China, USA, UAE, England, Maldives, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Qatar, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Brussels, Venice..This list can go on for a while. Though not a self-claimed globe trotter has been to all these places and more. But if you think she is a full-time traveler, you will be mistaken. Meet Alishah Salma Sulleman: Globe Trotter and Entrepreneur.
This 29 year old is the owner of ‘One Degree North H.R Services’: A recruitment firm catering to the IT, ITES, Retail and Ecommerce space. Founded exactly half a decade back, the company graph has only witnessed an upward growth: from 5 to 50 stable employees, from a small poky work space to 3 large centres across India, Ms Sulleman has made a promising start to her entrepreneurial journey. A firm believer in the mantra ‘money makes money’, she said ‘Money is one of the biggest factor in any line of business. Although I must admit that employee welfare and employee satisfaction, followed by healthy Client relations are of utmost importance for any thriving business’.
Alishah, born in the 80s had a childhood which did not feature mobile phones and iPads, no easy access to television. This ensured lots of out-door games and activities. For a child who grew up with three elder sisters and one elder brother, there was no dearth of adventure in her early days of life either. While talking about her childhood she said “I’ve had the honour of going to a good missionary school that helped build my value system strong. The school I went to was different in every way. The school had a street pet dog that belonged to our Irish nun-principal. The dog was named after our school itself. We studied side by side with street children, who were given shelter, food and needless to mention, they were given an excellent environment for education and growth. Some of them and us, were in the same class, learned the same lessons, same teachers and got the very same treatment, which I think helped us grow more as individuals. By now you would have guessed that social work, doing good to and for the society, humanity, were all the most important lessons we were taught in school. We visited nearby villages as a part of our extra-curricular routine. We went to our assigned village-schools and imparted bits and pieces of whatever we had learned, to rural children. (I believe, we did make a difference).”
A different and holistic schooling gave Ms Sulleman a much required base which might have acted as a springboard to turn her into the successful yet humble Business Woman that she is now. She started working as early as her first year in college. So, by the time she graduated she already had three years of work experience. A year down the line she started One Degree North and did not look back since then.
While most Entrepreneurs in their early years of starting up are severely sleep deprived, have little time for family or vacation: in short perennially broke both time and money wise. Salma is a pleasant exception to that generalisation. Magical and as hard to achieve as it might seem, hear it from this Phenomenal Woman how she spends her days “My days are never the same, I hate being the kind of person who is driven by the clock. Maybe this is one of the reasons I have never been able to ever do justice to the one year yoga classes I had once so willingly signed up for. I hate to plan what my tomorrow would look like, because my actions never seem to be in sync with the plans executed by the mind. However, a typical day for me would be to obviously wake up to no alarms, which is anytime my eyes choose to open. A quick shower, small little prayer, news while getting ready, drive to work, basic work and employee management and then back home. I’d typically spend 30% of my week watching movies and doing dinners with close friends”
As ideal as that might sound there is a lot of smart management that goes into living such a balanced life. On asking her about her love for travelling and her favourite holiday destination, she chose Scotland: “I have several favourites but if I have to go with one, I’d say Scotland and its country side. I can never get enough of it. My first experience with Scotland was a long drive through its country side when travelling from Coventry to Edinburgh. Looking at the breath taking view, I knew almost instantly, this place is going to be a part of my romantic fantasies for a very long time to come. I am constantly reminded of the exotic English movies of kings and queens and palaces and ranches that I had watched as a child”
For the ones bit by Entrepreneurial bug, here’s your much required push from The Phenomenal Woman of this Week “I’d say, if you are willing to gamble it, being an entrepreneur is probably one of the best things that can happen to you. The confidence and ego boost are incomparable. And if it clicks the struggle would be totally worth it.”
Share Alishah’s story if it inspired you.
Note: This story is part of The Phenomenal Woman Series launched by Papercup.