Monica Chaudhari Continues to Raise the Bar for Herself

Sep/12/2020 / by Conrad Watson
monica chaudhari

Monica Chaudhari, founder and CEO of AdirA, a company that helps families address health and wellness issues, discusses what makes her tick

Monica Chaudhari has done well for herself. An MBA from Drexel University from 1988, she quickly found her way into Merck & Co, the pharmaceutical giant, and left her mark there. After 29 years and 10 months, during which she rose to associate vice president, it would have made perfect sense for her to become a little complacent. Except, she didn’t.

In 2018, Chaudhari, then 54, struck out on her own, surprising everyone by starting up her own business, AdirA, an online platform to help families make and implement good health and wellness decisions. As she puts it, it is a service “for women, by women.”

In an interview with SEEMA, Chaudhari discusses the secret of her success and what the future appears to hold for her.

Where did you grow up and how did it shape your later life?

I was born in Buffalo, New York, but raised in Pune, Maharashtra. Pune is a university town, a sports center and historically a major city for social reform, particularly the emancipation of women. As a result, I grew up playing competitive sports – and being a feminist became part of my DNA.

What inspired you to succeed in business?

I come from a family of risk-takers who blazed new frontiers, so the bar was set pretty high. However, no one in my family had ever been in marketing, and I had to find those role models at work. The company that I worked for had a culture of people development, and I was blessed to have many mentors and sponsors. I tried to learn something from each one.

These were the most important things I learned: one, how to tell an effective story that wins hearts and minds; two, how to prioritize ruthlessly; and three, how to set a vision, give people the resources to succeed, and then get out of the way.

What advice would you give to aspiring businesswomen?

Have your own career plan and know what you want in a three- to five-year period. Ask for what you want, but don’t forget to deliver results and earn what you have asked for. Most importantly, make sure you are having fun. Life is too short to waste it being unhappy.

I want to say this to my South Asian sisters, especially the younger ones: It is easy to rationalize and accept the status quo, but if you are not living up to your full potential, you are doing a disservice not only to yourself, but also to the children watching you.

What is your proudest achievement in business?

MC: Breaking three stereotypes in one shot with AdirA. I was a 54-year old, Asian woman. When people think of a digital start-up entrepreneur, that is not the profile that comes to mind.

How has your work influenced others or helped the wider community?

MC: At AdirA, we are for women, by women. In the US, in 80% of the families, a woman is the chief wellness officer. Today, 77% of the health-related searches on the web are conducted by women. There is plenty of good health education on the web, but there is not a lot of support to help women make personalized decisions for herself and her family members. At AdirA, we help her make personalized decisions, point her to the best resources and provide her with dialogue aids so she can have a productive discussion with a healthcare professional. We are not trying to replace the doctor. We are trying to make that interaction more efficient, for both parties. Trust, value and fun are the pillars of everything we do.

What do you hope to achieve in the future? 

I hope that in the future we can change the way that women become aware of and take actions about the health of their families. We want them to know what to do, how to do it and how to advocate effectively for themselves and their families. AdirA means a strong, noble and powerful woman. We believe that our chief wellness officer is an AdirA woman and we want to be worthy of her.

There are more pioneers where that came from on SEEMA, like Anisha Raghavan

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