Taking out the stress from event planning

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Taking out the stress from event planning
Sandhya Unni, co-founder, TwoTone Events

dubai - Sandhya Unni, co-founder of TwoTone Events, thinks out of the box

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Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 4:08 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 6:10 PM

The UAE has always been the land of opportunity. When the government tells you that it does not take longer than 48 hours to set up your business and provides you with the facilities to do it, you know you're in the right place, says Sandhya Unni, co-founder, TwoTone Events.

"More recently, the government and the UAE Gender Balance Council have set out to make things easier for the aspiring women entrepreneur. There are forums such as Ro'Ya by the Dubai Business Women Council that invite aspiring women entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a panel and a winner is selected. Overall, I'd say this is the right time for women entrepreneurs in UAE. With 2020 just around the corner, the opportunities are tremendous."

TwoTone Events was conceptualised by two women.

Sandhya adds: "I believe that if a company is gender diverse, it will help bring different ideas to the table; perhaps facilitate better problem solving; help in ideation - all contributing factors to the growth of any business. A business that allows for teams that may be gender diverse will help attract better clientele and help retain a talented workforce because of the perception of equality. So, if I think a woman can bring better ideas to the table and help in the growth of my business, I would definitely hire her over a man who has several years of experience doing the same thing but hasn't been able to contribute towards the growth of the company. Women don't need help. They need support and recognition. And who better than a woman to offer them that!"

Sandhya believes it's all about finding out what can be done that hasn't been done before - in short, thinking outside the box.

"There is tremendous untapped potential among the youth of today. The millennials are being brought up in an era of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation. They have the ability to multi-task and are comfortable with a rapidly changing environment. They understand what they know today may be obsolete tomorrow. Their need for short-term or instant gratification works for me and my line of work because what I need is to cater to the needs of this generation.

Sustaining the edge
"I am constantly keeping up with the latest trends in social media, network and communications, thanks to this generation. It gives me an edge because several competitors are still relying on boardroom brain storming. While that may work well with traditional events, it doesn't give me that edge."

The go-getter adds: "When I left my job with an advertising agency, I always knew I would do something that would give me the chance to see a product come together. I quit work to take care of my young family and realised that I needed to stimulate my intellect as well; get my creative juices flowing. But the long working hours that most people boast of in advertising was not suited to my needs. So, it was a natural progression to look at other areas that interested me.

"The clincher was when I helped out a friend with managing an event. I enjoyed the process of conceptualising, planning, marketing and putting things together for the actual event day. I knew I wouldn't be able to work for a company because my family was still young. So, I freelanced for a few years and eventually, when the kids were older, I realised that I needed to get the ball rolling. That's how TwoTone Events came to be. Sreebala, a friend, and I got together one evening and decided this was what we wanted to do. Hence the name 'Two Tone'."

Balancing work and home is not as hard when the kids are older, points out Sandhya. "Since it is a business that I run and don't really report to anyone, I have the freedom to decide if I want to take on a particular event or decide if it's going to keep me away from the family for extended hours. I avoid doing anything that will keep me away from them during their exams or if my husband is travelling.

"It's extremely important to give yourself some time every day to focus and regroup your thoughts. A lot of the times, what may have been troubling you during the day will seem inconsequential later on. I believe the best balance is when you know what you're doing and you're happy about it."

Regarding women empowerment, the entrepreneur says: "We still need the encouragement and support. I believe the first real step towards empowering women is to make them aware they have a voice. But more importantly, they have a voice that will be heard."

She helps children in India between the ages of 16 to 20 sustain an education and subsequently helps them find employment. "I come from the state of Kerala in India. In Munnar, I help the housewives learn English so they can engage in helping kids with school and homework."

Sandhya concludes: "Never underestimate the power you have to take your life to a new direction. If someone says you can't do it, turn around and say watch me."

- sandhya@khaleejtimes.com



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