Biz Extra

Published: April 2, 2020 | Updated: April 8, 2020

20 Questions: Dr Sukanya Ayatakshi-Endow, Senior Academic in Entrepreneurship at BU

Dr Sukanya Ayatakshi-Endow: What would I like to be remembered for? My honesty, being an eternal optimist and wanting to make a positive impact on lives.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Each week we shine the spotlight on a member of Dorset’s business community and ask him, or her, for answers to our part fun/part serious questionnaire. This time…

She’s a great fan of TV sitcoms, loves the walk along Sandbanks by twilight, would like to share a long car journey with Barack Obama, The Pope and Hugh Jackman and gets frustrated by red tape (but don’t tell anyone!).

Dr Sukanya Ayatakshi-Endow, Senior Academic in Entrepreneurship at Bournemouth University, takes the 20 Questions’ hotseat.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: I love sitcoms. My all time favourite is Friends but I love Modern Family, This Country, QI and Have I Got News For You. 

Q: Who would you like to share a car with?

A: If I could have a car companion to choose for every long journey it would be a) President Obama as I am fascinated and charmed by almost every aspect of his work and his intellect; b) The Pope because I would want to soak in his spiritual thoughts; c) Hugh Jackman to rest my eyes!

Q: The best bit of my job is…?

A: The intellectual stimulation and the impact. I am blessed to have an academic career where I can shape minds and engage in intellectual thinking and creativity.

Q: And the worst…?

A: Ahem. Is this going to be published? Oh well, I will risk it! Red tape, I suppose, but that’s part of most larger organisations, It is an unending source of frustration for many.

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: I grew up on stories of freedom fighters and spiritual leaders but my childhood hero was always my mother. As far as I was concerned she could make everything happen.

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

A: There is no better smell to me than my son’s skin.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in Dorset?

A: The long walk along Sandbanks by the bay in the twilight hour watching the twinkling lights of Poole Harbour.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a career?

A: Career is a word that makes me think it is for life – and that makes me shudder! We must remain open to possibilities. That’s a key thing. You have to love the work you do. You need to thrive in it not just survive the job and earn a living. So listen to your heart, and do not be afraid to ask a million questions to your team mates, to your line manager so you know them and the work better and they understand you better. We spend most of our waking hours at work and so we need to make meaningful relationships there.

Q: What was your first record/CD?

A: We had cassettes! I grew up on Indian music including Rabindra Sangeet so we had a lot of that type of music but my very first western music cassette was in 1992. I got a shiny ‘Modern Talking’ cassette and I was hooked. And, of course, the music of Michael Jackson was for me and most people my age.

Q: What gets you angry?

A: The list is getting longer as I age but some things have not changed: gender inequality, unfairness, dishonesty and hypocrisy.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

A: I cannot pick a favourite piece but I listen to a lot of Indian classical music from Begum Akhtar to Girija Devi; from Anoushka Shankar to Zakir Hussain. but you will also find me listening to Bollywood hits, Radio 1 hits and everything in between.

Q: What are the qualities you look for in a new employee?

A: If I was a business owner I would look for a colleague not an employee (the latter has a power relationship in the very language) who is enthusiastic; is not scared of ‘authority’ and, therefore, can challenge decisions that are not positive for the organisation; is self-motivated and values work-life balance.

Q: What’s your favourite food or dish?

A: I am a total foodie! But my comfort food is rooted in my home cuisine (Bengali) which is ilish fish ( a type of mackerel I suppose) poached in mustard sauce and served with rice. Also any Bengali sweet dish that has sweetened fragrant milk and coconut in it.

Q: Steamed sponge pudding and custard or a plate of melon?

A: ONLY custard…and perhaps a slice of apple pie with it? Now I am going off on a flight of fancy!

Q: Name the best thing about living/working in Dorset?

A: The views around Dorset are incomparable. Also it is small and cosy enough to enjoy the beauty of Lulworth Cove as well as the charms of Wimborne or watch the Studland ferry and the channel ferries from a distance from the road at Sandbanks – and all in a day. On second thoughts, perhaps, two days!

Q: If you were Prime Minister for the day what would be the first thing you do?

A: I don’t think this is achievable for a one day PM but I would ensure that no child is out on the streets and no child is unsafe. This is most important to me.

Q: What’s your biggest frustration?

A: That in the year 2020 there is still no gender equality. It is still a work in progress. How bizarre!

Q:  Where’s your favourite holiday location?

A: Anywhere in India undoubtedly. But I absolutely loved Japan when I went there and cannot wait to go back.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

A: Travelling the world with my family, working on social impact projects and supporting women and children through my work albeit with a fair few more grey hairs!

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: For my honesty, for being an eternal optimist and for wanting to make a positive impact on lives.