Koral Dasgupta

Founder, Tell Me Your Story

Stories come to me naturally. I pride myself on my ability to work out a story any day, on any given situation. When circumstances forced me to take a break from a flourishing career, and I was too restless to adapt to the restrictions, I started writing. My first manuscript got picked within three months of completion. Today I have four books on the shelves, fifth is on editor's table. The writing career took off even before I had planned it well. I was never very ambitious, though. I preferred a comfortable life. Life changed with the birth of my son. I had the drive to be more, that my child deserved more. So, at a time when people slow down, I kicked the comfort out of the window with the ambition to leave behind a legacy. 

With the dream to intellectually empower a generation, I started a story network, Tell Me Your Story. I believe, if people are made conscious of their own stories, they wouldn't have to look for motivation outside. Soon, few friends came forward to form a team, sharing operational responsibilities. People have lots of stories. They just don’t know how or where to tell them. We worked out the answers for both and decided to work on a zero-rejection policy. We mentor, instead of rejecting submissions. 

Today we are a huge community of storytellers, supporting and cheering for each other. Though our audience is dominated by millennials, we are the voice for many home-makers, senior citizens and students who have a lot to say but very few to hear them out. We service various content requirements, workshops and 'storytelling' needs of the industry - ranging from corporate training to corporate communications to CSR, books, speeches and more. We generate 'doorstep' employment by engaging the underemployed talent from our community to service our projects. 

This is our growth story.

The work had been rewarding and brought a lot of satisfaction, along with a bucket of challenges at each step which we overcame with patience and planning. The learning has been incredible. I am a much-changed person today than what I was few years back. 

Every journey, however, brings you to a situation where you know your destination and yet, aren’t fully convinced. You want to explore unpredictable possibilities, solve more critical problems, dream bigger and are less scared of failures. The same happened with me. I was ready to take the next leap, embrace the next level of risks. There was no dearth of confidence and I had done my homework well. But I felt the need to get my thoughts evaluated by experts. That's just when I received an invitation to participate in Female Foundry, a programme run by Dentsu Aegis Network. Three full day workshops with Female Foundry brought together twelve women entrepreneurs, all hailing from different levels of starting up. The workshops were grilling, exhaustive and immensely impactful.

Most importantly, I made some friends. I am still connected with Yogita Ahuja, Riddhima Malhotra and others, who lent a lot of vibrance; we parted with promises to support each other whenever in need. An entrepreneur's life is lonely; very few understand the pressure, more so for women. Discussing business with each other without the fear of getting judged, was liberating. The workshops run by Dentsu Aegis Network with GEN helped me think harder and strategize without leaving gaps. They got me to face some fundamental questions, which I hadn't asked myself earlier. Those answers built supporting blocks for many other dilemmas I had before me. On the last day of Female Foundry, we were put before a team of mentors; interacting and listening to the knowledge banks were inspiring. 

The Female Foundry bootcamp would remain as one of the most pleasant and powerful inputs in my initial phase as a new, first generation entrepreneur.