Young, Smart & Gritty - Vinod Kumar Baratakke

His boss heaps praise on his performance, his work speaks for itself and his humility is infectious. Our Mystian of the Month Vinod (V) has proven multiple times that grit, aside from talent, is the key to success. Mystifly (M) caught up with the man of the hour and here goes his story.  

M: Raised in a small town in North Karnataka, what was it like to be a small-town boy in a big city?  

V: Born in Ranebennuru, I spent most of my childhood with the lovely folks of the Taluk. A small city of 2 km range, Ranebennuru is full of joy, warmth, and happiness. Our ethnicity is our identity. Hence, learning the foreign language English was a massive challenge. The lack of opportunities meant I had to move out to hunt for jobs.  

My biggest hurdle was cracking an interview. I still remember how I blanked out during my first job interview in Bangalore. After multiple attempts, failures, and learnings I bagged my first job at Reliance Infostreams in Chennai. It marked a new beginning for my family and me.  

MWhat made you chose the Airline Industry as your career option and why Mystifly 

V: After a short stint in Chennai, I got the opportunity to venture into the Airline Industry through Kingfisher. It wasn’t all good times there. The company's situation left me frantically looking for another job in the Airline Industry. I came across Mystifly through a close friend of mine, Asha, who was working there. A mid-sized company with less than 100 employees, a small corporate office in Kasturba Road, I was a little dubious about this whole idea. But Asha’s feedback of the organization and her love for the company convinced me to give it a shot. I applied for an opening, cracked the interview, and bagged the job at Mystifly.  

M: When you joined Mystifly, the Airline Industry was now a known territory. Take us through your journey and challenges with Mystifly... 

V: Vijay Mallya to Rajeev Kumar, the transition was overwhelming and relaxing. I joined Mystifly as a Customer Service Executive in 2012. I was given the opportunity to work with global clients and help resolve their queries. I loved the grind of daily meetings, challenging projects, troubleshooting and resolving client complaints. A team of four, we always strived to achieve perfection by repeatedly making mistakes, picking ourselves up, and learning along the way.  

My hard work bore fruit when I was promoted to a Team Lead with a team of six reporting to me. It encouraged me to lead by example by putting in extra hours and giving it my best. Having struggled with communication in my early days, I always pushed my team to develop that skill and helped them to perform to their potential.  In 2017, Vivek Goyal recognized my abilities and offered me an opportunity to serve as an Account Manager. From then on things took a turn for the better. 

M: A music lover. A workaholic. A family man. For those who know you, you seem to juggle these roles with ease. How does a day in Vinod's life look like?  

V: My day-to-day life is simple. Being a music lover, I wake up in the morning at 6:30 am and listen to music to begin my day. After a quick catch up on daily news and headlines, I spend time with my family, enjoy the morning breakfast, and head to work. With a clear agenda in my head, I prioritise my work and try my best to ensure its completion by end of the day.  

Once home after work, I make it a point to go for long walks with my wife where we discuss the happenings of the day. After some quality dinner time with family, I call it a night.  

M: Having been part of the Mystifamily for over five years now, who would you like to credit for your growth and learnings at Mystifly  

V: From day one Septhar has been my mentor, guide, and leader. He’s like the Sachin Tendulkar of Mystifly. He knows in and out of Mystifly, I love working for the taskmaster. His work is always top-notch and ensures perfection in everything he does. Special shout out goes to Shazia Asra for guiding me along the way and keeping the cheer in the team. With her around, there’s never a dull moment in the office. Sumon Mitra has been my constant support and an adviser. His experience and skill set inspire me till date.  

Without my colleagues I would not have been able to climb the ladder to where I am today. They understand my weakness and help me push beyond my capabilities and I cannot thank them enough for their support.  

M: Everybody goes through highs and lows. What were yours at Mystifly  

V: My highlight moment was when I received a compliment from a client that I recall to this day. In the early days, we faced a lot of trouble with technology, ticketing, reissuance etc. During one such instance, I happened to help a client with her query. Her compliment, “You’re my Hero”, gave me a sense of satisfaction and reassured me that what I was doing was indeed the right thing.  

The challenging times have started now. The new structure in the company hurls challenges at me and keeps me on my feet. I thrive on such challenges and aim to get better at achieving the goals. 

M:  Coming from humble beginnings, it wasn't all rosy and dandy for you. Who was your support system and how did they help you brace through the challenges?  

V: My support system has always been my family. Coming from very humble beginnings, my parents sacrificed a lot to give me the best education. From managing a very successful travel business to running a flour mill, they always ensured that nothing affected my education.  My backbone has been my wife, KalpaHaving met her through a matrimony site, I believe that she was the best thing that has ever happened to me. She always wants the best for me and we keep pushing each other to succeed in our professional careers.  

M: The best way to predict the future is to create it. How do you plan to do that?  

V: The future looks ambitious. On a professional front, I wish to continue striving to achieve perfection in everything I do. Having grown from a Customer Service Executive, to a Team Lead, to now an Account Manager, I will aim to grow as a Department Head and earn the opportunity to work closely with the management.  

On a personal front, I will continue to make my parents proud.  They're aging, and I will make a conscious effort to spend more time with them and take care of their needs. Being an ardent follower of the Saint of the Gutters, Mother Teresa, I also look to support charities and do my share to help the repressed in the society.  

I would like to sign off by quoting Mother Teresa, "Spread the love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." 

Keep the smile on your face and spread the cheer, joy and love wherever life takes you. Mystifly wishes you greater success ahead.  

  

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