which becomes the part of the mainstream care and embedded in the treatment protocol. I want patients to be treated such that we address holistic healing – body and mind. I want to change the course of cancer care and I most definitely will.