PAGE 03: Leading the Charge

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By Impana Kulkarni

“My mind works fastest in a crisis, it is what I love doing!” Mrunal Walke, General Manager, ESG, has been managing and juggling tasks since college. An arts graduate, she has jumped across various different jobs before this; from product design and IT, to HR and marketing. Enveloped by people already in a meeting with her and those waiting to meet her, The Peacock victoriously managed to pull her into a quick conversation.

“I have been lucky to get good bosses. My boss in Bangalore Kiran Reddy surprised me. He taught me how to work with a team. If anyone on the team even developed a slight fever, we would all drop everything and go visit because ‘Kiran ne bulaya (Kiran called us)’.” With an easy-going attitude Mrunal recollected few more instances of how working under a good leader can teach lasting lessons. “Another CO I worked under, Sharad Heda, would always say, ‘Data speaks!’ I worked in HR then. The difficult job of terminating employment of the staff would fall on me. He taught me to collect reviews and data on everything and everybody – a 360 degree data accumulation, before arriving at a decision.”

Armed with experience from diverse fields, in 2013, Mrunal got appointed as the Additional Private Secretary to the then Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar. Describing her time working for him she said, “Parrikar was very straight forward. For him, it was either a yes, or a no, nothing in-between. With him I didn’t feel pressured to agree all the time. If I couldn’t do it, I could tell it to him upright. It felt good to work like that.” 

It was in 2015 that Mrunal first started work at the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG). “With ESG we had a different vision. We wanted to have an event management company catering to government requirements, and employ staff for a long term so that they could understand, implement and work on the system.” Under her managerial guidance, ESG has conducted many events over the years, gradually improving on its aspects and reach. Elaborating on how multi-faceted events conducted by ESG are, she remarked, “We cannot depend entirely on the government as our work is more dynamic, not purely administrative.”

Mrunal finds it hard to pick an event that she enjoyed the most in the past 5 years. “They are all different! For me, no two events are comparable. Each one whether big or small has its own charm and requires different preparation and planning. Even the short event of unveiling the renovated INOX recently was so exciting. Events are always fun!” 

Through all the hectic last minute critical thinking and managing, Mrunal also longs for a break where she can cook up her favourite dish leisurely then prop her legs up and relax. For now though, elaborate dishes don’t matter. “I would be just as happy with a plate of rice and pickle!” We all love the rush that comes with working for the film festival every year. A paradise for workaholics, ESG seems like the right place for a no-nonsense, bindaas, strong-willed lady like Mrunal Walke. 

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