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Meet Neelam Wali

Ranjani Saigal

I have known Neelam and Dr. Anupam Wali for many years. I have being very inspired by all the work they do for the community while managing a successful business and raising three wonderful children. Neelam Wali is the proprietor of Printing and Graphics services. She is also the president of the Billerica Chamber of Commerce. In an interview with Lokvani, she talks about her business, her family and her community service activities.

Lokvani: Could you tell us a little about Printing and Graphics?

Neelam: Printing & Graphics offers a wide range of services including design and production of all kinds of personal and corporate stationary, business literature, periodicals, promotions and websites. Our services are characterised by trendy designing, quality printing and prompt delivery.

Lokvani: How did it all begin?

Neelam: Well my training is in graphic arts. So it was natural for me to do this for a living. It is really wonderful that this business has grown so much. I am so pleased that Anupam has decided to join us.

Lokvani:Could you tell us a little about you clientele?

Neelam : We have a wide and varied client base. Our primary focus is helping businesses with all their printing and graphics needs.We have a large number of Indian and American customers. Our motto is to treat every client with a high degree of professionalism and give them the right services for the right price. I am so excited to see so many young Indian Americans now starting businesses. It is really exciting because I feel that the professionalism and organization that they display indicates how the Indian Americans have truly come of age.

Lokvani: What is this Shadikecard.com

Neelam: Well that has a slightly different focus. It is our way of helping the Indian community. There was a growing demand for low cost solution for wedding invitations among the Indian Americans. So we worked with partners in India to get beautiful invitation cards that are affordable. This was our way of supporting the community. This was such a success that we are getting a call from not only all over the US and in fact from other parts of the world. Someone called me from Papa Guinea! It is very exciting.

Lokvani: As a successful businesswoman what tips would you give others getting into business ?

Neelam : You must have a willingness to work hard. You must be extremely professional. For service businesses like ours, I think success comes from having a real passion to help people. Of course money is important but the goal should be excellent service and really caring about your customer. Another thing I cannot emphasize enough is the importance of getting involved in your community. I attend our town meetings. I am very active in the school system. I was very active in the chamber of commerce and now I am its president. Considering that this is an elected position I am very excited that as an Indian American I was chosen. But the sad thing to me is that while there are so many Indians in Billerica there are so few that are seen in any of the town activities. We as minorities should be visible. And what better way to be visible than to provide help to people in your town?

Lokvani: How do you manage your family life with such a busy career.

Neelam: I am the mother of three daughters and I think by doing my work I hope I am being a role model to them. I think the secret to our family unit is that we have excellent communication. I make it a point to find out what is going on at school everyday. If I am busy I bring my children to work and they do their work here or if they have time they help me with my work. So they clearly know what is keeping me busy and that gives them a better understanding of my work. The goal I have for them is not that they should have this degree or that but that they should grow up to be hardworking, good and kind human beings. I hope they will grow up to be self-confident women who bring a passion and commitment to everything they do. Of course I cannot emphasize the value of a kind a caring husband in helping me juggle family and career.

Lokvani: How do you define success? Do you consider yourself successful?

Neelam: Material goods do not define success to me. It is not what I wear. It is not the car I drive or the house I live in. Success to me is simply defined by the respect one earns in society. Do my clients see me as a businesswoman who delivers on her promises? Do my children love me and think of me as a caring mom? Am I seen as human being who helps a person in need by the society? I hope by these definitions I am successful

Lokvani: You are an artist by training. I have seen many of your wonderful creations from the past. Do you still paint?

Neelam (Laughs): You know just yesterday my husband was asking me the same question. I think for good art one needs to have some deep pain. Maybe I am reasonably happy now and that perhaps keeps me from making painting a priority

Lokvani:Any final words of wisdom for our readers?

Neelam This is a land of opportunity. But to succeed you must learn to become part of the main stream Indian American culture. Be part of the town so that as an Indian American you are a leading member of the town and not a minority. People will automatically treat you and your children with dignity. You have to take the trouble to assimilate. Give back to the community for that is most important thing you can do with your life.

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