Many Indians go abroad for their studies and settle there, but this is a story of a foreigner who came and settled in India. Cecilia Oldne is the former VP of Sula Vineyards. She shared her story of moving to India, how India has changed in the last 15 years, and her experience of meeting the Dalai Lama.
Cecilia has been my mentor in business for over three years. She was born and raised in Sweden. She has been in India for almost fifteen years, and she is the former VP of Sula vineyards.
Living as a Foreign in India
"It's amazing, and I love every bit of it. It's been 15 years, and I have learned so much".
"I came to India in 2007, to be a part of the vine revolution by building Sula. I spent 10 years doing so. In 2019, it was the most visited winery in the world. I felt Sweden was too small for me and I felt I could do more. I looked at my country”.
“I met a Stanford-trained engineer, Rajeev Samant, and he asked me to help him with his empire. That's how I ended up in India. After that, I started investing in wine industries".
Changes In India in the last 15 years
"When I came to India, Google map was a new thing. With the whole development of tech, now it's easy to navigate. I feel people have become more open-minded for global opportunities".
"When I came initially I saw many people going abroad which have now decreased competitively".
Story Behind Entering The Wine Industry
"I knew about wines a lot. My Godfather was an entrepreneur. He started a couple of business wines in Sweden and Europe. He asked me to help him out with a few listings, as he knew I was a go-getter. I had studied and had a background in marketing and business. So I joined the business of my godfather’s cousin. During the process, I realized to sell the product I need to know more about the product, that is when I went to study sommelier, where I learned more about wine”.
What Made Cecilia Stay Back?
“I always felt connected to India. I had pictures of gods and goddesses in my room when I was young. There was something that always connected me with India”.
Growing Up In Sweden
“We are only 10 million people in Sweden. We have learned that to excel, go global so you see so many unicorn companies from Sweden, like Spotify, Ikea, Skype, Truecaller, etc. We do travel and learn about different countries. It is a privilege to have that. We are even made to learn new languages at a very young age”.
Meeting Dalai Lama
“I have met him quite a few times. The last time I met him was 5 years ago, on my birthday. It was a really special day. He gave me a few tips on what I should follow and focus on. When you are with him, you just feel relaxed ”.
“I got into angel investment about 6 years back. You don't need to invest only in companies where you know exactly the process. You get to learn a lot of things along the process when you become an angel investor. If you are resonating with the company and believe in their idea, you can help them scale. I am not a passive investor”.
- Think out of the box
- Explore new territories
- Nurture your relationships
- Keep inventing yourself
- Have mentors
- Think long-term and something that you will be proud of
- Being presentable
India Has Been A Good Spiritual Experience
“Yoga and meditation give you a glow, as you are happy from inside. Coming to India was a spiritual experience. I often think about why I ended up here?
“I am not stuck to any religion or guru. I have had a lot of spiritual experiences like meeting the Dalai Lama, Sadhguru, and many gurus in Rishikesh”.
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