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Verve People
July 07, 2016

Power Inheritor: Radha Kapoor

Text by Huzan Tata. Photograph by Prateek Patel

For optimising leadership skills to diversify and make a mark in the world of corporates

Though she learnt many lessons from her father Rana Kapoor — the head honcho of Yes Bank — Radha Kapoor chose to chart her own path with the foundation of her institution — Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) — three years ago. Armed with a diploma from Parsons School of Design, New York and a degree from University of the Arts London, the young scion has even ventured into retail and sports (her company owns Hockey League franchise Dabang Mumbai and Pro Kabaddi team Dabang Delhi) — but it’s ISDI that is currently Radha’s pet project, which she aims to take to greater heights.

As a child, while I was aware of my father’s job and status, at home he was always a doting dad to my sisters and me, a caring husband to my mom, and a dutiful son to my grandmother. He was the only man in a house of five women and always made sure we got the best of everything, and that we were never affected by the fact that his entrepreneurship made him successful early on. We didn’t grow up with a sense of entitlement and this instilled the importance of humility in me.”

My parents noticed my inclination towards the arts, and gave me the right amount of motivation to pursue it, for despite his background in finance, my father is a great believer in creative ideas and their potential. Having a keen eye for design, I went to study at Parsons, and owe it to my parents for helping me make the bold plunge out of my comfort zone. When I was there, I realised that the application and interpretation of design was only looked at aesthetically, whereas it has widespread implications in business strategy as well as in creation of consumer-focussed products and services. This is what motivated me to start ISDI.”

My father is an honest critic, and the greatest support system I have. I am motivated by the unstinted commitment he has to Yes Bank. He personifies passion and determination, and is definitely a role model for me, and my first port of call for seeking advice. Having been a banker for over 35 years, he has provided financial guidance to corporations of different sizes across geographies, and I am lucky to be able to tap into his wealth of experience. Being an entrepreneur, he perfectly understands what it takes to build a successful institution — and this knowledge has helped me in my own journey.”

ISDI is definitely closest to my heart. Setting up an educational institution allows me to make an impact over multiple generations, changing the way design and innovation will drive business in the future. We have also started the Indian School of Management and Entrepreneurship and the ISDI WPP School of Communication in partnership with WPP, which is the world’s leading communications agency network. I want to catalyse entrepreneurship and innovation based on the principles of design thinking, which will provide a long-term impetus to the Indian economy. I want to provide an environment for creative entrepreneurs to get access to all the resources needed to make their dreams a reality.”

Two mantras that my father has shared with me that I always remember are ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’, and ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’, as Walt Disney famously said.”

Read about our next power woman, Ananya Birla.

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