I have had the honour of working alongside Mahema for almost a year, and I have to point out that each conversation is inspiring, motivating and a breath of fresh exciting energy into everything we do together! She has a zest for life, loves to learn and asks questions that one merely thinks, but never speaks aloud. There is an underlying passionate ambition, that seems to keep growing. Once I met her with her family, and it was a delight to watch her as a mother and wife – she manages both roles with ease, particularly one of creating a beautiful friendship bond with her daughter. She is a multitasker in life, and has a talent for baking some of the best breads you’ve tasted! She never leaves emails unanswered for more than 12 hours, and time management skills is indeed her forte.
Her life has taken her to many parts of the world, including a few years in Paris, which seems to have influenced her ‘je ne sais quoi’ approach to both skincare, self-care and life. Whilst reading her answers I depict the fine balance she keeps between well-grooming skills and traditional recipes. She is in touch with the new, but also maintains the natural route wherever she can. She takes her me-time religiously and perhaps this is one of the keys to her successful career and I am truly inspired by her approach to living a full life with a brilliant balance between work and play.
Read her inspiring and insightful interview here:
Tell us your relationship with skincare and how it has evolved over time?
At one time concealer was my best friend, blush was an instant way to perk up my skin and that dot of highlighter in the inner corners of my eyes to open them up made all the difference for the 9 AM meetings. All of that has now taken a backseat with skincare and beauty routines taking over, less-is-more makeup and being mindfulness of comfort.
I have learnt to be kinder and gentler to my skin. I am a big fan of “skin influencers” and try to shop for natural products. I was introduced to Nature Therapy last year and is one of my favourites as it feels like family’s at-home skin care concoction just made for me.
Earlier what mattered to me was how much to use or what to use, now all my decisions are centred around me and that’s all that really matters as the focus is back to myself with a conscious decision.
Are there any skincare or wellness tips or rituals that were passed down to you that you methodically follow and now pass on to your daughter?
One of the most important beauty tips I learned from my mom that I have made sure to pass down to Kyra, my daughter, is the importance of having a great clean up no matter what. Never go to bed without cleansing and removing makeup!
I am also reminding Kyra that taking time for herself is NOT selfish. I am trying to instil within her the importance of self-care and to integrate whilst she is busy multi-tasking and doing so much that she must remember to care for herself along with eating right, practicing mindfulness and working out thrice a week.
And of course, some of the beauty secrets I am passing down to her are about helping her find her inner beauty and so I'm on a mission to do activities with her that will both empower, enlighten and recharge her spirit and sense of self.
Do you have a special morning ritual?
Making time for a mindful morning and trying dutifully some of these simple rituals, which facilitates me to create a clear head and an open mind, ensuring my day is full of positive energy and much needed enthusiasm.
Lemon water - Hot lemon water each morning provides a plethora of vitamins and nutrients and my body is so thankful of the same. It has kept up its secret promises and touch wood, Covid has not come even an inch closer to me.
Oil it up - Essential oils and cold pressed oils, especially my favourite Rose Oil by Nature Therapy I use daily post bath for my face as I have discovered it works magically for my skin pigmentation – that mesmerising rose smell which lingers through the day.
Run – A daily run keep me moving and those endorphins pumping! A simple activity alters my entire day’s outlook.
Have your goals changed over time from before motherhood to after?
Being a MOM is like being reborn. After becoming a mom, I have started multi-tasking in ways that I never knew existed. With a family, a full-time job as a hotelier (with a nine to wine timing!) and a passion of being a home baker I need to manage my time very well to be able to do multiple things.
Another thing that has changed is, I have started looking at food in terms of its healthiness quotient.
I have reconnected with myself after becoming a mom. I have started doing things that I loved, starting taking pleasure in little moments in life and have been reintroduced to wonder and magic in my life. For example, I had forgotten my love for plants and flowers and did not have time for baking either. Now having my own space of green and flowers in my balcony, have a shelf full of bakery products surrounded by things I love and enjoy.
I have made multiple new friends (parent friends) who actually widen my horizons as they are from different parts of the world with varying interests.
I have become a better version of myself - much calmer, more peaceful, accepting and much happier than I ever was. I have discovered a ‘new me’ who has loads of patience.
What has been difficult moment for you in this journey? And how would you normally deal with setbacks at work?
There have been times when I was solo Executive Committee lady member in international luxury brands. Gender bias still prevails but I believe what truly matters in the end is what you are delivering.
Setbacks are a normal part of the path to success and my motto is: Acknowledge it. Own it. Feel it.
Change my mindset.
I also spend time to connect with others as I don’t dwell in solitude.
Tell us more about your journey in hospitality sales and marketing
“Every day would feel like a vacation” was my first thought when I first considered a career in the hospitality sector, especially in a beautiful sea facing hotel in Mumbai. I remember walking into the gorgeous lobby of the world-class hotel, The Oberoi Hotel, and wondering what it would be like to actually work there — great atmosphere, great perks!
Back in the days people had misconception that if you do work in a hotel then you’re either a receptionist, doorman or a housekeeping attendant which are all absolutely false assumptions and merely stereotypes.
Being in the Sales & Marketing field, I was eager to start off my career promoting and selling a hotel. The deciding factor mostly had to do with my interest in the trade itself and to avoid a mundane job that I would dread waking up to every day. After some persistence and finishing my studies from a renowned Hotel Management School I landed a position in the Sales & Marketing department and since then there has been no looking back.
For over thirty years, as a Luxury Hotelier and an International Tour Operator (based in Paris, France) I have worked passionately with luxury clients around the world to drive their business and increase their market share through a bespoke combination of international sales, PR and multi-channel communication strategies.
Who or what inspires you in your work?
My parents inspired me all my life. My mother and my elder sister have always supported and motivated me to achieve my goals. A very supportive husband (my backbone) through thick and thin, has walked with me shoulder to shoulder, taught me to see my dreams and inspired me to achieve through endeavour.
They have taught me nothing comes without hard work; believe in hard work and never ever lose hope in your life.
What new goals have you set for yourself to achieve by the end of 2022?
I have set a few realistic goals so I can achieve them. It will take time and loads of patience.
Becoming a change agent - to bring change is to accept change. To achieve this goal, I have taken a deep dive looking into my habits and modifying them regularly to attain what I want because actions speak louder than words.
I want to spend more time taking care of myself – to plan some activities to keep me engaged, energetic, and motivated not only physically, but mentally as well.
I also am looking at activities that are for my soul such as charitable contributions and volunteer work with home care centers, work as a volunteer to get an approach to needy people.
Learning a new skill is a part of list of goals to achieve in 2022 which includes dance classes and quarterly hikes.
#WomenOnTheGo: How do you balance your work and personal life?
Often, work takes precedence over everything else in my life as my desire to succeed professionally can push me to set aside my own well-being. Creating a harmonious work-life balance or work-life integration is critical and there are few things which have worked very well for me -
Accept that there is no 'perfect' work-life balance.
Finding a job that I truly love.
I am not afraid to unplug.
Take a quarterly short breaks / vacation.
Set boundaries and work hours.
What one advice would you give young women who aspire to start their own career in hospitality marketing?
Being a seasoned hospitality professional I truly believe it is a lot of hard work but if you possess positive attitude with a passion to drive there is nothing stopping you. There is a lot of sweat, blood and tears but the joy you get at the end of the day seeing you achieve your goals (both professional or personal) there is no going back. You need to be committed to your work and have a passion that keeps growing and improving to stay self-motivated.
To be successful in the hospitality industry, you must be fully committed to your work.
Adaptable women leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty and can adjust to change, possess great people skills and poise under pressure. Flexible women leaders are ready to tackle any task at hand, including responding to guest demands to complete your team checklist to achieving goals.
Mahema is a sales and marketing consultant in the luxury hospitality sector with over 30 years of experience, including stints at Four Seasons, Leela and currently at Aramness Gir National Park.