A fine example of dynamic leadership: Black Turtle’s Shradha Kapoor
Shradha Kapoor has never believed in societal boundaries restricting her or holding back her sense of ambition. Whether it was pursuing chartered accountancy back in a time when it was not as easy for women as it is today, or bringing to life her entrepreneurial venture- Black Turtle. Shradha, who had a keen eye for market and industry trends, noticed that there was a market gap in the recruitment industry. Approximately 15 years ago, the rise in globalization brought about an opportunity that went unnoticed by many. When most multinational corporations were expanding to India, Shradha realized that there was no specialized firm catering to their executive human resource needs. Black Turtle came into existence with the goal to establish a brand that speaks for itself. Till date, Black Turtle has not invested any money in marketing or sales and has established a network of clients solely through referrals, and the quality of their work. Thanks to her approach and the judicious group of people she was being backed by, Shradha Kapoor, the founder and CEO etched her name in the entrepreneurial world.
The editorial team of The CEO magazine spoke to Shradha about her experience as a woman entrepreneur.
While everyone likes to discuss change, at Black Turtle (BT) we embrace and embody change. The essence of our company’s culture is to constantly evolve and reach new horizons. We keep exploring new ways of delivering solutions to our clients and integrating technology in these solutions. For instance, BT is on track to ensuring that Machine Learning and AI is at the heart of everything we do. We have a database of over a million candidates who we stay in touch with and personally know. BT aims to streamline the recruitment process and make it easier to interact with interested candidates with sole aim of continuing to outperform client expectations through Supervised Machine Learning. Even though a majority of BT’s team members are from a non-technology background, we take it upon ourselves to convey to them the essence and importance of incorporating technology in this rapidly developing world. Moreover, an integral part of our values includes constant learning and improving. To ensure this I sit with each of my employees one on one as I believe this investment in the form of time goes a long way for most of their lifelong careers. Our USP is a thorough understanding of the client business model & vision and strategizing the search to realize common goals of the organization and the job seeker. Today’s era of increasing internet penetration, e-commerce, social media, and smartphones is tech-savvy, deeply networked, and collaborative and all ventures have a strong internet flavor. Entrepreneurship in these times is much more exciting and challenging. The world is seeing bigger and bolder ideas; startups with disruptive potential are scaling up rapidly. Adapting innovative practices, bringing in efficiency in all forms. Over the years, however, one and only one thing has been imperative for a business to succeed: building and nurturing the right talent in the organization. At BT, we hire the right talent and nurture them who in turn help our clients and candidates both meet their needs. It is undoubtedly the most rewarding part of being in business, watching the BT team grow exponentially, both in terms of size and capability.
Journey and Obstacles
I personally don’t see setbacks as obstacles, but rather as stepping stones and lessons. At Black Turtle sincerely maintaining quality and never compromising on ethics and fair play is the primary task. We consciously kept a check on its growth story by adhering to strict quality and service level guidelines. I remember my first ever business meeting with a leading private sector bank, the numbers were big. They were looking for new entrants just like BT. We did several things right and managed to make a mark for ourselves in a very competitive market. It wasn’t easy to work in an era where there were serious challenges in web connectivity & mobile connectivity. Job seekers were only available post business hours and checking emails every now and then was not possible, smartphones were unheard of. Nevertheless, there was always room for those who took their commitments seriously. I believe there are many ‘unicorns’ at the global level and in India. Most of these are associated with technology and have been incubated and managed by males. I think the time has come perhaps to use this term in the recruitment space and for once not started by a male.
The biggest challenges
The biggest challenges that I dial each day include keeping the team motivated at all times and ensuring that their work is exciting too apart from being financially rewarding and inculcating a strong sense of responsibility and integrity.
How do you deal with shifting generational values-your view on youngsters?
One should approach each day with an open mind. Our society must give youngsters enough room to explore, push limits and work independently.
What drives you? Is it growth, need to be self reliant or not letting down your clients?
I think it started many years ago with the need to be self reliant and now has transformed into ensuring client satisfaction, keeping the team happy and enthused while doing so.
What do you look for while hiring?
We always look for smart people with the right attitude. Everything else can be taught.
I hope to replicate Black Turtle’s success in India on a global level. A few years ago we took some initial steps to begin operations in Singapore and New York. While our base in India is quite strong, we want to take up the challenge of building on and managing a new frontier. This will not just open new avenues of growth for Black Turtle but will help the firm do better in India as well. Black Turtle today is one of the largest search firms in the country. Our aim is to better whatever it has achieved till now, be it service to clients or the well being of our employees. I strongly believe that if one takes care of these two aspects, the rest will be taken care of automatically and will fall into place. Continuously engaging with clients to understand the pain areas and addressing the same and training the team to be ready for the next challenge is part of our daily agenda. I visualize BT being the most preferred partner for the aforementioned two prominent features.
Entrepreneurs are truly the biggest catalysts in an economy’s growth story. Whether it is by creating jobs or contributing to the improvement of various key goals such as GDP, the standard of living or skills, they play a crucial role in shaping the economy. Women should be encouraged to nurture entrepreneurial qualities such as the need for achievement, risk-taking abilities, self-confidence, and creative and innovative thought process. Whatever I have achieved has been a natural outcome of hard work, persistence, confidence, and believing that pursuing excellence will eventually lead to success. I always created my own boundaries and never doubted my abilities especially in relation to my gender and surrounded myself with people who propelled me further. For women as entrepreneurs or any role, need to first believe they are par with their male counterparts and never allow society to confine them to any role. Achieving this self-confidence is the most vital step to creating your independent identity. My advice for all the young talented men and women out there is to build your brand, embrace change, use technology as an enabling disruptor and most importantly follow your gut.