Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.


Unveiling the Life of a Compère - Naina Ghai

The world sees her as a successful young emcee who began her career at the early age of 19 and today, has left her footprints at most of the mega corporate events from across the country, but the story that lies behind her success, is unknown to many. Read on!
The microphone is tested, the screens open, the stage lights turn on with a colorful glow, a beautiful lady enters to present the show, with the most beautiful smile, the crowd applauds and howls, which excites her to speak better, the event flows smooth, she concludes with a thanking note, the client thanks her, hands over the pay cheque, and she leaves with the same bright smile.
Naina Ghai
The beautidul lady I was talking about is Naina Ghai, 25, whom you see as an emcee with a happy living, has a unique story of her journey that she shares. Born in a family that is neither too rich nor poor, Naina grew up in an environment which provided her needs until she was 9 years old, when she lost her father. Her mother, her siblings and Naina, were disowned by the rest of the family. With no knowledge of how to grow the kids, her mother, along with the three kids, left the city to help herself and the children to live a life of peace and to provide the children with right education. Naina’s mother, who had no knowledge of what next, began to attend spoken English classes and teachers’ training courses. She applied for jobs, but the pay package would not be enough to feed the family, since the salary would be almost equal to the rent for the house that provided shelter to them.

My mother had no idea of what we would do at that moment. She joined a beauty parlour course and a very few weeks after we shifted to Bangalore, she started her own beauty parlour. This inspired me to be more responsible. We were five of us - my grandmother, mother, two siblings, and myself. We stayed in a single bedroom flat, and we had to work harder to have a better living. So, we decided to prepare and sell food to people who did not have enough time to prepare it themselves. We had to cook and deliver about 40-50 orders every day. So, we employed a cook, who would help in the preparations, but unfortunately, he ran away to his native after two months. We could not stop the work, since we had invested money in it. So, we had to manage to get the work going; I would come back home after school, prepare almost half of the cooking work required so that, it would be easier for my mother who would come home tired after her work at the parlour”. Naina’s efforts to help the family earn, began when she was in her eighth grade itself. The family’s condition gradually grew when they started to have paying guests at their new home which was close to the beauty parlour, her mother owned. She still knew that they had to earn more to help her brother and her sister get quality education as they grew.
Naina Ghai
At the age of 15, she began to tutor the children who were just a year or two, younger than her. She knew it was the need of the family and had by then realized that her role was prominent for the family to live a happy life. At the tender age, when girls of her age have big dreams, Naina only knew that the family’s well being was her dream. Waking up early in the morning, going to school, getting back home, continuing with the tuitions, completing the remaining work at home became a routine. She began to search for a job during the holidays after her tenth grade when she found a golden opportunity, to sustain the family well, for some more time. She began to help a company sell their books, through which she would earn a commission. A marketing job is as such, generally not an easy one for anybody, but for Naina, it was more tedious because of her age. People wouldn’t listen to her; they would take her for granted. So, she began to approach schools where she could sell a large number of books. This became more challenging. The schools would make her wait for hours and sometimes days, to get to meet the principals. The authorities would not take her words seriously since she was too young to do the job she did. None of these stopped her from moving on and to move on amidst challenges was the attitude that made her grow. At the age of 16, she earned a commission of Rs. 2,00,000 for selling books of worth Rs.9,00,000 or more.

This experience boosted her confidence to do much more. She began to earn through event organizers, who would organize events, where she would take up roles at the reception handling registrations. She involved herself in all the activities of the college, especially, at the college fests, where she would participate in almost all management competitions, that would lead her to improve her leadership and management skills. "I once got an opportunity, when I was picked up for emceeing. I knew that I had to prove myself and only then, I could earn better. Difficulties and challenges did not allow me to sit back.  That was the first event I emceed and there is no look back" remarks she.
Naina Ghai
The initial days were tougher since the pay was not too high for emcees, but the work load was more for the payment she would receive. Emceeing for the whole day, along with taking care of travel and food for a less pay was not easy. On the other side, she had to attend classes in the college where she was completing her business management course. There was more to it. Considering the current scenario of unemployment, her mother enrolled her to join chartered accountant classes also. Amidst all of this, the biggest challenge was to travel in the metropolitan city, by public transport, for 100 or more kilometers every day. When asked how she would manage, she says, “Honestly, I had no other way out. That phase taught me the importance of planning. I had to attend classes regularly, attend my CA coaching classes, in between speak to the clients about the events. I would manage events during weekends. The condition then and the zeal to come out of the situation fast, kept me pushing. I picked up fast, in the domain. After my first three or four events of emceeing itself, I got opportunities to emcee at events which  invited high profiled celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Mandira Bedi and many more. Slowly, I began to emcee at many corporate events”.

She is firm in choosing a specific set of events, that includes corporate meets, press conferences, fashion shows, product launches, and onstage entertainment based shows. She firmly specifies, “A lot of today’s youth just grab every opportunity that reaches them. That is okay to a certain extent. I do not disagree with the rest, but for me, this is how it works. I only choose specific events that suit. I would also suggest this to the upcoming emcees, because the situations have changed and there is more scope for the profession. When I started my journey, the prices were never precise, and clients would bargain, but the scenario has completely changed. I stick to my prices and have a small buffer of an amount that could be more or less. If I reduce the pay for a single client, that will continue with everyone, which I do not do”.
There’s surely a huge market for the profession. I knew and I  grew as an emcee; I realised that I can lead rather then being led. I personally share opportunities with a few girls who are passionate . With just a few hours of working part-time as an emcee, they are able to earn a lot and support their living and education. I would definitely recommend this profession to anyone who aspires to become an emcee” she adds. Naina’s clients and associates include Fastrack, Lifestyle, Intel, Dell, Oracle, Samsung, Accenture, State Bank of India, SAP, ITC, Toyota Kirloskar and many more. She has certainly secured a high position in the profession and is currently on her travel to various events across the country and beyond. If we look back to see where it all started, the need to earn pushed her to perform, the dream to keep the family happy, impelled her to work harder, self-pressurizing made her look for more opportunities, the result of every action inspired her for the next and now, we all know her as a successful emcee.

She also appends a message, “It’s never too late to start and once you start, you should continue to move forward. Also, it’s important to visualize our dreams, this will help us to keep us motivated. We may or may not see the results of our efforts immediately, but it is bound to give the best results, on a long term.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 27th January 2016.
IJ Kavyashree
IJ Kavyashree is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine.

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