Mihika Shaha is the Managing Director of Zenith Experiences Travel Services. After her studies in Australia in human resource management, Shaha returned to Nepal and started her career in 1997 in the hospitality industry. “Tourism is such a field; once you get into it, you are hooked,” she says. Five years of experience with Fish Tail Lodge during the start of her career gave her the right exposure required to enter the tourism industry. “It gave me the opportunity to meet travel trade insiders, build relationships and pointed me in the right direction,” she says.
“Zets was started in 1998 by my husband and in 2003 I decided to get into our own travel business as I was passionate about every process of travel management,” she shares about her journey with the company. Today, she is recognised for her expertise in outbound tourism and claims to be one of the first to start it in Nepal in 2003.
In this edition of B360, Mihika Dhakhwa shares with Ankita Jain the five major highlights of her life and career which have shaped her present.
An Inspiring Father
I had my education at St Mary’s. Irrespective of my gender, my father always pushed me to learn everything. He was very encouraging. Since he was in sports, I got to travel with him now and then since a very young age. My passion for travelling was inculcated by him. Through his presence, I always got that push to groom myself into a better being. And these things help when you are building a career.
Passion for Travelling
My passion for travelling is such that the validity of the passport is ten years but the pages in the passport get used up within two years. Because of the outbound business that I am in, I have travelled to more than 30 countries.
Also, I am very particular about things. For any recce, I make sure to visit the place and involve myself in the planning of the tour packages.
Though my initial travelling memories are with my father when I travelled to many places within and outside Nepal; today with my travel business, I travel overseas more. Mainly, I handle corporate incentive tours. Out of all the corporate tours, the one we organised during FIFA World Cup 2018 was the most challenging. We had to manage different groups totalling up to 200 people, take them for matches and more. The experience tested our aptitude but it went as planned. Later, we organised a similar tour, but much smaller in size during the ICC world cup last year.
Zenith Training Institute
Every time I would look for a new employee or workforce, I used to feel a huge gap between the candidate’s academic and professional knowledge. To fill in the gap, I established Zenith Training Institute in 2008. We became the IATA authorised training centre in 2009 and launched internationally certified diploma courses. Before introducing the training institute here, I did the course first in Mumbai’s International Training and Development Institute. Having first-hand experience, I knew that a lot of youth required this exposure. We have been conducting IATA Diploma courses along with our local short courses for the past 11 years now. So far we have trained around a thousand students. Though academic qualification is important, such vocational trainings give you placement. IATA courses are registered in Canada. We are just a mediator and trainer.
I have been through a devastating tragedy in life and my son is the reason for me to carry on. I had a sole responsibility of bringing up my child and this episode in my life made me very strong. I focused on my work to divert my mind and kept myself extremely busy. I put all my energy and time into this company and this is how I built my career. I am blessed to have a supportive family who helped me to move on and take care of my child. Today my son is 15 years old and we are like friends. After all the ups and downs in life, now I feel I am sailing smooth and very content. The worst of situations have made me the strongest.
I have been doing a lot of meditation and reading spiritual books. I am born Hindu and my in-laws are Buddhist. I have followed Buddhist teachings and learnt to let go of things in life. It helped me a lot then. Buddhism also teaches about compassion. One teaching which stays with me is that the world is suffering and it is not just you.