Meet the Match
A CEO Bringing Hope to Bangalore through Basketball
Born in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Pavithra Chandra grew up in a loving family of four, and spent most of her life in Gujarat before moving back to her hometown. While other girls in her apartment complex liked to sit and chat after school in the courtyard, Pavithra liked to be active and play outdoor games. As a result, she often found herself as the only girl competing with the boys in intense neighborhood cricket matches. And as the only girl, Pavithra was often relegated to merely fetching the balls that were hit outside the compound, never given a chance to pitch or bat.
Desperate to become part of the action, Pavithra struck a deal with her mother: “If I earn the best marks and finish in the top ten in my class this year, will you please buy me my own cricket gear?” Her mother agreed. After a lot of hard work, Pavithra showed up to the neighborhood with full cricket attire and brand new equipment. She proudly puffed out her chest and told the boys, “Today, I bat all day.”
Pavithra thanks those boys for pushing her and helping her to discover the determination she’s always had to be successful inside and outside of sports. From 1997 to 2001, she was a member of India’s women’s national basketball team, and at the end of her athletic career she dedicated herself to her studies, earning an MBA in marketing and human resources from Mount Carmel Institute of Management.
Throughout her time in basketball, Pavithra always felt frustrated by the lack of organized training and attention given to the women’s game. She felt that female players were not encouraged to pursue sports as a viable career option. Furthermore, the cultural pressure from Indian parents to prioritize academics meant that most teenagers, male and female, either dropped sports altogether or approached it as a secondary hobby. However, Pavithra was lucky to have very supportive parents that allowed her to pursue a career in sports and “be the change” needed in her society.
Already experienced in upper management roles with the Paralympic Committee of India and Olympic Gold Quest Foundation, Pavithra launched B7 Sports Management in 2008, where she is the CEO of the organization. She is driven to change the perception of sports in Bangalore and throughout India.
“We work in consulting, event management, and run a sports academy,” Pavithra says. “In all of these, we emphasize the health and empowerment of kids and women, because they are so neglected in our society.”
For all of B7 Sports’ successes during its seven-year existence, challenges have always been present. An Indian blueprint for how to have success in the sports field doesn’t exist, and few mentors are available to guide Pavithra in her professional journey. Currently, Pavithra is searching for new strategies and insights on how to work with government to influence policymaking and create the type of lasting change that Title IX has in the United States.
“Every change we’ve made has been met with some resistance,” Pavithra says. “But, I know that if we take a step back, we’d never go anywhere. We want to be an example for other women and community programs in our city and in our country.”
By participating in the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), Pavithra hopes to grow her abilities in securing strategic partnerships, marketing her program, and attaining buy-in from key stakeholders, including parents, neighborhood authorities, corporate sponsors, sports associations, government, and other NGOs. We believe Julie Eddleman, Global Client Partner at Google, is the perfect mentor for the job. With Julie’s extensive background in marketing and promotions, her passion for women’s empowerment, her mentorship experience and investment in this program, and Google’s vast global presence, Pavithra will find exactly what she needs to make her dreams a reality. We are excited to see what these two visionaries dream together and the ways it will change the future for Bangalore and beyond.Read the Blog Article