DURHAM – Ravila Gupta says pursuit of “new career aspirations” is the primary reason she recently stepped down as chief executive officer at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development to become CEO of Chapel Hill-based Bagchi Group.
In an exclusive Q&A with WRAL TechWire, Gupta talks about what’s next in her career and a continuing role at the CED, which is one of the largest entrepreneurial groups in the US. Gupta has been nominated to become the next chair of the CED board on July 1.
- Congratulations on accepting the new CEO role at another firm. Why did you decide to accept that position?
Thank you and I appreciate the question. The CEO role with Bagchi Group is a great opportunity, allowing me to pursue new career aspirations while continuing to provide CED with guidance as the board chair, not yet confirmed, and serve as a strategic advisor to leadership.
- How do you believe you can help CED if in fact you are confirmed as board chair?
If confirmed as board chair, I will work to ensure that the defined board strategies are executed. I will continue to engage the full board and its many talents to support the best future for CED and its many stakeholders. Finally, I will continue to position CED as an important entrepreneurial resource in our community.
- How will you assist CED in the interim period between CEO and board chair?
If confirmed, I will become board chair on July 1, 2020. In the meantime, I am serving as a strategic advisor to the leadership, actively transferring knowledge and providing guidance.
- You are leaving CED as startups and entrepreneurs face perhaps the most challenging times due to the
coronavirus. Do you have regrets about that?
In fact, I am not leaving CED, although my role is being redefined. I am currently serving as a strategic advisor to leadership and, if confirmed, will serve CED as board chair beginning July 1, 2020.
Yes, these are challenging times. Countless companies and individuals throughout the world are struggling due to the impact of coronavirus. Through my continued service with CED, and in my new role with Bagchi Group, I intend to support startups and entrepreneurs to the best
of my ability.
I know that the incredible staff, board, and many other volunteers of CED will do the same. I am also hopeful that the vibrant and nimble startup and entrepreneurial communities; locally, nationally, and globally; will continue to support one another.
- What’s your fondest memory of the CED?
My fondest memory is the excitement and anticipation just before being called on stage at the Venture Connect Summit opening ceremonies. These events are the result of an entire year of careful planning and tireless effort by the staff, board, many volunteers, and sponsors.
- You put in place new executives, made changes in programs – do you feel you have made the CED a stronger organization?
Absolutely. I hired great talent and adjusted the business model to support a more resilient and relevant organization for the future.
What’s your message to CED and to entrepreneurs on how to deal with the challenges ahead?
CED has enjoyed incredible successes and weathered many storms during our 36 years. Our constant has been connecting entrepreneurs with crucial resources to accelerate growth. That won’t change, but, in our new temporary normal, many significant changes are happening locally and globally and more is ahead.
We will adapt, we will survive, and we will flourish together – in some version of pitch deck #1 or business plan #3.
We are entrepreneurs – change is our language. Resources are unquestionably shifting – don’t panic, develop a short-term financial plan, remain considerate and creative with your teams, and actively pursue new sources of funding.