Dr Tejashree Colvalcar speaks about the various responsibilities she handles and the lessons learnt while balancing
Dr Tejashree Colvalcar can be best described as a woman who juggles myriad roles, be it that of an academician, a mother of a national level sportsperson, a wife, a business owner, and someone who firmly believes in being independent.
She is Goan by origin but was born and brought up in Kerala where she spent her early childhood amidst the beautiful backwaters of Kerala; and is able to speak Malayalam and Kannada fluently. She did her early schooling in Kerala and was brought up in Calicut and Ernakulum. During, her sixth grade she shifted from Ernakulum to Colaba, Mumbai and completed her 10th grade from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, post which she completed her 11th and 12th grade from KC College at Churchgate in Mumbai. She then pursued her Bachelors in Electronic Engineering from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), at Mumbai, graduated with distinction and earned the Ratan Tata Scholarship, along with other Indian scholarships to go abroad for further education. She then went to the University of Kansas, USA to pursue a Masters in Computer Engineering, followed by a Masters in Business Administration in Information Technology where she topped by scoring a 4.0 GPA for both her degrees.
Dr Tejashree completed her entire education abroad on a full scholarship awarded to her by the University as well had her tuitions fees waived off, due to her outstanding academic performance as she featured on the Dean’s merit list every semester. She was also taken in as a teaching assistant to teach undergrad students at the university while pursuing her Masters. After completing her MS and MBA she worked as a Management Consultant for Boeing in Seattle. Then 9/11 happened and after seeing the change in people’s attitude towards non-Americans, she decided to come down to Goa; as her parents had settled in their ancestral house in Panjim, after relocating from Mumbai. “I graduated with savings rather than an education loan due to the scholarship funds I used to get and was able to purchase a house in Porvorim after I relocated to Goa,” says Tejashree.
When she came back to Goa, she thought of teaching in Business school and applied to the Goa Institute of Management where she taught for two years. She later realised that if she wanted to pursue a career in academics, she had to earn a Ph.D. and enrolled at Goa University to pursue the same; where she was also given an offer to teach there. While pursuing her Ph.D. she taught MBA students at the university.
She completed her Doctorate in 2009, which she received at the hands of Pratibha Patil, the then President of India. Dr Tejashree taught at Goa University from 2004 till 2014. In 2011, she began teaching as a visiting faculty at the University of Applied Sciences at Ingolstadt, and also at Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW), Ravensburg, both in Germany. “I would spend three to four weeks in Germany to teach courses like Supply Chain Management which I continued even after leaving Goa University, till 2021. I would travel to Germany every year except in 2021 where the classes were held online due to Covid. I then changed my subject and started teaching Cross-Cultural Management in International Business while researching the same and have published an article on Cross Cultural Management in the peer reviewed Washington University Journal in 2020. I have also been a speaker at the industry conference and spoke on Industry 4.0, and provided corporate training to German industry personnel in Cross Cultural Management while at Ravensburg.”
When in Germany, Dr Tejashree was introduced to sailing; a sport she did not know existed as an Olympic sport. “All my colleagues at the business school were into sailing and I was invited to the sailing club during the weekends. That’s when I realised that there are two facets to this sport, leisure and competitive sailing.” Seeing youngsters brave against the open waters was a revelation for her which piqued her interest in sailing.
Presently Dr Tejashree manages her husband Dr Milind Colvalcar’s Hospital – Mapusa Clinic Medical Centre as well as his fertility clinic, IVF Angels Goa. “My husband Dr Milind is a senior gynaecologist and obstetrician, a laparoscopic surgeon, and an infertility specialist. I was always away from the hospital’s management as I was into academics, but in 2014 when my husband took over the hospital after his father’s partner retired; he needed someone to manage the administration of the hospital as his main priority were his patients.
Hence, I thought I should help in managing the hospital and gave up teaching at Goa University and threw myself wholeheartedly into the management of Mapusa Clinic. I realised that my husband was extremely passionate about treating infertility and always wanted to help couples who were challenged with the same. He wanted to provide treatment for infertility at an affordable cost. I took it upon myself to start the IVF Centre and in August 2016 we started work on the IVF Centre and by December we had our first IVF batch of six patients. By February 2017, we had positive results for five out of the six patients and then decided to run a full-fledged IVF centre. Today, we are in our eighth year of operations with an excellent success rate. In mid 2020 we revamped the whole IVF lab and acquired state-of-the-art equipment imported from Japan.”
Dr Tejashree also runs her own pharmacy, Angels Chemist and Druggist at Mapusa which she started in 2018. She also runs the Ultrasound Imaging Centre at Mapusa Clinic Hospital.
Dr Tejashree’s daughter, Pearl is a national award-winning skiff sailor and windsurfer who is now into laser sailing and is ranked No. 2 in India. Pearl’s career as a sportsperson took off in 2016, the same year when Dr Tejashree started the IVF centre. “You can imagine how hard this was. I had to take my daughter for training at the Naval sailing club in Vasco every single day from Panjim, and this is something that I have done for two years straight. I became Pearl’s full-time team manager and we had to travel the length and breadth of the country to participate in Regattas. Pearl was on the national circuit and we would visit different states together to participate in various national ranking events. Today Pearl is on the Indian sailing team and recently represented India at the World Championships held at Greece. Pearl has represented India at multiple events abroad including three World Championships, two European Championships and two Asian Championships. Pearl ranked 4th in Asia at the Asian Championship held at Thailand last year. It has been quite a journey right from the time she began sailing till today.
I was appointed by the Sports Authority of India at Delhi as the Indian Team Manager for the recent World Championships at Greece. I thank the Sports Authority of India for this opportunity. For the National Games which concluded on the 9th of November this year, I was appointed by Yachting Association of India as Team Manager for the Goan Yachting Team. This is something that comes naturally to me now as I have attended lots of International events and managed the sailors.” Having been an active part of the National Games 2023, Dr Tejashree says that “The Goa Government has put in a lot of effort, especially the Sports Minister, Govind Gawde, to make the games a success.”
Having played various roles, Dr Tejashree has had her fair share of challenges. She feels that with regards to the hospital she has not been able to devote much time in making people aware of the services they offer. “We offer many advanced services in IVF and laparoscopic surgery which we are unable to convey maybe due to shortcomings in spreading awareness of treatment options available, which needs to be addressed. There are so many advances in health-care today as it is a continuously evolving area and people need to discuss their health issues with their doctors, which will enable them to make more informed choices. People often resign to their fate without even finding out if a solution is available particularly in the field of infertility as such a topic is often considered taboo. I feel that this is a challenging roadblock for health-care providers.”
Dr. Tejashree says that her biggest support is her husband Dr Milind. “He has always encouraged me in all my endeavours. He has always supported Pearl in her decision to pursue sailing which is an unconventional path.”
“I have also been independent from a very young age and I have made my daughter independent, too. Our focus at home is always to make everyone independent in terms of decision-making and being responsible for their actions. In today’s day and age, women need to be independent and I feel we must all take charge of making our own decisions.”
Dr. Tejashree concludes with a message to aspiring women entrepreneurs. “Firstly, concentrate on gathering strong skill sets so that you can use them to achieve greater heights in your chosen field. Next, start by setting achievable goals and celebrate small successes in between. These intermediate successes are your motivational propelling engines. Lastly, there is no substitute for hard work. There is always success at the end of the road. All these are stepping stones leading to a definite roadmap to success.”