Unveiling Trailblazers- The Extraordinary Journeys of Women Shaping Tomorrow

Marching Forward: Embrace uncertainty and constantly seek different perspectives advises Devika Mankani, Divisional Head at Fortes Education.

In March, we shine a light on the remarkable journeys of inspirational women, illuminating paths paved with resilience, creativity, and leadership. We celebrate Women’s Month by delving into the hearts and minds of these extraordinary women who transform challenges into stepping stones for success. Their stories are not just narratives of personal triumphs but blueprints for aspiring trailblazers.

We talk to Devika Mankani, who wears several hats including being divisional head at Fortes Education, a holistic psychologist at The Hundred Wellness Centre, Director of Spa and Wellbeing at Privèe Dubai, and Co-founder at
Join us as we uncover what drives her, the mentors who have illuminated her paths, and the experiences that have fortified her resolve.

In navigating the business world, you’ve likely encountered stereotypes and biases. Can you share a specific instance where you turned a stereotype on its head and used your distinct approach or perspective to succeed?
Through my entrepreneurial journey, and especially in the early years I have faced the stereotype that younger business leaders lack the knowledge and depth to make meaningful contributions, especially in fields traditionally dominated by seasoned professionals. To counter this, I committed to continuous learning from some of the most prestigious universities globally and continue to attend conferences that stoke cutting edge, disruptive thinking. I also reached out to mentors to try to develop innovative approaches to the organizations I am affiliated with.

Entrepreneurship demands innovation. Can you discuss a moment when a creative insight led you to solve a problem or seize an opportunity in a way that nobody else had considered?
A pivotal moment of innovation came when I noticed a gap in how psychological health is addressed within the corporate wellness space. Observing that most wellness programs focus primarily on physical health, I saw an opportunity to integrate mental health tools and resources directly into the workplace. Drawing from my background in psychology, we developed a digital platform that offered not only accurate information on mental health with mental health assessments and guides but also provided direct access to counseling with qualified practitioners. This holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing was novel in its execution, significantly improving employee wellbeing and productivity for our clients. It showcased how integrating diverse fields can address complex human needs more comprehensively.

Your leadership style is undoubtedly a significant factor in your success. Can you describe how your personal experiences have shaped your approach to leading and motivating your team?
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family and in a multicultural environment taught me the value of diversity and inclusion, which has deeply influenced my leadership style. I strive to create environments where diverse perspectives are not only welcomed but seen as essential to our success. This approach is rooted in the belief that innovation thrives on diversity of thought and the freedom to experiment. By fostering an inclusive culture, encouraging open dialogue, and ensuring all team members feel valued and heard, I’ve been able to motivate my team to achieve remarkable results. None of this is possible without creating environments that nurture mental health and wellbeing.

Failure is often a stepping stone to success. Can you share an experience where you faced significant failure, how it impacted you, and what extraordinary ability or lesson you drew from it?
An endeavor that stands out for its profound learning impact involved an ambitious project to revolutionize the way mental health is delivered online. Despite thorough planning prior to the launch of, the project struggled initially and most attempts to understand the slow uptake didn’t seem to bring forth any answers. The setback was a stark reminder of the fact that plans are only as good as they seem on paper, but going to market can be a whole other story rife with predictions and predications. It taught me to embrace uncertainty, constantly seeking different perspectives and being willing to pivot quickly. This experience transformed my approach to organizational growth and change, embedding a culture of agility, continuous learning, and responsiveness to feedback within my team.

Achieving a balance between personal life and entrepreneurial ambition is challenging. How have you managed this balance, and what unconventional strategies have you employed to ensure both areas thrive
To manage the delicate balance between personal life and entrepreneurial pursuits, I’ve adopted the philosophy of “integrated living.” This has been especially important ina school setting where the days are absolutely packed with activity. Rather than compartmentalizing my life into discrete segments, I look for synergies between my personal interests and professional goals. For example, pursuing projects that align with my personal passions ensures that work feels fulfilling and invigorating rather than draining. Additionally, I practice time-blocking, dedicating uninterrupted periods to both work and personal activities, ensuring that each gets my full attention. This approach has helped me maintain a healthy balance, ensuring neither area is neglected.

Success isn’t just measured in business achievements but also personal growth. How has your entrepreneurial journey transformed you on a personal level?
My entrepreneurial journey has been a crucible for personal transformation, shaping me in ways I could not have anticipated at the outset. It has instilled in me a resilience that comes from navigating the highs and lows inherent in building something from the ground up or from proposing changes to existing modalities within an organization. This resilience has translated into a personal growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities to learn and evolve, rather than setbacks.

One of the most profound ways in which entrepreneurship has transformed me is in my approach to failure. Initially, the fear of failure was a significant barrier; it was something to be avoided at all costs. However, over time, I’ve come to view failure as an essential part of the learning process—a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block. This shift in perspective has not only made me more courageous in my business decisions but has also made me more compassionate towards myself and others when mistakes are made.

Entrepreneurship has also honed my sense of purpose. The drive to create value, solve real-world problems, and make a positive impact has become deeply ingrained. This purpose-driven approach has permeated other areas of my life, guiding my decisions and interactions in a way that aligns with my core values and beliefs.the journey has expanded my understanding of leadership. It’s taught me that true leadership is not about wielding power but about empowering others. It’s about setting a vision, inspiring your team to embrace that vision, and working together to make it a reality. This understanding has made me a better leader, colleague, friend, and family member.

Most importantly, entrepreneurship has taught me the importance of balance and self-care. The intense demands of starting and growing a business while being a parent, wife, daughter, friend can easily lead to burnout if not managed properly. I’ve learned the hard way the importance of taking time for myself—whether it’s for physical activity, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. This balance is crucial not just for personal well-being but also for sustaining the creativity and energy needed to continue innovating and driving the business forward.

Perhaps the one thing that ties everything together for me is a deep sense of gratitude for all the people that have helped me along the way, my family have been a a constant source of emotional support and guidance and my husband, my best friend, has been the ultimate cheerleader anyone could ask for.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please Turnoff the adblocker!