I have met many outstanding women through my travels but two of them really stand out. They are Amrit Matharu and Sangita S. Mani. Amrit is an adventure instructor with the Camp Peach Valley, Rajgarh and Sangita is a naturalist with Taj Safari. Both hold jobs where not too many women have even ventured. I had the pleasure of interacting with them. They are so much fun. So when I think of women in leadership, particularly in the travel context, I think of their stellar work!
Amrit Matharu, Adventure Camp Instructor
I met Amrit Matharu at an adventure camp in Himachal Pradesh. We started talking because we were the only women at the camp! She was so easy to talk to, we initially went into a chit chat about a small trek I did during the day. It was only after a while she told me that she was an adventure camp instructor.
I asked her what prompted her to choose a career like that? It was only then she told me that she was a trained mountaineer. She had successfully completed basic and advance mountaineering courses! About climbing as a career she mentioned that the knack to raise sponsorships was crucial. She is so soft spoken that if she would have not told me, I would never have guessed that in reality she was a tough climber who could walk for miles carrying another person on her back! And I can take a bet that while looking at her picture neither can you guess about her toughness and her profession! I can only imagine how difficult it would be for her to live at a remote location for her job but then she is truly passionate about it.
Sangita S. Mani, Naturalist with Taj Safari
When you went on a jungle safari in India how many times your vehicle was driven by a woman? For me the number stands at zero. I have never had a woman guide as well. But I had the luck to meet Sangita S. Mani who is a naturalist with Taj Safari. I met her at Baghvan, Pench. She was not the one who took me to the jungle but I got to have a dinner with her one night. I asked her how she got into this profession to which she said she actually worked in the corporate sector for a long time. But she gradually grew dissatisfied with it and wanted to go to the jungle!
She applied to Taj Safari but initially she did not hear back from them. In the meanwhile she connected with Ratna Singh another woman naturalist at Taj (whom I did not meet as she was at another camp) on Linkedin and that opened the door for her as well. She obviously loves her job and has no regrets leaving her corporate career. I saw her driving the jeep in Pench and she was so comfortable in her role!
As I said I have met many inspiring woman through my travels, some of them head hotels, some of them run their own PR agencies and do many other wonderful things but these two women choose careers that were so off the beaten track that I truly consider them leaders!