The cause of gender equality in every field, especially fields like realty, civil construction, and high-tech engineering, needs more role models like Srividhya R, Director of SVAAS INFRAMAX SOLUTIONS OPC PVT LTD and Managing Director of HI-TECH ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS.
In industries traditionally perceived as masculine, such as realty, civil construction, and high-tech engineering, her presence is a testament to the indomitable spirit of women challenging the status quo.
These fields, laden with laborious on-site work and technical intricacies, have long been regarded as male-dominated bastions. Yet, it’s not just the visible barriers but also the intangible wall of perception that Srividhya confronted. Through unwavering determination and relentless efforts, she has carved a niche in these industries, defying convention and prevailing against all odds.
Pioneering Gender Equality in Industry Leadership
Recognized for her remarkable contributions, Srividhya has received accolades such as the ‘Most Admirable Engineering Solutions Provider to the Construction Industry’ by Business Connect Group and Indo Global Entrepreneurship Conclave in October 2023. She was also honoured with the ‘Women Leadership at Work’ award at the Asian Woman Leadership Awards in the same month. These achievements underscore her trailblazing journey and signify her emergence as one of ‘The Most Prominent Directors to Follow in 2023.’
Srividhya R’s story is a testament to the limitless potential of individuals to challenge norms, shatter stereotypes, and lead the way toward a more inclusive and equal future. Her journey embodies the spirit of resilience and the belief that true progress lies in empowering and recognizing the contributions of women in every field. As we delve deeper into her remarkable accomplishments and vision for the future, we unveil a narrative of inspiration and transformation that goes beyond borders and redefines industry leadership.
Through Life’s Twists and Turns
Life’s grand tapestry creates stories that inspire, stories that transcend boundaries and redefine what’s possible. Srividhya’s journey is an extraordinary narrative marked by personal triumphs that resonate with the indomitable spirit of resilience. Born into a middle-class Tamil Brahmin family in Chennai, where societal expectations often cast a predetermined outline for life, Srividhya’s story is an odyssey of breaking barriers and forging her unique path.
Her father, a dedicated school teacher, instilled values of disciplined growth, academic excellence, and a grounded approach in her. This upbringing laid the foundation for her to secure the first position in every educational endeavour. Her exceptional dedication and perseverance were recognized by the government, earning her a merit certificate for being a state rank holder during her school education under the Tamil Nadu Education Board. This distinction paved the way for her engineering studies under the 100% scholarship of the Meritorious Student Scheme.
However, the journey of personal triumphs was not without its formidable challenges. The most poignant chapter of Srividhya’s life unfolded when she lost her mother at a tender age, a moment of profound grief and loss that can have lasting repercussions on the well-being of young women. The absence of her mother’s support, guidance, and love left a chasm in her life, an emptiness that seemed impossible to fill, leading her into a realm of loneliness and depression.
Finding Her Mettle
Yet, even in the face of such adversity, Srividhya’s inner strength and resilience shone through. Inspired by words of wisdom, she embarked on a path of self-affirmation, a practice that breathed new life into her mornings. The affirmations became a powerful force that drove her to a string of successful moments, each paving the way for her career’s ascension.
As her education continued, the entrepreneurial spirit within her began to stir. Recognizing the burgeoning real estate industry in Chennai, she decided to create a portfolio of building elevations and flat plans meticulously crafted to incorporate Vastu principles. This bold step disrupted the construction industry, earning her projects to design from concept to completion.
The void of a role model in her early engineering days was filled by someone impressed with her work, who later became her idol and nurtured her early development in the industry. This strong foundation laid the groundwork for numerous successful construction projects in Tamil Nadu, establishing her as a profound entrepreneur.
Winning Over a Personal War
Yet, the journey of a first-generation entrepreneur is seldom without its trials, both financial and mental. Srividhya encountered her share of challenges but persevered with unwavering determination. She soon realized that the support of other family income sources was not a necessity when she possessed the power to handle things independently. Armed with a resolute will and a positive mindset, she turned struggles into sources of empowerment. Her children emerged as her unwavering pillars of strength, bolstering her professional journey with an unwavering commitment.
In the 1990s, when the concept of startups was still in its infancy, Srividhya took a leap of faith. She embraced the power of a positive approach as her only investment and converted a room in her house into a workspace and office. Back then, most business owners were successors of family-run enterprises, but Srividhya, unlike others in the industry, was entirely self-made. She built her company from scratch, understanding that success often requires managing personal and professional life with finesse.
Learning from Loosing
While her first business may not have yielded immediate commercial success, she refused to let discouragement cloud her vision. Instead, she persisted with grit and determination. She realized that the initial steps may appear futile or laborious, but to grow, every avenue must be explored. Srividhya firmly believes that viewing business challenges as hurdles makes them exactly that. She advocates for a collective mindset, emphasizing that those who have supported her from the very beginning have complemented her attributes. She acknowledges that learning is a two-way street, and true growth is achieved when an organization collectively learns and evolves.
Srividhya’s journey is a testament to personal triumphs that inspire and captivate. Her story is a vivid reminder that while life may present formidable challenges, it is our unwavering resolve and relentless determination that pave the path to remarkable success.
Srividhya’s Saga of Success
In the annals of success, there are those whose journeys not only defy the odds but also shatter long-standing gender norms. Srividhya R, a civil engineer by education and profession, is one such trailblazer who embarked on a remarkable odyssey within the confines of a traditionally male-centric field. Her story is a testament to resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of her dreams, regardless of the challenges that came her way.
As a female civil engineer, Srividhya faced a multitude of hurdles and uncharted territory. The male-dominated sphere of realty, civil construction, and high-tech engineering was riddled with erratic working hours and frequent conflicts among labourers. She distinctly recalls when she inaugurated her first professional venture, HI-TECH Group, in Chennai in 1998. It was a pivotal milestone that marked the beginning of her journey in the industry.
Shattering Gender Norms in a Male-Centric Field
The transition from working under a male boss to establishing herself as a female leader, especially in fieldwork, was fraught with difficulties. Initially, she encountered threats and discouragement, suggesting she should revert to desk jobs or consider further studies to avoid potentially dangerous situations. However, Srividhya’s intrinsic passion and her unwavering vision for the success of her business ventures propelled her to take ‘good risks.’ With determination as her compass, she fearlessly undertook large-scale construction projects across Chennai and Tamil Nadu.
Srividhya’s saga of success serves as an inspiration not only for women but for anyone striving to break through societal norms and carve their own path in a challenging and unconventional field. Her journey is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and the courage to undertake challenges that pave the way for transformation and set new standards of excellence.
Thus, she received her first Award of ‘Successful Women Entrepreneur of the Year’ from IOB, Women Entrepreneur Branch, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 2001. She also received opportunities to build and deliver many Duplex Houses in and around Chennai. Due to her success, she has been affectionately nicknamed Duplex Vidhya among her professional admirers.
Later, when the family situation forced her and her family to move from Chennai to New Delhi, Srividhya decided to launch a similar concept of researching the Industry needs firstly in New Delhi and Delhi-NCR locations. “Having visited many of the construction projects, I wished to create a unique solution to the rising steel waste crisis across all construction sites, which had impacted a major portion of construction costs and hence delays in completing the work,” she informs. Thus, the HI-TECH Journey began again in 2006 from New Delhi, covering all major turn-key contractors in India as their premium clients.
Due to the company’s recognition by numerous associations and organisations, such as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the Structural Engineering Forum, Builders Association, IITs, other Government bodies like Metro Rail, NHAI, CPWD, NTPC/NHPC, AAI etc. categorically approve HI-TECH’s products as an accredited vendor to all their Premium Projects. “Thus, it increased our customer base. With several branch offices and stockyards, our group is currently able to provide great coverage throughout all of India and South Asia. Our HI-TECH group has expanded its horizons into various key solutions by Steel Products of HI-TECH-Reinforcement Couplers to minimize steel wastage and scrap for more than 15% of Overall Construction Cost, Specialized Foundation Supportive Bolts, Earthquake preventive Products, etc. We have also introduced Another Vertical of Construction Chemicals to maintain all Infrastructures from Water Seepages, Leakages, Corrosion, Fire, Abrasions etc.,” she informs.
According to Srividhya, in the construction industry, one knows all too well the fragility and turbulence that used to define the landscape. It was a world where contractors and vendors often found themselves at the mercy of these ever-volatile conditions. Srividhya, a name synonymous with perseverance, understands this reality all too well. She recalls the daunting experiences of facing severe losses during the tumultuous periods of demonetization and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India, which sent shockwaves through the industry.
Demonetization marked a significant shift in the financial landscape of India, and the introduction of GST ushered in a new taxation system that was entirely uncharted. The transformation from cash-based transactions to an online framework was particularly challenging for construction labourers and had a profound impact on the civil industry in 2017 and 2018. It was a trying time, but Srividhya’s unwavering resilience and strong mindset propelled her to navigate the tumultuous tides of both life and business persistently.
She notes, “We successfully managed those remarkable changes in the industry with a systematic approach and proceeded toward a brighter future.” Her unyielding commitment to overcoming these hurdles became the bedrock upon which she built her path to success.
Resilience in the Face of Turbulent Tides
Then, the world was thrust into the uncharted territory of a global pandemic in 2020. It was a hurdle of unprecedented proportions, especially for an industry like construction, where remote work was simply not an option. Every aspect of business was disrupted, and lives were at stake. Srividhya recounts how her entire HI-TECH Group confronted this unforeseen challenge with courage and meticulous safety measures.
They navigated the complex landscape, striving to complete existing projects while adhering to government regulations and travel restrictions. Supply chain interruptions and project suspensions further compounded the challenges. Yet, they persevered, and when the government eased its stay-at-home norms, they swiftly resumed their work. Health and safety were prioritized over all other business commitments, underscoring Srividhya’s unwavering dedication to the well-being of her team and the community.
Srividhya’s journey is a testament to her resilience and adaptability. She demonstrated how she surmounted formidable challenges and emerged stronger, reflecting the spirit of an indomitable leader confronting adversity with courage and conviction.
Aiming for the Highest Level of Perfection
Today, HI-TECH is a certified SSI unit qualified with ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and OHSAS 45001:2018. It is known for its cost-effective solutions not only pan India but also has a strong presence in Asia. Srividhya feels that it is a genuinely astonishing and humbling accomplishment in her professional career to have won honours from many Seminars among industry pioneers and availing ‘Best Technical Support to Their Key Projects’ from the Builders Association of India (BAI) and ACE, Premium Exhibitors of the Construction Engineering. The significance of technical expertise and problem-solving abilities in fostering positive change and reaching project objectives is reinforced by this award.
“At HI-TECH Group, we aim to deliver the highest levels of customer service and value across a range of our Exclusive Product solutions,” says Srividhya, adding that they focus on continuous improvement in every area to ensure that their staff and processes are always developing to create a niche in the industry.
She furthers that they want their customers to think first of HI-TECH and join them in collaboratively promoting best practices in the industry. “We strongly believe that our true business partners are our supportive team, family and friends who always believed in our choices and supported us in tough times,” adds Srividhya.
With the advancements in technology and infrastructure, the construction industry has become extremely competitive. However, she believes that ‘competition creates winners and helps one define their meritorious areas.’ The competition in the market pushes an entrepreneur to come up with higher or better-performing products and keeps them on their toes at all times.
Forging Your Path to Success
Srividya, an ideal of resilience and entrepreneurship, has journeyed through the riveting roller coaster of emotions that define the path of an entrepreneur. She understands the tremendous highs and daunting lows that come with the territory, but her steadfast belief in forging one’s path and creating opportunities rather than waiting for them to knock on your door has been her guiding light.
She imparts a message of empowerment to aspiring entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of connecting with some of the greatest minds in the field. Srividya’s journey is a testament to the idea that one can indeed craft a unique entry into the world of business, defining one’s trajectory and destiny.
Inspirational quotes have played a pivotal role in her journey, serving as beacons of motivation during moments of uncertainty and challenges. A few of her favourite quotes encapsulate her entrepreneurial spirit:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker.
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi. “Maintain a positive attitude. That’s essential for success. And having a positive attitude is a conscious choice.”
These quotes echo the essence of Srividya’s message to aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Seize the opportunities.
- Persist in the face of adversity.
- Let a positive attitude be your guiding star.
She inspires them not only to dream but to take bold steps towards making those dreams a reality, creating their path to success in the ever-evolving entrepreneurship landscape.