Dr. Suja Karthika is an academic, Research Enthusiast, and Motivation trainer or speaker, with a zeal to do outstanding work. She is skilled in Lecturing, Qualitative, and Case Study Research, Varied and Unique Training Modules. Suja is an ardent advocate of working with and for the society. Apart from being a trainer, Suja is also an Indian actress and dancer who has appeared in over 20 Malayalam films.
Q. How did you manage your studies and act simultaneously, since a very young age?
A. I was acting from my 10th grade until I completed my graduation. That’s nearly seven years. At that time, I had to manage my studies and acting simultaneously. It was not that easy. I had help from my family, friends, teachers, and guides, which helped me do an excellent job in my studies. Most preparations were done the day before the exam.
After Graduation, I decided that acting was not a profession that I can keep to my grade. I always thought that I’m not a great artist. It’s not that I’m not talented, but acting is not something that I would keep it as a souvenir or as a legacy. You need to be of utmost talent or have the willpower to hang to whatever happens or whatever generation comes in. I didn’t have that kind of conviction in my craft at that time.
Also, back in 2007, When I was 21 or 22 years old, that’s when I wanted a job because, at that time, a married actress means you are out of the industry. So, I don’t want to sit at home and think that I don’t have a job. Eventually, I quit acting to take on a full-time PGDM course in Finance and Marketing from SCMS Cochin School of Business, for which I won a gold medal.
Q. What was the primary motivation to start Exceller Training?
A. After I finished college, I got into teaching, which was a natural decision because I didn’t want to take up any other job. There were different options for me like I did my internship in a bank, and the first job that a Finance graduate is offered will be that of a teller. I can’t go sit as a teller in any bank in Kerala, because people, when they will see me, will ask me, “Oh! I have seen you somewhere?” And I was sure that such questions would have to be answered.
Then my father was a teacher, and I think that’s in my blood. My friend also told me that I could teach. So, these made me chose to be a teacher as a profession. So, I completed my Ph.D. I wanted to be a Doctor but couldn’t, so I took my Doctorate.
After Ph.D., there were two ways in front of me– retake my teaching job or do something else. So I went with the latter.
I was very passionate about training. I like meeting new people. I like talking to new people and sharing something valuable to them, which would change their perspective on that subject correctly. That’s was a fantastic achievement for me.
So, training can transform an individual, so that is why I came up with Exceller. I wanted to go on my own because I’m not a proper business trainer. I can’t do that! For me, the pleasure of meeting people and talking to them is more important than money. I can grow my business in the tangent I want to grow in!
Watch: Onam Message from Dr. Suja Karthika – https://youtu.be/n3_vi38aWow
Q. What can HR professionals expect from Exceller?
A. Theatric skills are our proprietary module. I made the contents for it. I decided on the module.
Theatric skills try to integrate acting and related skills into a person. So, for an HR professional or for people who love to do a presentation or has to engage with an audience or on a person-to-person level, it’s quite essential to use your voice there or appropriate gestures. Maybe you can bring in a little bit of comedy into what you are trying to say, have a narrative to whatever you say, or have a storytelling capability. So all these things are necessary to put up a show.
Theatric skill is an essential module. I have trained corporate people and team leaders. They have given feedback about how it has worked wonders for them, especially when interacting with clients.
So whenever there is a person-to-person or a person-to-audience attraction- theatric skills are great. It is entirely my making.
Specifically, for HR professionals, we have trained professionals taking courses such as HR analytics. This can be done with hands-on training. Exceller Training, in that case, would be a curator for the system. We will arrange everything for the professionals if they want to conduct that course. We have experienced people in that particular field within our contact, and we will arrange that course with the rate modules according to the company’s requirements.
We also have courses that go for corporates like stress management, time-management, and team-building skills. We are talking about all sizes of companies like startups, which might require modules on communication and motivation.
We are looking at quality content and quality delivery and hoping for holistic transformation.
Q. You have worked as a professor, actress, dancer, and now an entrepreneur. Which one do you love the most?
A. That would be difficult to say!
I was passionate about acting, but there came a time when I doubted myself. I was very young to understand the magnitude of things that I was doing. I was doing my work. It was all going in that flow.
Then I stopped acting, and immediately I joined for PGDM. So, there were challenges because I was trying to understand the world of management and was working hard to achieve my grades, and immediately I got my job.
Now when I sit and think I do miss acting, so to compensate, I’m working with advertisement agencies. Like, after the lockdown, I had some free time to do commercials for digital agencies. The passion is still there, maybe not acting, but I can talk like anchoring or something like that may come up.
Whereas dance is concerned, it’s the center of my creativity. I can’t imagine anything without dance. I will dance till my legs can carry me. It gives me a lot of pleasure and calmness, which is unexplainable.
While coming to training, it’s the same thrill. It’s a performance, after all. You are standing in front of an audience; you are training them. They respond to you by clapping or laughing or smiling, which is again an appreciation. For me, training is also exciting. I love training, and my participants also complement because I ensure that they have fun and gain some valuable lessons.
To summarize it shortly, I would say that I can’t distinguish between anyone of them.
Q. What is your advice to new startups regarding how they can finance or train their employees, especially during this economic crisis?
A. To be very honest, my personal experience with COVID was initially is that I enjoyed it because there was enough time to spend with my family, to cook up a million dish. But, the initial euphoria died down after the first month. There was a time when panic had settled because you didn’t know how long this would last.
Then I realized the point that– this is how the world is right now. Even if you sleep for like 21 hours and then get up, this is not a dream. You can’t get out of this dream by sleeping. You have to be awake. You need to fight this.
Understand that the situation has changed!
Look for business opportunities that are relevant at the current time and try to grab this opportunity before anyone else does it. This is your competition. You need to do that.
Mostly for IT-related firms, everything has gone online. There are people who require support for it. It is a business opportunity for them in that respect.
For example, theatric self-thought could be delivered only offline. I needed people’s interaction. I needed people to act and respond during my course. We easily managed to conduct this course online, and it was as effective as it was in the offline mode. The only thing is that you need to apply the element, which is time-thinking. It is very relevant and prevalent now.
Think about solutions that are generally not applied to your industry and try to integrate mad ideas into what you are currently doing to come up with something interesting, something better and more prominent.
Don’t limit your thinking. Try to think broad and big. Keep on trying. Maybe something will click.
I know this is a very uncertain time for the employees, but hold on and be patient. Like everyone says, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS!” Trust me. This is not your doing. You are not to blame for what is happening around you. We are all together in this, and you need to understand that and move on.