“Challenges, in general, are very healthy for growth for any business. Being able to challenge myself motivates me, and I hope I can grow more in my field in the coming days.”
SOHANA ROUF CHOWDHURY is the Managing Director of Rangs Motors Ltd. and the daughter of renowned business icon, A. Rouf Chowdhury. At Rangs she looks after the overall company but mainly handles Sales and Marketing, overcoming the challenges that come while selling commercial vehicles in a price sensitive and competitive market. She is also a Business Graduate having Majored in Economics from New York University, USA.
Given the nature of the Bangladeshi culture, how did you manage to thrive in a sector dominated by men such as the automobile and real estate industries?
First of all, I have never looked at it that way; I have never felt that being a woman will make any difference at all. It is the quality of my contribution that thrives and aspires. I have never faced any challenges that I could not overcome. It was quite the opposite rather. In any area, being a competent individual helps the most.
Businesses are made of people, so ultimately, it’s a social experience. Helping others, being curious, assuming positive intent, being able to serve and work with people productively and remain in a constant open state of learning and evolution always managed to elevate those who put in a good amount of effort. I guess that is how I have managed, and I hope I can do better in the coming days.
You have your hands in various fields of business such as automobiles, cosmetics, jewelry, real estate, and banking. Which venture defines you the most?
Automobiles, because it serves a huge purpose in my country. The nation is developing bit by bit, and the mode of transportation for most is public vehicles. The majority of the buses plying in Dhaka are Eicher Buses, and it truly is surreal for me still. Challenges, in general, are very healthy for growth for any business. Being able to challenge myself motivates me, and I hope I can grow more in my field in the coming days.
It feels great when people come and tell me; they have made a good amount of profit by buying buses and trucks from our company. I wait to hear such inspiring words more. If my contributions bring about the slightest of positive changes for the nation, I will consider myself successful.
You have worked and collaborated with several international brands, how do they compare with their counterparts available locally?
First of all, I would like to add that in Rangs Group, it is about setting the tone, the example of the culture, being robust and open when things get tough and questioning success and challenging the team when things are good. All those things translate to creating a culture where people work to achieve mutually beneficial goals – that delivers profits and progress, but meaning and connectivity at the same time. I have been blessed enough to be able to work with International brands. We carefully choose them, because we believe in the name. We believe in the brands, which are inline with the ethics and values of our company. It brings a smile to my face as I say, ‘Gitanjali is the only Diamond branded jewelry in Bangladesh.’
What scope and opportunities do woman entrepreneurs have in the Bangladesh economy right now?
Scope and opportunities must be created, let your work do the talking, let your efforts pave it’s way in, be it a man or woman. One’s gender should not make a difference. Well, I’ve learned that the combination of curiosity, resilience and purpose-filled passion is almost an unstoppable formula. Leadership is about the team, the culture you keep and embrace the empathy for your customers, clients, employees and the communities where you do business. It’s about doing the right thing for the right reasons, being confident enough to take risks and responsible enough to think of those who your decisions and risks may affect.