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Despite women making a mark in every possible walk of life, a woman in her 40s thinking of becoming an entrepreneur looks like a dream. Especially, if she is from a middle-class conservative family, then it is a far-fetched dream. A simple childhood and an early marriage, but the desire to find herself, is what made Jaya Mary establish CJ Konsultants, a brand consulting firm along with her friend and trusted partner Chanakya. A conversation with Jaya fills you with positive energy and makes you look at life with rejuvenated spirit.

Formative years
I studied in a government Telugu medium school and then pursued polytechnic course. My father expected me to excel in anything I took up and he did his very best for me. I couldn’t pursue higher education in a premier institution due to financial constraints. My father always said, “Where there is no door, build one.” These words have been my driving force.

Dutiful daughter
I have seen my father struggling and tried to help him. I funded my fees and books by giving tuitions and taking up part-time jobs while I was in school. I started working when I was 15. My objective is never to depend on anyone, even as I take other’s opinions into account.

Life before and after entering trade world...
My family never allowed me to cross the city limits. It is a surprise that today I travel to different states. I learnt to go around independently after marriage. My husband and daughters helped me overcome fear and inhibition. I wished to be a homemaker, decorating my home, and cooking and serving various cuisines! But circumstances made me come out for work and turned me into an entrepreneur. To support myself financially, I used to conduct training programmes in engineering and MBA colleges. It was a very gratifying experience to find my skills were used in right direction and were adding value to young aspirants.
I look back at those days with great delight and satisfaction. I started my career as a personal secretary, then an administrator and then to HR manager. In my 20 years of career, I worked with reputed firms of beverages, healthcare, IT and non-IT, education and retail.

Strategic consultant
Setting off as an entrepreneur at 40, may not be a great start. But I am very ambitious and zealous. The journey started with a single agenda - Support my family. I had experience, but being an entrepreneur is a different ball game. I was determined and adamant to excel in it. If I set my mind to something, I don’t rest untill I achieve it. My desire is to achieve something remarkable. I love to promote innovative ideas and concepts. I used to watch TV ads and wonder if they could have been handled better. I decided to take it upon myself to make them better. That is what made me opt for branding.

Hurdles and heartburn
Yes, initially, it was very tough. It took four years for me to get this recognition. I was badly mocked, criticised and demoralised by people who told me that I could never do anything on my own, that I didn’t deserve to be an entrepreneur and that I didn’t have a premium education or great looks. One person had the guts to tell me that women can never be successful in this field of business. My communication skills and creative mind were my weapons against my detractors. A client from Delhi gave me a breakthrough. They reposed trust in my abilities. They instilled confidence and conviction in me. That was my stepping stone to go up the ladder. I am eternally indebted to my well-wishers and friends. They have always been my source of inspiration. At last I made up my mind, repeating to myself “I CAN DO IT!”

Monopoly in jewellery branding
CJ Konsultants caters to all categories of brands. But jewellery retail is our forte. This I could accomplish after picking up the right options!

Expanse of work
My past work experience as a trainer and HR made me venture into CJ Konsultants. I have seen that an organisation needs an external force to mentor, train and help its team. Right people at the right place and at the right time- that is what I believe in. Having the right staff makes any organization strong. Thus, in addition to giving branding strategy, we also offer HR consultancy.

CJ Konsultants provides strategies, HR advisory, learning and growth, marketing and branding, CRM, PR, celebrity and brand endorsement, launches, events and social media networking to any firm that wants to step up its trade and revenue.

Sustaining competition
CJ Konsultants is always evolving and is easily adaptable and progressive. We keep upgrading our skills, investing in research. Most importantly, the levels of our commitment and ability to adapt are worth a mention. After all, all failure is a failure to adapt and all success is successful adaptation! Fortunately, my clients recognise and appreciate us as the best consultant for all solutions.

Lessons learned
Don’t stop, keep pushing your limits. Never settle for an average life, strive for excellence. Never exploit anyone. Life begins where comfort zone ends.

Success Mantra
My mantra to success is simple. Retain, maintain and attain.

Beyond work
It was a slow but steady transformation of a simple woman into an entrepreneur. Today, I have the courage and confidence to talk to anyone. But deep down I am still the same. I love to cook different cuisines and expand my palate. I actively participate in all the activities of my church. I love meeting people, sharing experiences and learning from those experiences.
Considering that I am a workaholic, it is rare that I sit idle. Whenever time permits I read. I am a voracious reader.

It means so much to me to help those in need and give back to the community. It is a joy! I love to engage myself in social work and contribute to the common good. I wish to start a home for the aged.

Advise to new entrants

  • Never exploit or manipulate.
  • Be sincere in words and works.
  • Be transparent and trust-worthy.

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