Smita Tharoor

Monday 06th October 2014 15:42 EDT

1) What is your current position?
Founder/Director of Tharoor Associates. At Tharoor Associates, we work in creative partnership with leaders in companies, government bodies and non-profit organisations to help them build and lead high-performing teams. We are a small group of experienced professionals who bring our expertise in Training, Coaching and Organisational Development to help you achieve specific goals for your organisation. What sets us apart is our unique approach based on the unconscious bias, NLP, story-telling and power of the narrative
2) What are your proudest achievements?
Bringing up my three sons, aged 24, 22 and 16. They are the future and I’m proud to say that I continue to learn from them and grow with them. I work with MBA students( tomorrow’s leaders) as well as senior executives in corporate and public sector organisations. I work in India and the UK and yet there is nothing more challenging than working with your own children and setting them on their own personal path of discovery
3) What inspires you?
Honesty, Fairness, learning from things I face in my daily life, not taking anything for granted, continuing to be excited about the world around me.
4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career?
Obstacles are excuses. Every career is cyclical, as is life. We have ups and downs and it’s how we deal with the downs that will result in the ups.
5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
My husband, Seamus Murphy who believed in me and supported me in my decision to start my own company at a time the country was in recession.
6)   What is the best aspect about your current role?
To provide training/coaching that genuinely makes a difference to someone in their path to self development and growth. To meet new people at every course who challenge me and from whom I am constantly learning. To be able to work both in the UK and India. To create a culture that facilitates personal change and help people understand how their roles and processes affect others inside and outside the organisation.
7) And the worst?
No guarantee of salary – then again, no shortage of motivation!
8) What are your long term goals?
I feel very strongly about the Unconscious Bias. Being clear about who you are and what you want allows you to be yourself and will help you get what you want. Otherwise, you will never get beyond obstacles that are most often created by yourself. My ethos is to empower the learner to understand themselves better.
At Tharoor Associates we understand the importance of stories - both personal and corporate - and their role in defining an organisation's identity and practices. Harnessing the power of your story, we help you become more self aware and in tune with the unique capacities and potential of your organisation. This in turn allows you to make positive and dynamic changes, communicate your goals and mission and tap into the deep well potential of you and your employees.
I would love to see more organisations have a culture that supports all employees become more aware of their Unconscious Bias. This will help the growth of an organisation immeasurably.
9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
The education system with regard to a foreign language. All children should compulsorily learn two modern foreign languages until Year 9 and then choose one of them for GCSE. I went to an English Medium School, Loreto House(  run by Irish Catholic nuns) in Calcutta and had to study Bengali and Hindi until Year 9 with Hindi for the final ICSE. Speaking only one language is a disadvantage in today’s world, and deprives you of so many other experiences.
10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?
I would love a few weeks break on this wonderful desert island. But soon I would yearn for my friends and family and all the things a city like London offers. So my wish would be to be marooned with the well-known Arab navigator Ahmad ibn Mājid. He was born in 1421 and it is said he assisted Vasco da Gama to find his way from Africa to India.  He was also a thinker, poet and writer. While we have philosophical conversations, we would build a raft that he would navigate to get us back to the world of people and ideas. The world where an Arab helped a Christian to achieve his ambition is the world I want to live in.

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