Ameera Shah: The Lifeline Builder
“I have always focussed on the contribution that I can make to the community, society and my country — and have never been driven only by money or material considerations.”
Fourteen years ago, the then 21-year-old Ameera Shah returned to India with a business management degree from the University of Texas and joined the pathology business. With her as managing director and CEO, Metropolis Healthcare has grown from a single-centre pathology laboratory to a venture that has a substantial presence both national and globally.
Being Dr Sushil Shah’s daughter, initially her age and gender was a hurdle she had to overcome. “In our industry I deal with older men, whose daughters are my age. They found it hard to see a young woman who could sit across the table with them and talk business. But people realised that I was not just my father’s daughter; I brought different skills to the table.”
Her acumen held her in good stead. “In 2001, sole proprietary practices were how laboratories functioned. From a single pathology practice, I focussed on the building of a chain of branded, corporatised and standardised centres. Today Metropolis has 125 diagnostic and 800 collection centres across the globe and is still growing. It’s been a great learning journey. I was the first one to build a chain in India and I want to be the first to build chains in Africa and other emerging markets as well.”
Ameera’s workdays are full: “From the moment I get up, I am checking emails — I am looped in till around midnight when I sleep. I am usually in the office from about 10 am till 7 pm. But around four days a week, I try to play tennis or get some kind of a workout in the evenings.”
For Ameera, luxury is a combination of ‘comfort and finish’ and her personal style is defined by elegance. “If there’s a choice between screaming for attention and being elegant, I’m usually the person who’s a little bit more on the elegant side. I like bright colours. But you’d never find me in anything very sparkly.” Cardigans with a skirt or a pair of trousers are the choice for the office. While she is also comfortable in a sari, for a corporate function or formal dinner, she likes to wear a silk blouse with a knee-length skirt, with a shawl or a scarf, pearls and low heels. “My feet hurt in stilettos. I like earrings, so wherever Mom (gynaecologist, Dr Duru Shah) goes, she will find me a pair. This makes me feel special…that my mother’s thinking of me, wherever she is.”
The recipient of several awards, she was honoured with the Exemplary Women Leadership Award at the World Women Leadership Congress & Awards (2014) and was featured in the ‘Young Global Leader’ list by the World Economic Forum in 2015. For her at this stage “success is the ability to hear your own voice about what makes you happy and to have the luxury of freedom.”