Surendra Bir Malakar is a recognised figure in the business arena of Nepal. He has over five decades of experience in leading major business organisations of Nepal including the Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and National Business Initiative (NBI. He is passionate about the business environment in Nepal and believes true peace and development can start only with economic growth. Below he shares five things that have impacted his work and life.
FIVE THINGS THAT HAVE IMPACTED MY WORK AND LIFE
Both my mother and father had always taught me to think of my work as my God. I grew up in a family that was supportive and inspirational. They motivated me, took care of me and helped me become who I am today. They advised me never to fear mistakes but instead learn from them. They have instilled values of tolerance, respect, love and ambition in me. By profession, my family was involved in the medical line as chemists and druggists. My grandfather was a doctor and he had a very large family. My father started with the supply and distribution of medicine along with my grandfather, but later he shifted to construction. In my generation, I learnt both from my grandfather and my father about our family heritage and business. I built my own industry and then shifted to trading in which I am now focused.
After marriage, my wife became a pillar of support and my business has grown fairly stable and countrywide. My son moved into the restaurant and hospitality sector. My daughter also followed her brother and has graduated in hospitality management from Europe and is now settled in the United States in the same profession.
I am here because of all the hard working men and women who have been beside me in this long journey. I recognise the talent in individuals and nurture them. I believe that success in business or any other sector be it bureaucracy or academia is because of the team of supporters and subordinates. A leader is only as strong and vibrant as his team. We share positive energy in the team and motivate and support each other. Another thing of importance is the wide range of diversity that we need to foster in our team. Business requires consumer attention. And it is the team brings this to the customer. I owe my success to my team.
Organisational management goes beyond individual effort. In recent days, I have mostly retired from active management and my son Sovan Bir Malakar is involved in the daily operations. I am proud of the work he has done with his managerial and technical skills. In a very short frame of time, he has built excellent public relations as well. I am convinced that the seeds of business that were sown generations ago are in the right hands, and through right management systems we will continue to prosper and grow for generations to come.
I believe business always comes with social responsibility. Even before entering business, I started social work in my teens in 1978 through Leo Club of Kathmandu, a member of Lions International District 322 A. I started this journey as the General of this club. Later I was elected District Council Chairman of district 322 A in 1982 and overlooked operations in Bihar and Nepal jointly. Learning from this experience, I got into the chamber here. I was associated with Nepal Chamber of Commerce where I got elected as President for two successful tenures. During my term as President in the Chamber, political upheaval struck the economy adversely. I had to walk a fine balance in promoting business in a very chaotic environment. My tenure was one of the toughest to be faced by any business leader in Nepal. Therefore, it became imperative for me to seek partnerships and associations with leaders other than business such as in bureaucracy, academia, media and so on. I am also currently President of Nepal Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was also with the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) for two terms. I am also associated with over a dozen other business and social organisations. One of the most important outcomes during tough leadership in those days was the formation of National Business Initiative where I am serving as Secretary General at present. NBI was formed out of need to deal with political uncertainty, lack of rule of law, and also promotion of socially responsible business practices.
I value positive attitude. Attitude is what makes leadership. As I mentioned earlier, I have worked as business leader in the toughest political times Nepal has faced. There were innumerable challenges even to sustain existing businesses during those times, let alone start new ventures. There were a lot of legitimate as well as illegitimate demands from government bureaucracy, armed rebels, and so on. It was very difficult to advocate business interest under such circumstances. But I never lost hope and always held on to the firm conviction that no matter how difficult the time, I would come up successful. And I did. I not only managed domestic relations but also promoted my business as well as the business organisation, the Chamberâ€¦ leading them in international markets, mainly Europe and Asian markets. The business environment now in Nepal is much more favourable. I am pleased with the outcome of the hard work that we put into the Chamber and FNCCI. I would not have been successful without the mental strength that I acquired through a positive attitude.