Most girls dream of working for Google, few have Google work for them. The story of Neela Kaushik, the creator of the Facebook group GurgaonMoms, became a successful case study for Google as part of their ‘Helping Women Get Online’ Initiative in India and South Asia. The accomplished digital media expert established one of the largest and most engaging online communities of Moms in India. Neela Kaushik is a regular columnist for the Hindustan Times, writing on issues that impact women and children. She is a TEDx speaker and also serves as part of the Advisory Board for TEDx Gurugram. Neela Kaushik is named the Facebook SheLeadsTech Community Ambassador for Delhi-NCR.
What is GurgaonMoms?
GurgaonMoms is a Facebook community platform for over 37,000 women offering support, resources, opportunities, and interactions. It is an ecosystem where moms help each other.
i. Nurtures a community
The group creates a safe space for women to share their stories, ask for help, and not be judged. It helps women to get closer to their dreams and goals. The group helps to share vital information and fall back on in times of need. It provides a support network to connect and know more people.
ii. Designs creative online marketing strategies
Has promoted 500+ women entrepreneurs and helped launch over 15 brands by moms in the community. Slurp Farm, a made-in-India organic food brand offering health and yummy treats for babies and kids, was first floated within the community with a lot of their initial sampling done by the Gurgaon Moms.
iii. Develops communication strategies
A team of 8-10 employees formulates and execute comprehensive engagement and communication strategies (including newsletter, website, online community, WhatsApp, and press releases) to ensure constant community development.
iv. Conducts mentorship programs
The group often invites life coaches on board to empower its members.
Neela moved to Gurgaon (now Gurugram) from the United States of America. As a new mom with no family or friends in Gurgaon, she turned to Google to seek answers and look for other moms to share parenting ideas with. Being a digital media professional, in 2010, she set up one of the foremost Facebook ‘Groups’ called GurgaonMoms.
According to Neela, “Some of the initial questions I wanted to find answers to revolved around which play school I could enroll my son in, which doctor would be available on weekends, etc. I realized that these were questions that parents usually discussed with their peers and friends over their evening park strolls and social circles. Since I did not have those, I sought answers online. I started the community anonymously, secretly wishing that someone will suggest joining it to me.”
Initially, GurgaonMoms was a small group. So, when one of the members suggested that the group meet in person, only about 12 members showed up at a coffee shop. During the second meeting, 15 ladies attended the ‘Ladies Night Out’. But after these two meetings through word of mouth, the happy moms added their friends, school moms, family to the group and made it bigger. The third event had 100+ moms attending.
Today, the group has more than 37,000 women and continues to grow.
New Ideas, New Interactions
Besides the evening outs, the group also created micro-communities within the GurgaonMoms. The Book Club and Regional Moms Groups started to have events on their own. The regional groups were a big hit, especially with people who migrated from multiple other regions into Gurgaon, like the MadrasMoms who began to meet and celebrate their festivals together.
The Mom Achievers Summit
In 2013, GurgaonMoms conceptualized and launched the country’s first “The Mom Achievers Summit.” Mom achievers were invited as speakers to address domestic abuse, balancing dreams and personal life goals.
It is the first summit in the country, focusing on moms and mom issues and celebrating mom achievements. The day-long event brings together industry experts, fitness enthusiasts, and successful Moms to encourage other women.
“We did keep hearing that a serious event for moms may not get so much traction. Some even told me I was wasting my time. But today, 200-250 women come together: working moms, stay-at-home moms, blogger moms, and mom-entrepreneurs – on the weekend close to Women’s Day to exchange notes, motivate each other and go back refreshed,” says Neela.
Today, the GurgaonMoms group has successfully celebrated six editions of the Mom Achievers Summit and is ready for more.
Happy Moms mean Happy Homes
Neela had a challenge of proving how her community of moms was different from a women’s kitty party, and she did it! Today brands like GSK Consumer Healthcare, DLF, KitchenAid, Lite Bite Foods, and Jamie’s Pizzeria have associated with GurgaonMoms. The Times of India has even named GurgaonMoms as the Mother of All Social Groups! Neela Kaushik has proved – Happy Moms mean Happy Homes!