Priya Gopalen & Sandhya Rajan - Entrepreneurs


market of clay pots

Priya Gopalen & Sandhya Rajan are the founders of Chennai's leading sports academy's - Great Goals. 


Priya is an Engineer from BITS-Pilani. Post her professional career as a policy analyst and planner focusing on urban poverty, sustainability and food security, she returned to India. Here, she played a large role in enriching children's learning through fun, progressive and substantive experiences, that are professionally managed. Priya learnt many of her life lessons on the Basketball & Volleyball court. Through Great Goals, she seeks to provide children with a safe, well-managed platform to learn similar lessons. 


Sandhya holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry from The University of Madras. After starting her career in R&D in India, she was involved in teaching Science to children across all age groups. She discovered that she enjoyed working with children. Sandhya believes that sport is a wonderful medium for imparting life skills to children. Through Great Goals, she seeks to provide children with the maximum level of challenge they can comfortably handle. 


Facebook: @greatgoalschennai

Instagram: @greatgoalschennai

Website: www.greatgoalschennai.com

 

Priya Gopalen (left) and Sandhya Rajan (right)


Priya Gopalen


What inspires you?

So many things:  inspire me constantly as a mother, professional and human.

One very inspirational poem for me is “Make the Ordinary Come Alive” – finding joy in every day things.

I’m inspired when I see people work with passion  - when commitment to do things the right way is palpable and you can see, feel and smell their vestedness in their idea or activity.

I am inspired by I was very moved the first time I read Maya Angelou’s “Try to be a little rainbow in someone’s cloud.” I’ve had so many people be rainbows in my clouds and I try to be that whenever I need to be.

Another thing that inspires me is the Japanese concept of Ikigai  - I am lucky to be able to steer my life in that direction.


How has what you do made an impact on your life?

I appreciate better that different people get excited differently and learn differently. I like to learn new things and relearn old things, so my work tells me that the lessons are everywhere and from everyone. I’ve also learnt children are the wisest and best teachers.


What is the greatest challenge you have faced getting to where you are today? How has that shaped you?

Early in my career, I was always annoyed when people I met professionally would either comment on how young I was to be doing what I did or always look over my shoulder for my middle aged, greying male boss.

I’ve therefore learned that regardless of the context or situation I am prepared, am confident in my preparedness and am fair  in how I approach things and am true to myself. I’m also willing to admit (most of the time!) when I am wrong and when I am


What did you want to be when you grew up? What options seemed open or closed to you, if any?

I wanted to be a problem solver so Engineering seemed a good way to do it. I’ve had the  fortune to work in diverse and very challenging situations, places and sectors - with the gritty women of Bhuj right after the earthquake, Learning about homelessness and hunger in the developed world, working on affordable housing I. So many parts of the world and then working with incredible (and annoying nad exhausting but so much fun!) Children across the spectrum on sports and food. I truly believe that There are no closes opportunities just closed minds.


Who is your role model?

Too many to name.


What in life has brought you the greatest satisfaction?

Being a mother to my son.

Watching the penny drop in a young child’s mind.


One piece of advice to women everywhere. 

We are born with grace, the ‘care gene’ and the amazing ability to multi-task. Apply it to ourselves as well. Care for yourself, be graceful to yourself. And give yourself a break from multi-tasking. In the multiple roles I play, I forget often, but when I do care for myself, I am a better human, mother, professional, partner etc.

 

Sandhya Rajan


What inspires you?

People who work hard, pushing beyond their limits, trying to overcome all their challenges,


How has what you do made an impact on your life?

I am more patient ( at least I think that )with my child. I have realised that success does not come easy, a lot of hard work is required.


What is the greatest challenge you have faced getting to where you are today? How has that shaped you?

I always used to get affected by criticism, people being unhappy about something. I have now realised that it is hard to keep everyone happy.     


What did you want to be when you grew up? What options seemed open or closed to you, if any?

 I really did not think too much about what career that I wanted to have. I wanted to be successful in whatever I did. I always did want to be an entrepreneur.


Who is your role model?

No one in particular..


What in life has brought you the greatest satisfaction?

Great Goals has brought me a lot of satisfaction. A program  that has grown organically and has made an impact on children’s sporting life!


One piece of advice to women everywhere. 

We all require a strong ecosystem to support us. My family and friends have been very supportive of my work- they have been responsible for who I am now. They have stood by me and helped me at all times- be it picking up my son from school/ classes, helped by being there to listen to my problems.

Always make time for yourself - as women, we pride in taking care of others and sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. The challenge is to keep a work life balance, to not bring any work home. I have learned to prioritise. 

 

#womensday #women #makeithappen

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"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect” - Anais Nin

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