Interview with Meena Chandavarkar!


In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

This is our interview with Meena Chandavarkar- Ex-Principal, Abhinav Vidyalaya English Medium Pre-Primary School and later Superintendent of Abhinav Vidyalaya Pre- Primary, Primary and High School until 2003.

Having finished her primary education in a One Teacher Village school in Konkan and later on graduation in Kolhapur and Pune (Meena Teacher as she is fondly addressed) she is happy to call herself “GHATI Konkani!!” a mix of adventure and affection.

After having a long seven year stint at Hindustan Lever Ltd, Times of India and IBM World Trade Corporation, she found her true vocation with Young Children at the behest of Mrs Rajini Date who invited her to Abhinava Vidyalaya English Medium Pre Primary School.

Meenatai joined the preschool in 1973 and held on to it steadfastly and with all her mind and soul mainly because of her innate love for children.

Tatyasaheb (K B Virkar) the president of Adarsh Shikshan Mandali inspired her with his love for language and work culture. He is the first Maharashtrian to open an English Medium School in Western Pune. He was the first person to write both English into Marathi and Marathi into English Dictionary.

Meenatai, a pioneer of many new ideas and concepts in child education says “Learning through love has now become her philosophy in Education and her life as well!”


CB5: Meenatai … Thank you for giving us this time for an interview…

We are sure that our readers will enjoy reading about your experiences as a Teacher and Pioneer in the field of Education..

Can you tell us how you came into this profession of teaching and education after working for corporates in Mumbai?                                                                                    

Meenatai: Well…All those lovely jobs were really in search of decent earnings due to financial constraints and responsibilities. In fact I have been at it in small ways (tuitions, small jobs etc.) since my age of 18.

And like most, lower middle class people in those years (1955 onwards), I took pride in helping the family. I got my first proper job at Hindustan Lever (HUL), in Market Research that I did for about 2.5 years. After that I joined Times of India (TOI) and IBM followed. These years I enjoyed working and grew in maturity with responsibility while being happy at the same time.

CB5: But in TOI were you involved with Journalism?

Meenatai: I did some bit of journalism. People were trained on the job. In those days there were no journalism colleges (1960-61). But I was not the reporter, I worked in the information bureau, interestingly Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi was our boss! He told us a lot about Gandhiji. I also wrote the ladies and children’s page with Navbharat times. And occasionally contributed to Dharmayog- a Hindi weekly.  I had the good fortune to interview Smt Vijayalakshmi Pandit and Maharani Gayatri Devi. 

It was a lot of fun and hard work which later made it easy for me to work in Abhinav Vidyalaya for over 13hrs a day.

CB5: You are known as a Pioneer in the field of Child Education….Can you tell us about some of the initiatives introduced by you in Abhinav Vidyalaya and New India School (2003-12)?

Meenatai: I guess things happened to me. The basic reasons are because some things came to my mind to start with, due to the unconditional love I had for my students. Another and extremely important reason is ALL teachers I worked with, Tai’s, Dada’s and my seniors accepted me absolutely wholeheartedly. Their contribution to all these programs, initiatives happened due to the loving (and often due to the logic and reason) and understanding, bonding and trust we had amongst us. One other reason I dare say is that I am instinctive and highly perceptive person. The other BIG reason is “MY” school where I studied 5th -11th in Kolhapur, which gave me many lessons for life. Abhinav and New India School where I worked are “OUR” schools. I never indulge in mentioning My school, My teachers and My children. They are always OUR school, Our teachers and Our children… because the onus of ownership in any school lies upon the TEAM – “All for One and One for All” is also something that we believed in. Further, my corporate experience contributed in acceptance from all.


I must also mention that almost each initiative and program that we engaged in had a solid basic driving principle behind it. Maybe I chanced upon it after it’s rolling in well and proper! Therefore I mentioned that I play a little more by instinct than intellect.

Let me enumerate the programs and the principles behind which were also at times for sheer joy and fun. And all of us at Abhinav Vidyalaya and New India School think that creating joy, fun, laughter and wholesome entertainment is one of the most important facets to engage in education.

Also let me clarify one thing, people often say that I undertake a lot of experiments….

No please! Please NO!

Because of the kind of love I have for kids, I kept on getting different ideas, but I have never experimented on kids. I never treated them as guinea pigs.

We have always discussed and brainstormed in our TEAM at length, any new concept /idea that we decided to implement.

We enter into any new initiative, with thorough planning and forethought and of course with butterflies in our bellies!

The following are the various initiatives that we pioneered!

  • No donations
  • No Interviews for students until STD 2
  • Earlier the parents were interviewed but now the Parents interview the Teachers and the Principal in an effort to find out whether the teachers in the school know about the 3-5 year olds, their psychology and their problems. PTA members are present to watch the process of admission.
  • No competition, exams, ranks or numbers in Preschool and Kindergarten.
  • First Day of child in school is a great experience with a lot of fun, flowers, cultural programs and mother/grandmother sitting inside the classroom until the child is used to surroundings and people. No trauma of an unknown place and/or person.
  • To enhance the experiences and creativity the children are patiently and lovingly introduced without force to a broad spectrum of activities including – Art, Drawing, Colouring, Sports, Puzzles, Blocks, Dramatics etc.  In fact we believe that children are born with all these talents, Teachers have to be the facilitators to make children feel free to experiment with these.
  • Freely conducted unbiased PTA meetings, workshops and games with the parent community- encouraging cross learning.
  • Grandparent visits to pre-school. All 4 Sambandhis meet on this occasion at the school to watch their grandchild’s gimmicks and engagement in the school activities. This also impacts family integration apart from learning, respecting and helping the seniors at home, on the streets etc…
  • Tai-Dada Day.
  • Every child to participate in Annual Day on Stage. Also no speeches/guest lecturers or prize distribution on Annual Day.
  • Lectures from eminent persons for students class wise.
  • Mind and Body development training including Sex education from 5th STD onward.
  • Senior KG sendoff for STD 10th students to bond between senior and young students
  • Dolls wedding
  • Celebrating various diverse Festivals and National occasions. Greeting Cards for Mothers & Teachers on Guru Pournima day
  • Performance from famous and well known artists, musicians and dancers to inspire and encourage such pursuits.
  • Similarly informative talks from Medical and other professions to expose our children to variety of possibilities in their later life.
  • Tabla (percussion) training by masters
  • Mensa workshops for Gifted Students from Std 5th, 6th & 7th.
  • We used to teach shapes to children in their K.G. It is because very young children have a great capability to remember shapes. We also know how 8-10 year olds are able to solve the Rubik’s cube faster than adults
  • I am a person who worries about OUR Nation, Patriotism and such related ideas and I have always wanted our children to be aware of this. We always have a MAP of India in all our classes.
  • We also made children from Sr. K.G recite 1-10 numbers in various languages. In that class they have a good concept of number up to 10. Apart from such programs, our school made conscious effort, that we had mother’s name in our registers. We would also write girl’s name first on the catalog followed by boys names. Most schools despite having many women teachers , write boy’s name first.
  • You will find that all our teachers and students say “PLEASE”, “THANK YOU”, “MAY I”, “SORRY” whenever occasion rose. Language is the vehicle of your thoughts. If you use the words often, the meaning follows and you think the thoughts genuinely.


CB5: Wow! Meenatai, your experiences coupled with your energy and lots of new, well thought out initiatives! Must have been a task to roll them out? Where did you find the support?

Meenatai: I had colleagues who were very supportive throughout and enthusiastic about everything we were planning to do. No one ever resisted me. I give them full credit of whatever success I have achieved; one person can run a factory but not a school. I am very grateful to them. Even Tatya Saheb never questioned anything I suggested.

Here is one anecdote of our Team work…

Once, a Principal of another school came to meet me. All our teachers were covering books, some 400 books were to be covered. She was surprised to see and commented about it. So I told her that I am here because you have come to meet me. Otherwise I was also with the teachers covering books!

CB5: You were completely dedicated to the school. What were the sacrifices you had to make?

Meenatai: I did miss out looking after my family, specially my son, and I do feel bad about it now. I now feel that I could have given him more time!

CB5: What would you say are your Success factors?

Meenatai: People around me have to be happy, anyone – my colleagues boss or anyone who meets me shouldn’t feel – “Oh why did I see this women today!” They should always feel – “Oh I am so happy I met Meena today”.

Happiness is success.

Respect for others… first for children.

Equality – believe and practice in equality.

All of us make mistakes…learn from them.

Must not hurt others and try to understand others perspective.

CB5: And Meenatai can you share with us some of the achievements that you cherish?

Meenatai: Happy students of Abhinav and New India schools.

The biggest encouragement and support came from the unconditional love children and parents offer me even today.

The “Meena Teacher! Meena Teacher!” chants of all the little children as I arrived in school moves me to tears even now as it did with onlookers and parents.

This is my greatest reward, award, achievement, success, happiness and fulfillment!

CB5: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Meenatai: “All for one and one for all” is my favorite line.

Try and have Affection for everyone around you

“Learning through love” is our motto in New India School and my life philosophy.

But more than students I would give advice to teachers don’t yell, don’t hit the students and don’t talk rudely to them. If you want to touch a child, do it with love.

Remember how much your own children and your students have FORGIVEN you. Learn it from them.

CB5: Meenatai…As always listening and talking with you is not only enriching it is inspiring!

We are sure that our readers will enjoy reading about your experiences and choices and some of them will be motivated to choose a career as a Teacher and Educator!

We Thank you deeply for the interview and sharing so openly with us and our readers!

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You





Interview with Sonali Damle!

Sonali Damle-CB5

In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

This interview is with Sonali Damle – Management Consultant, Director Bain Capability Center.

Sonali has an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School; Master of Science from Washington University, Bachelor of Architecture from Pune.

She is highly qualified with a rich and varied experience in the industry in the US and India.

Straddling between Strategic thinking and Detail orientation, Thinking out of the box, Strong Goal Orientation and Vision have been key to her success.

Sonali studied Architecture up to the Master’s degree and practiced the profession before choosing to move to Business and then to Business Administration.

We believe that this interview will be insightful, motivating and will give direction to people who are trying to make Career Choices or switch to a different career!

Read on to find what she has to share about her earlier and current profession….

CB5: Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

Sonali: I have over 15 years’ experience in the offshoring industry as a consultant focused on banking process offshoring; an entrepreneur through a start-up in New York in the data and information mapping space and most recently as a business leader with Bain.

Currently, as Director, Bain Capability Center, I am responsible for spearheading “Centers of Expertise” that could augment the standard consulting lifecycle. As part of this role, I have the overall responsibility for the Bain Capability Center (BCC) which is based in India.

CB5: Your formal education and your professional career have different tracks…How did you decide on the line for the formal education? What made you select this line of study?

Sonali: When I was in my XI standard we were visiting our family friend who was a “Brick and Mortar” Architect. I was impressed and inspired by the potential to build “castles” as a young girl and so decided to become a student of Architecture in Pune where I graduated summa cum laude and went on to pursue a Masters Degree in the US.

Thereafter, I got an opportunity to work at the National University of Singapore and soon realized that it was really the virtual world that interested me more. I moved back to the US and set up my own business in Computer Graphics in the US. In the late 90s developing intelligence systems for construction was unique. It was new and fascinating. It was also intellectually rewarding due to the unique combination of Design and Math in ways that engaged both the right and left brain.

My husband and I ran the business for 3 years and realized that a Formal Business Education and Network was necessary to scale a business. I decided to go back to school for an MBA at the Wharton Business School.

CB5: When and How did you get into your current area of work? What were/are your motivators? What made you change your career path as defined by your formal education?

Sonali: The move from Architecture was part circumstance and part a realization of a keen interest in understanding business. In 1999, I co-founded Intercorp Inc. in New York. This was a great opportunity to combine my education and interest. The company was primarily focused on geospatial mapping of the survey and aerial photography data to inform construction at major infrastructure hubs such as ports.

I exited the company with a sale to an engineering firm to get an MBA and broaden my business skills.

Consulting came as a natural next step, as it is a field that exposes you to work in the most nebulous questions for a business and has fast track learning and exposure across many different industries. This exposure also comes with great responsibility and impact. A consultant’s advice can influence the direction that companies take and can have a long-lasting impact on the overall business and industry. That is both, highly energizing as well as challenging. The variety of experience across industries, geographies, and capabilities develops acute business acumen. It attracts the smartest minds who have the ability to synthesize multi-dimensional issues through intellectual curiosity, analytical rigor, creativity, and practicality. Working with such people is rewarding on many levels.


CB5: What do you enjoy most about your current profession?

Sonali: People: Motivated, hardworking and smart colleagues with a  passion for solving problems and an amazing ‘can do attitude’ .. what more could one ask for. You are challenged everyday to be a better version of yourself!

Opportunity to innovate, be entrepreneurial and create broad and lasting influence in the consulting industry based on understanding a deep customer need and solving for it

Intellectual fulfillment: cracking diverse set of questions, exposure to different industries, analytical outlook backed by facts and data

From thinking about which country a cement manufacturer should expand in,  to what the customer preference for a particular brand of say a gaming console – Xbox, Nintendo could be or is it “back to the desktop” – a trend we have going on now —  there’s never a dull moment!

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements about your personality help in this success?

Sonali: Straddling between Strategic thinking and detail orientation;  Ability to envision out of the box solutions to problems while ensuring implementation; Strong goal orientation; Vision; Hard work.

CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

Sonali: I was the Gold Medalist for BArch, Pune University;

I completed a 2 year Masters program in 1 year;

Starting a Business at a young age;

Successfully balancing work and home;

Currently, I have the big role and responsibility of nurturing the next generation and at the same time upholding world standards.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Sonali: Undivided attention and stress-free time with family.

Sonali Family-CB5

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

Sonali: Be honest about why you want in a particular career. Find what you will enjoy doing even when things are not going well. Research your options by talking to people from those professions, asking them what a day in their life looks like; what is the hardest part of their job. What companies you will work with etc. if you chose a particular profession. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes and know what you are getting into to see if it fits with your idea of an ideal career choice.

Be willing to roll up your sleeves to get into new things; go deep and work hard

Beyond baseline capability, if you are a self-starter; can work with ambiguity; like “figuring things out” and are a motivated person, that is what will make you successful in this changing world.

CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

Sonali: Work hard, Stay motivated, Ask questions, along with IQ and EQ, CQ- Curiosity Quotient is very important. Don’t forget to Have fun!

CB5: Thank you so much for giving us your valuable time. We really appreciate it. We are sure our readers will be inspired and successful in their careers after reading about successful people like yourself!

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You



PART – II ANALYSIS using Five Factor Model

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Let us study the Personality of the three characters in this movie which may answer the Q posed…

Using the Five Factor Model Scales C-A-N-O-E


Miranda Priestly, the ever demanding and unsatisfied boss. She is known as much for her icy demeanor, as for her outstanding power within the fashion world.

Miranda the BOSS clearly demonstrates the following TRAITS

– Highly Goal Focused (High on the C-Conscientiousness scale)

  • High Achiever
  • Highly Organised, Driven/Motivated, Perfectionist and detail-oriented

A – An extreme Challenger (Low on Agreeableness scale)

  • My way or High Way – Rigid, Opinionated and Arrogant
  • Very low modesty (high Pride), Self-needs always a priority

N – Cool, Calm and Resilient (Low on the N-Negative Emotionality scale)

  • Calculating, Forthright, Confident but rare show of anger, very collected and in control of emotions

O – Appears to have varied interests (High on the Openness scale)

  •   Scheming, Has complex strategies, creative

E – Appears to be Ambiverted (Middle of the Extraverted scale)

  •    Appears comfortable in doing things alone and in large gatherings

Emily Charlton the always wanting to please Secretary

Her primary trait characteristic demonstrated is right sided Accommodation – Servile, but having self-needs


Andrea, the doe eyed diminutive and submissive newcomer who eventually makes her own choices!

C – Goal Focused (High on the C-Conscientiousness scale)

  • High achiever but flexible
  • Highly Driven/Motivated, somewhat Organised with a need for Perfection and detail and comfortable with some degree of multitasking

A – A centric trait of how can I create a Win-Win (Middle on Agreeableness scale)

  • More modest, Has a continuous need to serve especially her Boss

N – Has some nervous edge (Middle to right on the N-Negative Emotionality scale)

O – Appears to have varied interests (High on the Openness scale)

  • Likes complexity, creates strategies to cope with the challenges, is creative and is an explorer

E – Appears to be more Extraverted than her boss (High on the Extraverted scale)

  • Appears comfortable in doing things with others most of the time.

AS we paint a Personality Picture of the three characters, we can clearly see the needs of the BOSS and

The movie is all about the struggles that people around Miranda have with the demands that she continuously makes…

Is there a solution?

Well clearly not…. Miranda will continue to achieve success with her personality, she will be demanding and will get her way – this way or that…. With the single minded Achievement Motivation. Very few Relationships matter to her…

In the end, one almost sees her respecting Andrea as she decides to go in her own career direction after delivering on ALL the demands made by Miranda.

Challengers may find other Challengers adversaries and will do everything to win BUT will also have the most respect for the other Challenger!



Why does my boss Challenge me all the time?

3 Devil wears Prada1

Have you seen the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”?

If not please do…

and then let us explore the above Question!

Below are a few links narrating and summarizing the movie and behaviors and episodes between

Miranda Priestly, the ever demanding and unsatisfied boss. She is known as much for her icy demeanor, as for her outstanding power within the fashion world.


Emily Charlton the always wanting to please secretary and

Andrea, the doe eyed diminutive and submissive newcomer who eventually makes her own choices!

14 Life Lessons from Devil Wears Prada!!!

Let us explore the Personality of the BOSS

Personality of Emily and

Personality of Andrea ….

What do we find ????

Keep a look out for our next blog exploring the Personality of the BOSS!

Follow us for many different case studies and Interviews!



High Detail Oriented Manager!!!


How Personality Similarities / Differences affect relationship – AT WORK or OUTSIDE?

Mr. Katekor is the supervisor of a Production Line in an Automobile Company!

As his name suggests nothing escapes him. Every detail every fine element is noticed by him…

Further, he is a black belt trainer in Kaizen and 6Sigma process methodologies.

Can we imagine what his subordinates think of him?

A few adjectives/nouns, comments used to name him are  –

“Microscope”, Give him a needle in a Haystack and he will find it!

Oh, God… One more review with him

And then there are some smart cookies who simply upward delegate….

“Sir… what do you think we should do to improve the quality of this component?”

His team is always pressured and feel that they are always being watched. Mr. Katekor does not tolerate any slippages and he publicly gives feedback on mistakes (even minute ones).

He is always putting his team members down.

However, his bosses are very happy with Mr. Katekor! And they don’t want to let him move from being the Line in-charge!

Mr. Katekor has aspirations and wants to grow in the organization!

How can he move up the ladder? Can he find someone to take over his responsibilities – His need for Detail and High Perfection are his STRENGTH or DEAD WEIGHT??

What advice can we give Mr. Katekor?

Please share any such similar experiences you may have come across.

FOLLOW US for many different Case Studies and Interviews!

Check out the CB5 JODI Report and identify areas of alignment and conflict between two people.

Also, check out other Shakti Reports like Manager Shakti and Leader Shakti.



Challenges of Working Together


How Personality Similarities / Differences affect relationship – AT WORK or OUTSIDE?

In continuation to the previous case study…

What IF – A highly skilled but disorganized Doctor has to work with a very organized assistant / Nurse?

Dr. Scalpe is a renowned surgeon with over 20 years of practice. His skills are amazing and is globally known for his surgical abilities. He is also well known as a developer of newer techniques.

And he is always assisted by Nurse Perfect.

Before any surgery Nurse Perfect ensures that all the paperwork is complete, all the SOPs are double checked in the prep for the Operation Theatre. The instruments are well ordered and laid out. The Anaesthetist is reminded and case papers sent to all in the team. If Consultant doctors are required they are always pre notified to be on call. Radiologists, Path labs, Hospital admin are all in synchronicity when Nurse Perfect is in control of the Operation Theatre.PreOp is always clockwork with Nurse Perfect around.

She is so thoroughly proactive and planful that every small detail is always thought out proactively by her and her team of OT nurses.

Many of Dr. Scalpe’s peers credit Nurse Perfect for his reputation and success.

Dr. Scalpe, on the other hand, is purely focussed on his medical skills. He is oblivious to all the support that Nurse Perfect gives him.

Dr. Scalpe repeatedly scatters papers, is very cluttered and very spontaneous and moody…

Not only is he personally disorganized, he creates ambiguity and surprises by the minute.

Creating disharmony and constant pressure on Nurse Perfect.

She is always on tenterhook to manage these “mood based tantrums” of Dr. Scalpe!

Nurse Perfect always tries to discipline Dr. Scalpe and has only been unsuccessful.

And the more she tries the more he rebels!

She is at her wits end and is constantly wondering if there is ANY way to remedy this situation?


What are the tugs and pulls likely if a highly skilled but disorganized Doctor has to work with a very organized assistant / Nurse?

Please share any such similar experiences you may have come across.

FOLLOW US for many different Case Studies and Interviews!

Check out the CB5 JODI Report and identify areas of alignment and conflict between two people.



Challenges of Working Together!

How Personality Similarities / Differences affect relationship – AT WORK or OUTSIDE?


CASE STUDY 1: Dr. Orderly and Ms. Jenny

(Organised v/s less or disorganized)

Dr. Orderly is an Oncologist who loves to keep everything in order. His work desk is absolutely spick and span.

When a patient visits him, he expects a folder to be presented to him with the filing done perfectly.

His usual routine is to read the notes, pull out the pencil from his pocket (which is placed 2nd in order next to the Cross Gold pen) with a flair, circle the details of the patient and write down his comments next to the report data.

He has a structure to his conversation with the patient and at the end of the meeting, he has a specific place to write down the advice, referrals, tests and also likes to fix the next appointment.

Dr. O takes great pride in sharing that he has personally designed the format of the document (SOAP notes) for his OPD patients.

He is so meticulous and orderly that he immediately knows when Asst. Jenny (his skilled but somewhat tardy assistant) has touched his table. Either his paperweight has been moved, or the angle of the mouse or keyboard that he uses has been disturbed!

Asst Jenny is very experienced and learned. She has a wonderful temperament, which soothes and calms patients visiting Dr. O. Her first contact with the patient almost is magical and many patients look forward to the visit to Dr. O to be able to see Asst Jenny.

Unfortunately, Asst Jenny and Dr. Orderly have a standard daily spat! Dr.Orderly will want the Folders to be kept ready for him in a particular manner, with papers filed perfectly as desired by him and every day there is something amiss!

Sometimes the Paper has not been aligned when the filing was done (misaligned punch holes) to papers not stapled etc etc.. to more serious themes – wrong papers in the wrong file!!

Dr. Orderly yesterday was completely upset because one of the pages of the blood tests was missing from a patient’s file. It was subsequently found in the next patient’s folder!

Is there any way to remedy this situation? Should Dr. Orderly tolerate Asst Jenny?

Can he change her?


What are the tugs and pulls likely if a highly Organised doctor has to work with a disorganized assistant/nurse???

Please share any such similar experiences you may have come across.

FOLLOW US for many different Case Studies and Interviews!

Check out the CB5 JODI Report and identify areas of alignment and conflict between two people.