It’s all about making the right choices at the right time: Ameera Shah of Metropolis Healthcare
International Women’s Day is here. Like every year, March 8 will witness a rousing debate on women making a killing at home front and work sphere. However look around and you will find thousands of women who are already creating a niche for themselves quietly and steadily. For these women and their supporters, every day is a Women’s Day.
We salute such women and feature their achievements, opinions, career advice in our ‘Women’s Day 2017’ showcase.
Here we feature Ameera Shah, Promoter and MD at Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, as she shares her entrepreneurial journey.
Leaving the comfort zone of family, friends and country
The journey to the top never happens in the blink of an eye, it is a continuous process which has multiple stepping stones. My first stepping stone was at 17 when I left the comfort zone of family and friends for a different country, the U.S. to pursue education. I chose to pay my way through college through a campus job rather than go to a fancy private school where all my friends were headed to. This was an important phase which built my confidence and also helped me adapt to all kinds of people, cultures and experiences.
Choosing India over US simply for the love of Nation
At 20, I decided to return to India for the love that I felt for my country. I chose to embrace the chaos of India over the comfort that US provided. I was driven then by what Grameen Bank had achieved for women entrepreneurs and Microfinance in Bangladesh. It was a difficult but sure choice thus, to jump into the unknown – the world of entrepreneurship.
At 21, I started building my business, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. The beginning was full of challenges and opportunities. My only goal was to build a strong base and a good corporate identity. There was very little capital and we did not have a team back then. Most people I met then saw me as a young girl of limited value. It was a gradual process from then on, one win at a time that earned the respect of employees and customers. Years of ground work and travelling around the country taught me lessons that I would not get from joining an established company where I would be trained, mentored and protected. My choice was to take the path less travelled.
Getting first round of funding at 25
Most entrepreneurs will know this fact, that one may win or lose battles, but the ultimate war is all that matters. Challenges and problems are a part of an entrepreneur’s life, and they need to excite you and inspire you to solve them. My hurdles as a budding entrepreneur were complex legal agreements and selling my belief as well as credibility to investors. With no previous experience, nevertheless, I did raise my first round of private equity to expand the business inorganically at 25.
Taking complete ownership
At 30, I realised that the company was derailing from its own potential of serving people due to multiple visions from multiple stakeholders. I had to assume complete accountability and take leadership from the front and centre. I believed in myself to go for it, did not stop a moment for self-doubt or the doubts of those around me.
Five years down the line, there was a shareholding conflict that was a drastic pull-back for Metropolis’ growth. This issue was consequential and also threatening; it had to be resolved. I didn’t look back then, but undertook all the legal and financial procedures to create a clear ownership, management and future for the business. I took on a personal debt that was needed to cut the umbilical cord and decided to invest more than I had in my vision for my company, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd.
Integrity, Empathy & Accuracy: Brand Metropolis
Today, at 37 my business is my family of 3700 people across 150 labs and 1200 centres in 6 countries and most importantly my team and I have immense hopes and aspirations for the future. My daily dose of inspiration is our patients who recognize the integrity, accuracy and empathy with which we help them in their time of need.
To sum it all up, at every turning point, I have had choices: One which is scary, chaotic, unknown and anxiety ridden; and the other, which is known and peaceful on the surface but has a gurgling underbelly of discomfort. At every stage, I’ve chosen the path that I believe will give me a new experience; learn more about myself, even if it terrifies me. My choices have given me all this and – my biggest asset self-confidence. Thus, the journey to the top is not a single choice but a series of consequent choices.