TheCconnects: Can you tell our readers a little about your professional journey & how did you come to your current role/position?
Pratika Khandelwal: I graduated from XLRI Jamshedpur with an MBA in Human Resources in the year 2008. Started my professional career with HCL Technologies as an HR Manager. After a couple of years in a business partnership role, I moved to Robert Bosch, a German conglomerate in the year 2010. Spent 5 years with Bosch across locations in India and Germany working with teams across the globe and leading large-scale projects. 2015 is when my association with startups began, joined an edtech startup as an HR Head and gradually transitioned into a business leadership role.
This stint of 3 years exposed me to the entire orchestra behind building & scaling a business. I felt ready to start out on my own and spent time consulting multiple start-ups including Whitehat Jr on the side while crystallizing what I wanted to build. I have been exposed to a fair bit of psychology in my HR MBA and human mind was always an interest area. Throughout my corporate years, I always felt a void existed when it comes to emotional support systems of employees & they turn to HR folk who are not trained to provide this kind of support. Lifestyle changes – constant push notifications, desk jobs, traffic and other trappings of an urban life further deteriorates mental well-being. This was the founding idea behind Felicity.
TheCconnects: Who has influenced you the most in life and why?
Pratika Khandelwal: My father – who was a living example of taking people along with you as you grow – that your growth never comes at the expense of your collaborators – it comes with their growth. And that you can never be happy in isolation or at someone’s expense – the idea is a delusion. In my experience, these tenets always hold water without exception.
TheCconnects: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your life & how did you overcome them?
Pratika Khandelwal: Challenge is a state of mind, a problem that takes multiple iterations and longer than expected to resolve. The biggest challenge for me has been around finding the right people for various jobs. I always overcome it by speedily trying multiple approaches till I find the one that works.
TheCconnects: What lessons you have learned from your professional career?
Pratika Khandelwal: Way too many! a few that stand out-
1) No matter what your role or profession is, 80% of your success depends on how you deal with people. And lines in the org structures are not sufficient to get work done
2) Personal influences professional, humans cannot always compartmentalize – stress in personal life has a bearing on professional outcomes and it is a sound business decision to support holistic employee well-being
3) Inspiration and involvement trump carrot and stick when it comes to getting work done
TheCconnects: What do you see as the biggest challenge for brands in the digital space?
Pratika Khandelwal: Consumers cluttered headspaces & reduced attention spans – with the number of things trying to grab the user’s headspace increasing by the minute, getting discovered and piquing interest is only going to get harder.
Earning credibility – in a world, where multiple digital brands are being birthed every day & a large number dying, we need to work twice as hard to gain trust and credibility
Weakened Moats – Moats need to be continuously spruced up, you cannot build and rest.
TheCconnects: How your product/solution can help to resolve the pain points of your customers?
Pratika Khandelwal: Most products people invest in are creature comforts – that can make your life easier, fancier, or more luxurious with an expectation that would increase the state of well-being. Mental well-being is the only barometer of the quality of life. Felicity is a product that seeks to improve the quality of life by managing stress, anxiety, or any other kind of mental health concerns that directly impact well-being. It is a one-stop solution for all of a person’s mental wellness needs – one on one therapy sessions with verified psychologists on a 100% safe and secure platform, unlimited self-help content, community support, and many other features.
TheCconnects: Do you have any advice for those who want to become a chief executive officer?
Pratika Khandelwal: Becoming a CEO is more of an outcome, a logical conclusion, and not a goal in itself. Work on figuring out your passion or an area of interest, acquire depth, dive into it with all your might and do the hard yards. Envision your outcome and stay true to it. Always keep a strategic view but get your hands dirty when you need to. I see the CEOs role as more of an orchestrator – figure out what needs to be done, rally the resources behind it, troubleshoot, and keep the team inspired.