Having done three MBAs in IT, HR, and Business Management, my mother, Padmaja Duvvuri, whom I lovingly call Amma, has numerous feathers to her hat – ranging from being a recipient of a business award in London to having various enterprises to her name. Currently, she is the Founder of Arete Technologies, a digital marketing firm; a business coach & mentor; and of course, a loving mother of two children- my younger brother and me.
Growing up with a working mother meant doing most of the chores by myself, taking on more responsibilities, and having a strong, empowered woman to look up to. Our house never abides by the stereotypical gender rules to date – I sometimes wake up to my dad making me a cup of coffee, my brother prepping for our lunch, and my mom guiding me about a new job opportunity. My family has always encouraged me to chase my dreams and ensured that the world’s patriarchal nature never becomes a hurdle.
A mother who loves to learn
With such a highly accomplished woman as my mother, there have been quite a few times when I’ve felt intimidated, but more often than not, she is definitely my source of inspiration in life. Amma’s leadership qualities have helped me nurture my dynamic side and shaped me into becoming more independent. I have never seen her give up or feel dejected, regardless of the number of hardships thrown at her.
Amma was eight months pregnant with her second child when she drove down to her MBA classes and diligently attended all her lectures. Her zeal to keep learning every day is what keeps her motivated. From image management & personal styling to child psychology to business coaching, there isn’t anything that Amma has refused to learn. Her sincerity towards polishing herself truly motivates me never to give up.
At 42, she was a serial entrepreneur with four businesses to look after and one of the 10,000 women entrepreneurs selected by Goldman Sachs for certified entrepreneurship from the Indian School of Business (ISB). She believes that “A small business owner or one-person marketing team can very easily get overwhelmed by all their social media accounts. But one should understand that not all platforms are for everyone. Before you jump in, you need to test the waters, one at a time. Some work, some do not. You need to understand, research, strategize, implement, monitor, and rework if needed.”
Amma never let work disturb her family time, though. At the office, if she was a dynamic, influential leader, she has always been a fun-loving, chilled out mother at home. I know I can go to her with any issues, and she will most certainly have all the answers. If I had to use a metaphor, I’d say she is like the last page of solutions to my math textbook. She pushes me to reach greater heights, and for that, I will eternally be grateful to her.
From boss to buddy
Like any other entrepreneur, she has had her share of struggles – clients not paying on time, taking care of the kids while my dad transferred to another city, and staying in tune with the rapidly changing social media trends. However, she’s taken all that to her stride and always walked with her head held high.
To me, Amma isn’t just a maternal figure; she’s also my travel partner, my life coach, my teacher, and, of course, my shopping buddy. I hope to become as successful and empowered as her one day; to gain her multitasking skills and to be empathetic towards the world. But for now, just watching her be the superwoman that she is, warms my heart, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.