As a social enterprise, we believe that business is the sustainable approach to help people, communities, and nations make smarter decisions for themselves and build better lives. In addition to producing affordable and efficient cookstoves, this also means creating jobs for motivated people in markets where opportunities can be scarce. In this employee profile, Priya Thyagaraj, Director of Communications & Social Media, India, talks with sales rep Mangesh Ayawale about his experience working at Envirofit India.
By Priya Thyagaraj
Humility and well-earned pride in accomplishment are both emotions that shine through in Mangesh Ayawale. Mangesh moved to Pune and joined Envirofit India four years ago, and in that time he has worked his way forward from an office boy to a skilled salesman. Behind his rise is a story of grit and faith in his own abilities.
Mangesh grew up in the small village of Lengare, in Maharashtra.
“Each day was a long one,” he recalls. “I would start at 5:00 am and sell papers till 9:00 am. I’d then work at a store until the evening, and later with a DJ until 1:00 am. I needed to find better work.”
He took a risk and moved to Pune without a job. It was the largest city he had been in, and it seemed very strange at first. Within days, however, he soon found himself hired at Envirofit as an office boy – handling tasks like cleaning, and preparing and serving tea.
“I was prepared to do anything, and do it with a smile,” says Mangesh, adding, “I was equally prepared to learn anything I could, if someone would teach me. I have only studied till the 10th grade because our teacher rarely came to school. But, I was interested in learning and sharing information.”
Mangesh’s work ethic didn’t go unnoticed. Led by Managing Director, Harish Anchan, the Envirofit team set about training him to use a computer. It was a challenge for the man who, by his own admission, didn’t even know where the ‘on’ button was located. Today, he navigates spreadsheets with an ease that belies his early stumbles.
His learning curve also extended to sales demonstrations in the field – after being thrown into his first pitch and stumbling over his words, he picked himself up and pushed himself forward. Today, he’s a valued member of the team, able to easily, and patiently, relate to local audiences.
‘When I look back at my life, I can’t believe how far I have come,” he muses.
There’s a determination and a shine in his eyes as he leans forward to emphasize his next words with his hands: “I will keep trying to go forward and not look back. I see the changes in my life, in myself. Several of us came here from my village and I have traveled the furthest. Others have gone home. Now, I have been helped to grow, I get to work in Sales, and travel to places I have never dreamed of!”
A word from Harish Anchan:
I’m very proud of Mangesh, Dharma, and Anjappa, four employees who showed so much promise when they first joined us. I believe in opportunity; they took the learning we had to offer and grew as individuals and employees. It’s hard not to appreciate that. It’s equally hard not to continue wanting to support and encourage those who join us who may not have had the right opportunities to begin with.
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