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ICONIC DIVAS – Ratan Kaul, Public Diplomat at Large

By Neelima Agrawal

When Keith Ferrazzi, writer of the book, “Never Eat Alone”, knowingly said, “The Currency of real networking is not greed but generosity”, I could not but agree with him, especially after having met the feisty Ratan Kaul, a lady who juggles several important portfolios with ease and poise. She is ever ready to extend a helping hand to anyone, entrepreneurs, struggling artists, fledgling authors, connecting them with relevant persons, inviting them to events, and winning hearts as she goes along.

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Understated in demeanor and dress, she is constantly on the go organizing book launches, conferences, diplomatic events, charity initiatives. In her capacity as the Vice President at ICUNR (Indian Council of UN Relations) and also at ICHR (Indian Council of Human Relations), Registered Trust founded by Dr. L.M. Singhvi, she knows and is known to the diplomatic community in India. She is also the advisor to the Copenhagen based President’s Institute in India.

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She happens to be the Executive President of the Kashmiriyat Preservation Foundation & Advisor of the Delhi Literature Festival, where she is actively involved. Recently she organized the book reading session of Siddhartha Gigoo’s book, ‘A Long Dream of Home’, about the plight of Kashmiri pundits. The event was attended by top press persons and politicians, among others.

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Apolitical by nature, she hobnobs seamlessly across party barriers. Sonia Gandhi, President of NDA, or Sushma Swaraj of BJP, or Shashi Tharoor, or a Farooq Abdullah, or Arvind Kerjariwal of AAP, or Amar Singh, politicians of all shades, whether in power at the center or not, Ratan Kaul is at ease with them all.

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She is an absolute antithesis of the popular perception of high profile net working persons. No, I have never seen her strutting around with that air of self-importance, surrounded by cronies, trailed by an assistant, constantly checking or talking on her phone. On the contrary, she does not have a mobile phone, no electronic device, no Dictaphone in hand or discreet secretary reminding her about her sundry appointments, nothing at all, not even a pen in hand! So how does she really keep track of her various engagements? It’s a mystery that I am yet trying to get to the bottom of.

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Besides all of the above lofty designations, Ratan is also the Consulting Editor, for Business Sphere, General Secretary for Shanti Sahyog (Registered not-for-profit organization) and Hon’y Secretary, (Jammu & Kashmir) AASHIANA [ Regd NGO]. But it was in her capacity as Chief Advisor, BRIDGES, A Women’s Empowerment Initiative, Connecting Women , that we asked her related questions.

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What, in your opinion, are the qualities in women that make them outstanding achievers?

Ratan Kaul – Women have a more comprehensive approach to all issues which involves the heart, as much as it does the brain. This gives them a deeper understanding, and therefore better control. They are definitely better jugglers and expert at multitasking.

More women are holding important portfolios across all sectors, and there is an increased number of women entrepreneurs today. What has changed in the last two decades to make this possible?

RK – Our generation got more freedom to study, and we passed that down. More educated mothers, will result in empowering the next generation with better opportunities.

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You are regularly featured in magazines and page 3 of popular dailies. Do you enjoy partying?
RK – (laughs) Parties are major arena for networking, some very serious work gets done here. Honestly, it is all work for me. But as you can see I enjoy my work, so yes it is all good fun. And most of my contacts are also my good friends.

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She echoes the sentiment of Dr. Ivan Misner, another networking ‘Guru’ who said, “First, you have to be visible in the community. You have to get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting or net-eating. It’s called Net-WORKING. You have to work at it.”

Tags: Ratan Kaul, Keith Ferrazi, Sonia Gandhi, President of NDA,  Sushma Swaraj,  BJP,  Shashi Tharoor, Farooq Abdullah, Arvind Kerjariwal, AAP, Amar Singh, Shehnaz Hussain, Najma Heptullah, Dr. Ivan Misner, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Nirbhaya

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