Busy in a meaningful way

Saturday, 11 April 2020

As a part of the weekly column, we speak to women of varied professional backgrounds who are members of Sakal Times Platinum Women’s Club.

Ashwini Rane was raised in a close-knit community in a small industrial town in Madhya Pradesh, amidst a lot of love, respect and deep-rooted values. She came to Pune for higher education and eventually settled here. 

“Life has been an interesting rollercoaster ride, and that has made me a person who hopes to do her bit to make this world a better place. I try to do so by helping my daughters be better humans, ensuring my companies do good work that brings happiness to people - either through the homes, we build or the food we make - and by giving back to my community through the foundation I set up in memory of my late husband Nikhil Rane,” says the fierce entrepreneur, adding that the sheer beauty of life inspires her. 

She explains that currently, she is running two different types of companies — Rane Group, a construction company; and Simply Delicious, a bakery. She also runs the Nikhil Rane Foundation, an endeavour that she is proud of. It works in the areas of cultural conservation, education, and environment. Last year, they successfully completed Rangbhan, an 18-month-long Marathi scriptwriting mentorship workshop run in collaboration with Sahitya Rangbhoomi Pratishthan and Maharashtra Cultural Centre.

Rane recalls that after her husband’s demise, the need to survive and take care of her children fuelled her wish to pursue a career. “I wanted them to complete their education without having to worry about financial issues. Over time, as I settled into handling Rane Group, I felt that just working for financial security was not enough. I wanted something that would feed my soul as well as our stomachs,” says Rane, who felt that Simply Delicious was a company that infused people’s celebrations with great food and even better service. “They had been doing that for me ever since they started and last year, I was finally able to join them in doing exactly that,” she adds. 

Rane points out that kindness and faith have been her guiding forces. “I believe that this world can be a much better place if we are kinder to each other and have faith in self, others and the Divine,” she says. 

Prerna Gaikwad was born and brought up in Pune. An all-rounder who loves sports, travel and dogs, she completed her schooling from St Mary’s School. She went on to do Computer Engineering, followed by an MBA in HR and International Business. 

Armed with proper qualifications, Gaikwad is now a corporate trainer who specialises in soft skills and etiquette and is helping young people polish up on their skills and get prepared for the world. 

“In my younger days, I represented Maharashtra in basketball too, so it is safe to say that I took the sport extremely seriously and fared well,” she says. 

Gaikwad is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Pune Riverside, a group based out of Pune comprising the business community. They commit to social causes where each member of the group brings in their strengths and skills to help those in need. 

As an active member of the group, Gaikwad loves helping in whatever way possible. Talking about what keeps her motivated and going ahead, Gaikwad mentions that she believes in avoiding the phrase -- I wish I had. “Believe it or not, not using this phrase keeps me motivated to do more every day,” says Gaikwad. 

She says she has always believed in waking up with determination and going to bed with satisfaction. And her cheer-squad is her family who is ever ready to support her.

Gaikwad adds that she always believed in the fact that integrity and kindness take you a long way in life and so she holds these two high in life. 

On the entrepreneurial front, Gaikwad informs that she will soon be starting a restaurant and an open-air lawn for banquets and events.

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