As the eldest child in his family, a sense of responsibility was resonant in Shanker Adawal’s personality from the very beginning. His parents never interfered in conversations about the future, trusting that their child could choose, and choose well for himself. At a time when Economics was not the most sought-after subject in Indian education, Shanker Adawal decided to pursue it. His mother was always one to inspire him, being the first woman to attain a PHD in English Literature in Uttar Pradesh. After closing the loop with an MBA from DU, Shanker Adawal entered the professional world at DCM, when the concept of computing was something out of a science fiction novel. This was his first experience in the corporate sector, and for it to be a behemoth like DCM, set the tone for the years that would follow. In order to further his skills in strategy & engineering, he then joined Larsen & Toubro in the department of prospective planning. This episode in his life helped him look at the trees as well as at the forest. Seeing the bigger picture, and all the gears that would have to run in unison to help achieve the goal ahead.

After his experience, at the age of 27, Shanker Adawal decided to try his hand at entrepreneurship. This was perhaps, the greatest learning curve he would have to go through in the larger scheme of things. He created a factory for the manufacturing of axels for cars. While demand was always high, the output fell short.
“I always had faith in my abilities, but it takes a lot more than that to keep your own enterprise going. Even though that was my first & brief brush with failure, it taught me a lifetime of lessons that I carry with me with whatever task I undertake.” It was this loss, both in terms of time and money that led Shanker Adawal back to the corporate world. But he was now a different person; young in years but wizened by all that he had learned in such a short period of time. His stints with TATA & Nortel were exciting as that was the time the Indian economy was opening up to the world. He learned various techniques both professionally in the world of telecom, as well as personally, in interpersonal skill development. With Nortel, he was able to open his eyes to how things functioned internationally, both in terms of procedures & professional etiquette.

In 1998, Shanker Adawal entered a long and prosperous alliance with Reliance. He used all the wisdom he had gained over the years and applied it to all the various departments at Reliance, with a holistic mindset towards the smooth functioning of all the gears in the Reliance machinery. Looking back at the wealth of experience Shanker Adawal has acquired through working with stalwarts in the industry, it is safe to say that learning from him would be enriching your mind in multiple avenues, both professional & personal. When asked for any advice he had for people entering the workforce, he had this to say, “I work with a very young team and after seeing them in their natural habitat I would tell them three things: patience is the mother of all virtues, and all great things take time. Don’t be in a hurry to succeed, as you may miss out on important learnings along the way. Another thing I would tell them is to look up from their phones & computers from time to time. I know this is coming from the person who ushered in the computer revolution in India, but it has become the be all to everyone. The last piece of advice I would give the youth is that they don’t have to chase money, they must be in pursuit of wealth. Money is just one thing, wealth encompasses all the things that make one’s life rich; knowledge, a flourishing personal life, and of course, enough money to keep you comfortable.”

RELIANCE INDUSTRIES: Creating a world class university through JIO has been a dream come true for me. Today, I am working on bringing broadband home, with broadcasting & content integrated as a unified service.
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES: Actively involved in the setup of retail formats in India and complying with government regulations on the same. Spearheaded the setting up of network petroleum outlets pan India & coordinated with the Petroleum Ministry, Road Transport Ministry & Highways to ensure the project was completed on time. In the field of sports, I have initiated the concept of a JV with IMG, marking Reliance’s entry into the world of sporting through football & basketball.
A project that was exciting and challenging was the expansion of Jamnanagar as an SEZ, had to coordinate with a multitude of government agencies to ensure the compliances were in place and the project was completed in time.
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES: Joined as General Manager, was promoted to President in 2004. During my early years at Reliance, I was responsible for the end to end set up of the Cellular Mobile Telephone Services in North India. Worked consistently for a change in policy that would take us from limited mobility to full mobility. After a successful campaign, the program was launched by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Apart from this, I was the single point man for resolution of regulatory issues concerning the legality of setting up cellular services.
NORTEL: Given the responsibility to start Nortel operations in India. Nortel was the largest Canadian telecom company with supplies around the world. Traveled across the world to understand the industry practices, new products and thought leadership in this sector. Additionally, with Nortel, I oversaw a team of more than 100 people wherein we handled getting approvals for all import/export requests and orders for transmission equipment. Acquired the first Public Data Packet Switching Network order for Teleglobe (subsidiary of NORTEL) for the Govt Of India through DOT.
TATA (NELCO): As Regional Manager in Delhi, I handled the C-DOT electronic exchanges & looked after EPABX sales. Nelco soon became the primary supplier of C-DOT exchanges. Due to this appointment, I had in-depth exposure in the field of Law, contracts & govt. relations. I was given an additional role for the position of Marketing Manager for C-DOT exchanges & quickly turned that into a profit centre.
MODI XEROX: Directly responsible for national accounts, major accounts, branch & regional operations. Key person in the negotiations and subsequent agreement for an alliance with Rank Xerox in the United Kingdom. Modi Xerox was one of the first Indian companies to get training in international practices for sales & marketing.
LARSEN & TOUBRO: Helped with the setup of the dealer network. This entailed extensive community interaction & marketing with the locals to educate them about the use of starters with motors.
DCM DATA PRODUCTS: Joined as a management trainee in planning & strategy for sales of computers & calculators, both foreign concepts at the time. Worked very closely with the CEO at the time, Shashi Ullal.