Sonika Shah

“I wasn’t born to follow and I was born to lead, but I’m certain, I was born to fight my way through life and win.”

Sonika ShahI have grown believing in the above saying.

Even though I was born and brought up in a traditional Jain family in Mumbai, I was blessed to have broadminded parents who nurtured me to be a confident child and helped me develop various aspects of my creative side. They encouraged me to be independent, ambitious and gave me the freedom to choose my career. Not only this, they granted me my wish to earn and bear my marriage expenses. Thus, my journey started towards becoming a modern 21st century girl.

Having the freedom to choose from a wide variety of career, I ended up trying my hand at various fields like a counselor& trainer in Oracle, Magic & FoxPro to a leading software training institute – DataPro, worked on SAP as a Database manager (youngest) in Siemens, worked as a project coordinator for a renowned advertising agency – Aim Advertising in Mumbai (youngest heading a team of 5) & an art curator and dealer (for the first online art gallery), and an international tour manager for Thomas Cook. Thus, having the benefit of exposure of working in various industries and handling a variety of job profiles.

After marrying a liked minded, ambitious businessman – Sanjog, I settled in Pune. Initially, I assisted him in his business and continued working as an art curator and dealer. Pune was then booming as an IT hub and I take a pride in saying that I have provided paintings to nearly 40% of the IT companies in Hinjewadi.

Life was treating me well and I feeling was on top of the world when we were blessed with two beautiful daughters and this lead to a break on my carrier. I become a full-time mother, an equally satisfying job with a huge sense of fulfillment.

This was the time I realized that I enjoyed every job profile and also excelled in it. I always wanted to grab a new opportunity. Then it struck me that I was so passionate and ambitious with my work that I lost the track as to what I really wanted to do. Madness to excel was always there. I liked pushing myself and taking challenges in my stride.

I wanted the best of all the jobs, yet wanted the freedom to work as per my will and the opportunity to influence people.

I found my calling in the summer of 2006 when I visited my sister-in-law in New York, who holds general posts in UNICEF as (educationist) consultant & advised me to start a finishing school in India. At the same time, she was slightly hesitant about Indian market as it was a very fresh initiative and absolute new idea for most of the Indians. I pondered over her suggestion and got myself an introduction to the Image Industry. There were many courses (nothing in India then), but it was not feasible to study abroad, leaving my family. The more I started knowing about it the more excited I was becoming to do it. I decided whenever possible I will take this as a profession.

I started looking out for an authentic Institute in India where I could learn the scientific and technical way to implement the effects and proven theories in order to be a master in this profession and that’s when ICBI started the Image Management Program and I grabbed the opportunity.

The processing of learning Image consulting was one of the finest in recent times, which not only gave me the in-depth knowledge about different individuals and the whole industry at large. The immense learning, the vast experience I had, the various transitions I went through and the exposure to the variety of cultures & countries gave me an insight about my abilities, my strengths and my opportunity to lead and influence people.

As they say, rest is history. I started Brand & Image Studio where I started transforming lives.

Every client was unique and every solution was challenging. And as rightly said “I’m not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance.”

Reaching to as many people as possible I want to assist them in achieving their roles & goals and making a positive difference in their lives.

Soon I was catering to a wide bouquet of clients from Chairman of Big Constriction house having a net worth more than 10,000/- CR, to Chairman of a bank, an industrialist abroad, few aspiring officers in the Air force, soon-to-wed girl and many more. It was immensely satisfying when I see the super positive change in my clients and their progress that inspire and touch me & his staff on various image building & soft skill aspects, general & social etiquette for school children, professionals traveling the road, few aspiring officers in the Air force, soon-to-wed girl and many more. It was immensely satisfying when I see the super positive change in my clients and their progress that inspire and touch me.

I want all my clients to feel – “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

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Suman Agarwal, Director, ICBI and the senior most Image Consultant in Indian Sub-continent talking about Image Consulting as a career