Jimmy Mistry of Della Leaders Club: “Humble ”

Humble — For me Humility is one of the most powerful and important attributes of growth, both in and outside the office. I encourage people to speak up, respect differences of opinion and champion the best ideas, regardless of whether they originate from a top executive or even a helping staff. In recent years, Big Tech has […]

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Humble — For me Humility is one of the most powerful and important attributes of growth, both in and outside the office. I encourage people to speak up, respect differences of opinion and champion the best ideas, regardless of whether they originate from a top executive or even a helping staff.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Mistry.

Jimmy Mistry is a thought leader with more than two decades of experience in the field of design. Jimmy is the founder, designer, and operator of India’s finest luxury spot, Della Resorts, and creator of ‘experiential hospitality’ with India’s only military-themed Resort — DATA. He is the founder of Della Leaders Club (DLC), the world’s first technology-enabled global business platform. Jimmy is the Chairman & MD of Della Group, a renowned business conglomerate with 5 business verticals. He is a pioneer in world-class extreme adventure destination in India and developer of luxury villas in the second home segment with Della Villas.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I come from a very humble Parsi family. My father was a straightforward, simple Parsi, who worked over three decades for Sarabhai chemicals. When I started my business, I had to strongly persuade him to opt for premature retirement. I’ve seen him pursue sales throughout his life, honest and dedicated to his job and his company. That’s the kind of value system that I’ve grown up with.

My mom was an entrepreneur. She used to be a schoolteacher post which she used to pivot as she ran her own beauty salon at home. Each time my dad was transferred we used to get a two-bedroom apartment. My bedroom used to double up as a beauty parlor, in Indore where my dad was posted and later again in Nagpur. I’ve witnessed my mom struggle at work, followed by physically stretching herself at home. So, for me, no work was too small. I could see both my mom and dad in their struggle to put together the house and ingrain these life learnings for me and my sister.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When we came to Bombay, I started off my first business in 1991 at the age of 19. I needed some seed money, so I sold off my bike for about Rs 14,000. And with that I bought a drilling machine, pest control chemicals etc at Byculla at Namdeo Umaji and started off a Pest Control business.

Two years down the line, I was approached by Corporates offering me large scale business for their flats. I started with doing pest control for a lot of buildings and societies in Bombay and when they got to know me, I would land up doing the water tank disinfecting contracts, then plumbing, wall repair contracts exposing me to practical aspects of civil works.

I would basically lap up any business that would come my way and explore and try and grasp more and more out of it. In ’93, I wanted to embark into full-fledged contracting, working for all the leading architects across, in and outside Bombay. It was a learning ground for me to understand architectural design practices which would help me in my later years as I moved on to furniture. I soon realised that there is a vacuum and for me all businesses begin with the ideation process of identifying a vacuum. There was a lack of a good designer, lack of international design furniture in the country then and people were ready to lap it up at any cost. And there were no suppliers.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I learned about business from my mum. She started chocolate making classes, would swing to embroidery in the single room kitchen apartment we lived in. My bedroom was mom’s beauty parlour so that is how I grew up seeing mom work all the time. I remember she sold her gold earrings to buy me a bicycle. I always liked good things in life and in those days, she bought me the most expensive bicycle. She always used to spoil me, pamper me by buying things for me from whatever money she earned. While I could see her struggle, in her generosity of spirit, she allowed me to dream big.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favourite quote is the one that I learned at a very early stage of my life that I learned from JRD Tata, “No success or achievement in material terms is worthwhile unless and until it serves the needs of the community and its country and is achieved by fair and honest means”.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Reaching out to people and asking for help. It is a wonderful tool for us, but most people refuse to do so out of ego, while others out of sheer non-belief in themselves. If you reached out to somebody and ask for help, most of the time- you receive a positive response. Sometimes you won’t get that helping hand but believe me at least five out of ten times you’ll get the help you are looking for.
  2. Humble — For me Humility is one of the most powerful and important attributes of growth, both in and outside the office. I encourage people to speak up, respect differences of opinion and champion the best ideas, regardless of whether they originate from a top executive or even a helping staff.
  3. Confidence — It enabled me to lead people and deal with daily challenges no matter how big or small. It’s about the confidence that you bring across the table that impacts the most. I always believed in myself and kept trying until the right door opened for me.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive social impact on our society. To begin, what problems are you aiming to solve with DLC?

There are platforms for everything in life but not a single common global platform for entrepreneurs, professionals and young leaders for their day-to-day business and lifestyle needs.

DLC is the only business platform that provides curated lifestyle experiences. Leaders are pressed for time, yet aspire to give the best to their families and themselves in lifestyle. However, due to paucity of time, they need tailored, credible, curated content and brand collaborations. DLC creates original content to get our members stay ahead of the curve. We provide our opportunity to our members to cause social impact. Leaders today have a calling beyond just building their business — they want to help others, while making a meaningful contribution to their industry, and to society at large.

DLC Forums are a complete game changer in a leader’s personal and professional lives. We are democratising the world of forums by bringing the world’s best forum facilitators on one of the most advanced forum applications. It is the most valued asset for members, spouses and young adult children.

DLC is a technology and content generation platform with in-house production, post-production and edit facilities, helping its members make more informed decisions for the sustained growth of their organizations.

In addition to DLC knowledge, our members will have access to some of the best deals and experiences from the leading global brands under business and lifestyle committees through DLC Brand Collaborations and Experiences.

Each DLC chapter will host three theme-based events a year, which will be an ensemble of professional learning, recreation and entertainment. There will also be curated luxury lifestyle exhibitions for the entire family.

It is lonely at the top and there is a need for a platform and support system. DLC Genie has been conceptualized precisely to deliver this support system using the power of the DLC Global Community.

Global leaders and experts will be invited to speak at DLC Global Summits to be held in India. With a total of 19 Global Summits dedicated to various specialized knowledge streams under the DLC umbrella, these conferences will be curated by our committee members.

Members are also invited to chapter-wise and international DLC retreats at incredible locations with avant-garde hospitality.

Our members will also have exclusive access to the DLC e-boutique that promises bespoke experiences, customized designs with DLC partner brands.

How do you think your technology can address this?

We, at DLC believe in betterment of society and humanity and thus, the whole purpose of creating Social Impact as one of our most important offering. Most of us have the desire but not the time to make a difference to society. However, DLC has come up with a formula that will encourage our HCMs and members to engage in social impact by using their intellect in their domain. So, DLC has 54 Social Impact Causes which are aligned with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that resonate with the 26 DLC Business and Lifestyle Committees and DLC Forum.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Most business and C-Suite leaders feel alone, isolated and do not have a safe and trusted platform. They need somewhere to go for insights, nuances and perspective. There is no other leadership platform that brings the family together or offers the opportunity to learn, grow and enjoy experiences collectively. All trade organisations only serve the business person and not spouses or young adults.

The idea was to set up a platform for entrepreneurs and a support system that does not exist. Entrepreneurs are short of time, and DLC helps give the best to our families and provides knowledge to run our businesses. Unlike many other professional forums, we give verified and curated stuff. We launched it on June 12 this year. Already 2,100 powerful men and women have accepted it from academics to businesses.

How do you think this might change the world?

We believe in being a new generation organization which has imbibed the culture of diversity, equality, and inclusion with empathy at its core. Members get on-demand business and lifestyle guidance from experts, along with access to global summits, local events, bespoke curated content, and exclusive brand experiences. We have identified 26 business and lifestyle Knowledge Streams through Design Thinking and each committee is empowered to pursue 2 social impact causes, creating a wave of impact with 54 pursuits.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Even though DLC is a technology and content generation platform, there is enough physical interaction planned to balance out the online World. Technology is going to be a by-product. It is going to be more human centric wherein we are going to generate human relations via the medium of content, forums or YouTurn physical events.

Hence I don’t think that the “Law of Unintended Consequences” will really matter at any point of time.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”?

DLC is the perfect example when we talk about putting technology to use to create a positive social impact. DLC has DLC Knowledge and DLC Social Impact as its 2 main offerings.

Within DLC Knowledge we have created 26 business and lifestyle committees and each committee has its own content product line generated by each of the 2200 Honorary Members. 2200 microsites have been created for each of the DLC Hon. Member.

Through DLC Social Impact, we have created 54 Social Communities. Each of the 54 social impact causes has been created into a community that is going to be monitored by a Chair and full time DLC employees across all chapter cities globally. Each Social Impact Community will have members associated to it according to the cause they support. These members can join or exit the cause at any given time. The members master the Social Cause they belong to and will be bringing in the latest updated news of what’s happening in each city for that social impact cause and how can they participate better. It is impossible for any organization to simultaneously deliver value on so many communities together that too globally and not confined to one geographical location. The entire platform has been put to use considering scalability for a 100,000+ strong DLC community.

Technology has been best put to use & it’s an ongoing platform where development is going to be continuously taking place. A large technology team has been put in place to handle it. Our Technology Mentor has been doing an amazing job in guiding us to use the cutting-edge technological solutions that we can offer on this platform.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Today the younger generation is more aware about social impact and more willing to contribute to the social impact as compared to any other generation so far. They have a disruptive mindset and many a times when a good cause is given to them, we get to see selfless service coming from the next generation. Our 54 Social Impact causes are going to be run by all generations and subject matter experts, but special emphasis will be on younger generations who will drive these causes under the able guidance of the more established implementation experts.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why?

I am a hardcore fan of Elon Musk and would love to have a dinner with him. One man who has impacted Humanity in more ways than millions could have in a lifetime and as he said “Most people, when they make a lot of money don’t want to risk it. For him, it was never about money but solving problems for the future of humanity” and this is something I personally believe in.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

We’re available on:

Website:- https://www.dellaleaders.com/

LinkedIn:- https://www.linkedin.com/company/della-leaders-club

Instagram:- https://www.instagram.com/dellaleaders

Twitter:- https://twitter.com/DLC_Global

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

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