Heading a Trading Business, This Woman is Breaking Stereotypes with Flamboyance "I was initiated into the sector at an early age, and by now, have come to understand the finer nuances of the business very well."

By Baishali Mukherjee

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"Trading is traditionally male dominated and an unorganized business sector. It is a challenging field but for people who enjoy versatility it's an excellent opportunity," says Vaishali, a commodity trader.

Vaishali is the moving force behind the success of Atlantic Group which deals in commodity trading. Doing the unconventional by foraying into male dominated trading business, Vaishali has carved a niche for herself by heading the Group since inception and taking it to unprecedented pinnacle. Atlantic Industrial & Trading was incorporated on 10 March 2011 in the Republic of Singapore, as a private company limited by shares. Its promoter and majority shareholder is Mr Daniel Amarilla, a veteran in the commodities trade industry.

Vaishali Sarwankar is the Head International Trade at Atlantic Group of Companies, only Maharashtrian woman in trading business in India which has only two to three other women entrepreneurs/professionals in the field of international commodity trading business. She has opted for an unconventional profession which is male dominated and has greatly succeeded in running an empire of USD100 million.

What made Vaishali choose trading?

"I do not find anything which woman cannot do. I took over Atlantic which is into international commodity trading and since inception we have seen major growth. I was initiated into the sector at an early age, and by now, have come to understand the finer nuances of the business very well. The initial period of finding my footing in the industry was quite unnerving, but things only got better with time. With respect to the supportive government policies, access to capital and technological infrastructure in today's time women now have more opportunities and access to tools to make it big not only in trading but in any field that they chose. It is really a pleasure to see women today are breaking the stereotypes and proving themselves across the field. In trading business we have not seen that exponential change yet."

Challenges faced

"The whole ideological, societal, cultural friction begins surfacing against you, when as a woman you try to make it in an all-boys club," says the woman trader. Many challenges came in her way since the beginning and are still part and parcel of her life. "We do not have a well organized business; we talk about trading of commodities and traders. The language is rough and aggressive and abuse is part of it. That's how the conversation goes. Mannerism and etiquettes are left far behind in trading industry. But with time you mould up. I did not have to face too many difficulties on work part as such, as trading business ran in my blood. But many a times it got difficult for me balance work-life, as a lot of travelling to a different country for procurement of products and cracking deals were involved. But my family has been supportive in my journey as they knew I was a rebel," adds the maverick youngster.

Success comes with commitment and hard work

An MBA in Finance and Commerce graduate, Sarwankar was born in a conservative Maharashtrian family. Her trading stints began to take shape during her tenure with Bunge India where she learned the fundamental aspects of the Trading business and there was no looking back since then. Spanning a career of more than two decades Vaishali comes with an enriching industry expertise and wide range of experience in the field of trading business. Her well established network with stakeholders and technical know-how of the business has laid the foundation of Atlantic Group. She carries forward the legacy of $100 Million with a team of committed professionals working along with her whom she considers her greatest strength.

Sarwankar believes that passion and commitment towards the goal is of utmost importance for a woman entrepreneur to succeed. "The world around is changing at a very fast pace and it is ultra competitive too. Staying focused plays a very vital role and one must create an unparalleled and iconic offering of her work to stand out. Find your inner compass. Be guided by passion and work with purpose, success will follow," she prescribes.

Women in entrepreneurship – a new reality the country is waking up to

Fighting all the odds women today have managed to combine professional excellence and personal achievement with social commitment and contribution. "I always believed nothing is impossible for women in the world and if qualified women get into entrepreneurship the per capita income will increase. Woman in businesses are creating their niche. Being an entrepreneur means getting to make decisions and face challenges and it gives you a feeling of confidence and empowerment," signs off Vaishali.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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