Leading successfully at soaring heights

Manju Yagnik – Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group

With an experience of over two decades, Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group is an acclaimed leader in the real estate sector. After completing her graduation from Kurukshetra University, Manju decided to use her skills in a profession that was challenging but yet matched her passion. She entered the real estate industry by joining the Nahar Group in 1987. Creating unique land spaces, coming up with unique initiatives for consumers, understanding consumer behaviour, being a decision maker, managing people, she has been a part of every activity in this group since then.

Her dedication has resulted in the Nahar Group winning several awards, including most prestigious accolades at MCHI Dubai 2011 – Critics Award – Participants’ Choice, Excellence in Innovative Marketing and Excellence in Design Development, Best Project Award. She has also received the Star Award for ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the year’, ABP News Woman Super Achiever in Real Estate Sector Award, Construction Woman of The Year and Best Township of The Year, for Nahar’s Amrit Shakti Award 2015 among many others. Manju is also passionate about rifle shooting and flying, and holds a flying license as well. She likes traveling and believes in living the life to the fullest and adopting the cultures and customs of the place. She enjoys spending her free time with family and friends.

She also takes keen  interest in the social, educational, sports and cultural activities. Manju has been a national level hockey player and has played and won various trophies for her state. Her dream of living a healthy life is reflected in her work as well.

In her professional life, Manju takes time out of her busy schedule to inspire, encourage and motivate her team. She believes that the first step towards inspiring excellence is to build a workplace, which encourages everyone to express their views and opinions openly. According to her, it is important to create an environment where employees can experiment, innovate, make mistakes and focus on the learning that comes out of these initiatives as well as provide regular and timely feedback on areas of improvement. “We as leaders are expected to walk the talk and exhibit personal excellence before expecting our team mates to strive for the same”, says Manju.

About your entrepreneurial journey
“I have been associated with Nahar Group for over two decades. I entered the real estate sector purely because I was passionate about it and it seemed like a worthwhile challenge. It was a well thought decision about my career and I saw growth in this industry which had great potential. Having an eye for detailing and quality and considering the complexity and precision required in this field, I found it very challenging to bring aesthetics out from brick and mortar. It also involved a lot of creativity and dealing with people in various fields.”

The inflection point
“Entrepreneurship is an inborn talent. It just gets polished with passing time and one gets better day after day. When I joined the Real Estate Industry which is a very complex industry, I realized how my skills came to me as an advantage in dealing with situations better than the most. This also helped me understand the nuances of the business.”

High point in career
“I sincerely believe that my journey is possibly encouraging more and more women to take real estate as a preferred career. Similarly I believe that my involvement in bringing a totally new concept of creating and implementing an exceptional township, Nahar’s Amrit Shakti in Chandivali at Andheri (E) in Mumbai, has set a new trend in the industry.”

Greatest inspiration
“My inspiration has been all those women who have defied all conditions of work and created a mark for themselves in their respective fields.”

Most important milestone in life
 “There have been many milestones that were created over the two decades that I have been in the industry. One of them was that when Nahar’s Amrit Shakti was announced by Nahar group and we were the pioneers in floating the integrated township concept. Another milestone that makes me extremely happy was the pioneering of our Group’s unique housing subvention scheme in collaboration with HDFC in the past for our customers, which brought huge relief and benefits to the customers. This scheme caught the imagination of the industry soon become popular thereafter. This provided the industry with one more payment instrument to offer to their customer.

Over the years, the industry and other related organizations have recognized my role as a leader in the Indian real estate sector.  I had also the privilege of sharing my knowledge and experience with the real estate thought leaders of GCC countries, where as the lead speaker at the First Annual Gulf Real Estate Fundamentals Conference 2008 in Bahrain, I spoke on “Real Estate Opportunities in Emerging India”.  My contribution as a part of nationally and internationally renowned industry bodies as below has also been recognized and acknowledged:

  • Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO)
  • Confederation of Real Estate Developer’s Associations of India (CREDAI)
  • Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI)

I am also the governing council and vice president with NAREDCO.”

Women are the better halves. What does it mean?
“All women are blessed with certain inborn characteristics and instincts which can be effectively utilized in the real estate sector. Her perspective on lifestyle, architecture and landscaping is positively better and to top this all, her proficiency in acquiring technical knowledge that score high points in the realty industry. Woman have exceptional abilities on creativity, coping with stress, on gaining trust, building relationships and negotiating skills, so essential in this domain. And once she establishes her reputation for competence, it gets reflected not only within the organization that she is attached to but on the entire industry.”

How do you / did you believe in making dreams come true?
“Hard work done intelligently, following strategies as per the ethos and vision of your organization and delegation are the routes which one can follow to make dreams come true.”

Challenges faced
“There is always a resistance when you try to venture in a new field.  Initially, I did face some sought of bias but that did not deter me. I have faced and overcome various challenges to achieve my vision. Success never comes instantly; one has to work towards it. I too faced resistance when I entered the industry. I put in my seamless hard work and creativity not only in aesthetics but in management system, pricing, sales and marketing. I started applying strategies so that the systems were ready to face the future.

It made me more headstrong in making a name for myself in the realty sector. Once I started proving myself with my strong sense of business acumen and nuances, I was accepted and applauded as a part of the industry. Facing challenges came easily and I credit this entirely to the value systems inculcated in me during my growing years

Today, women hold prime leadership positions and have proved their mettle in various fields including Real Estate. The realty industry has acknowledged the fact that women are naturally inclined towards this sector as they traditionally are home makers.”