Raised by a single mother who was widowed rather early in life, Ragini Muralidharan didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. “My mother was my biggest role model who raised my two sisters and me single handedly and put us through schools and college all by herself. Built of grit, determination and courage with a ‘never give up’ attitude no matter how adverse the situation, my mother inculcated all of these values into us during our growing years. These are qualities that have held me in good stead in my path of work today, considering how demanding and dynamic it is,” shares Ragini who today helms Renaissance, one of Chennai’s biggest event management companies along with her husband Umesh Kumar. “When I look back, I think these traits helped me accomplish my biggest ambition without once fearing failure. I have seen life change overnight and always wondered what it took for a lady like my mom to face the world every day with a smile and bring up three girls and not only make successful, but also socially-responsible citizens. My mother has definitely been the biggest force in shaping who I have become today,” states Ragini.
Recalling her entry into event management, Ragini says she’s always had an affiliation towards it. “Back in college, I’d be the first one to enlist for organising fests and campus shows. So it seamlessly blended into a career after a while,” she tells us. It’s been two decades now and Ragini is as enthusiastic about her work as she was when she first stepped into it. “The fact that someone trusts me with their once-in-a-year event or probably their first-ever-event gives me the commitment of wanting to make it their most memorable day ever… it has to be something that they will cherish for a long, long time,” she smiles.
What probably sets her apart from the rest is Ragini’s sensitivity to client expectations and budget and more importantly, to make the event unfold in accordance with the client’s vision. “And to discover talents in the corporate world that get hidden in meeting rooms and brainstorming sessions at the workplace, I also started an annual inter-corporate talent hunt that aims at spotting talented and passionate artistes who step into that world for financial security and let their creativity take a backseat,” avers Ragini.
Her humane approach to life amidst the money-making drudgery of the modern world can be noted in another unique platform that she launched a while ago. “An ardent lover of children, the protective mother in me led me to start an NGO called PEACE (Parents Enduring a Child-Safe Environment) that I initiated along with a few friends and parents from my daughter’s school. We didn’t want to be among the ones who are mute spectators to the countless child abuse incidents we hear and see on TV channels. So we go to various schools and colleges to raise awareness on prevention of child sexual abuse. We also released a video with actor Siva Karthikeyan on how to create a safe environment for our children,” points out Ragini.
And yes, her work is still her biggest high in life. “No two days are the same. It’s such a high-octane driven field given the sheer variety of events we deal with — from destination weddings to film awards, corporate events to conferences, product launches to programmes with a 15,000 strong audience, we do it all. Whatever be the scale of the event, my commitment and drive to make it the best is the same and probably, that’s what makes me one of the most sought-after event managers in the city,” says Ragini. As a parting shot she adds, “balancing a high intensity job with a happy family is no longer an aspirational dream. It is the reality for today’s woman. Work affords you a life filled with responsibility and family fills your heart with meaning and purpose.”