Sucheta Pal, Zumba® Global Brand Ambassador
Sucheta Pal made a career out of her passion. She is an international Zumba Education Specialist and the selected few Master Trainers for Zumba in the world. She is the first Indian to be announced as the Global Brand Ambassador and additionally a business Advisor for India. She is credited for pioneering the brand in India and training over 3000 instructors in past three years alone in India, Indonesia, Oman Maldives, Bangkok, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Sucheta holds a degree in engineering and has also worked for Asia’s Largest IT companies as business analyst. She realized her true passion was in dancing and she eventually quit her job. “Make what you’re good as your career. I overheard this line on one of my transit flights to Florida. It made complete sense to me instantly. I believe I can recognize potential, visualize the future for that “A” person and mentor that individual on that path to that future. And I feel blessed that my passion is also what I’m good at and hence it’s my career. Dance and fitness has been an integral part of my life for the last 10 years. To make it a career path which pays my bills and gives me immense job satisfaction is blissful”, she says.
Read the interview below to know more about her journey.
From IT to Zumba, what inspired you to take the leap?
As I mentioned above that dance and fitness have been my comrades and we have had a love-hate relationship over the last 10 years now. An acute case of IBS and anxiety disorder gave me a reality check that I’m not cut out for the stressful lifestyle of the corporate world.
So after four years of an engineering degree and five years of corporate life in an IT company I decided to give in my papers and pursue my first love which is dance in professional dance institute. I was in for a shock. No one shows us when dancers come on a reality TV that they train like Olympians behind the scenes. And I did struggle in every possible way. Training for 8 hours nonstop and then doing three odd jobs to earn a living was my daily routine for more than a year. And finally destiny decided to be kind and I shifted to the US where I discovered Zumba® for the very first time. It was the perfect mix of dance and fitness and the best part was it was a happy noncompetitive all inclusive empowering format which today has changed millions of lives. I have never looked back.
After getting trained in Zumba® and other fitness formats I shifted back to India to re-launch the program as Zumba® Fitness LLC, official trainer.
How was the experience of introducing Zumba in India? What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
I loved every bit of it. Any new change causes resistance and so was the case for Zumba®. Lack of awareness that this is a global branded format was the first major concern. I had to establish the credibility of the brand in 2012 as a branded workout by raveling across India and conducting Zumba® demos and master classes across the top gyms of India.
The second challenge was that as the demand for Zumba® grew we needed more and more instructors. So now started the second wave of travel to train the trainers and officially license them to start their independent classes in India. Today we have thousands of instructors after five years who are not only empowering themselves but are also bringing about a social and economic change in the country. We have corporate goers to housewife from football coaches to college students who have taken this up as a full time career.
And now the latest challenge is to go to the tier 2 and 3 cities and inspire each Indian to get on the path of fitness and health one move at a time. We just finished training a group of army wives in Jammu and another instructor training wrapped up in Raipur. Job opportunities are growing as we speak with the combined effort of our community of instructors.
One milestone in your life that makes you happy and proud?
My mother in law started her fitness journey with me at 65 and with arthritis and is now not only a Zumba® enthusiast but also a healthy living spokesperson to her set of women of her district. So yes awards I will forever cherish but this would be one milestone to be able to inspire a 65 year Old lady who had never stepped into a gym till date to start moving.
What advice would you give to people to motivate them to take a road less travelled?
Make a dress of dreams and don’t apologize when you fit right into it. Work hard to visualize your future, work even harder to achieve that vision and when you arrive, announce it to the world. One, it is not going to be easy and that’s the fun part and second let no one tell you that you shouldn’t go gaga about your achievements or work. Be vocal about it and be even vocal about those with who you share the success.
You are here because your parents decided to feed you, you are here because your sister decided to let go of her time with you so that you could grow, you are here because your team made you their goal. So feel pride to shout out and thank them openly.
What would you like to achieve in the next coming years?
Work should be fun, pay your bills and add value to the community you live in.
Together with my work partner we wish to empower the under privileged to also start believing that a career in fitness is possible. We wish to slowly encourage young Aspirants and hopefuls who may not have the means but have the will to learn.
We wish to create a platform for them to explore this opportunity and hopefully create a career. At a personal level, it’s more learning and upgrading oneself constantly. With the ever changing industry it’s constant reading and learning. It’s my favorite thing to do.