Reema Bhandari

Director, M Moser Associates (Interview PART-1)

“Leadership is based on empathy and should be naturally inspired and not forced.”, says Reema Bhandari from M Moser Associates.

Early Life and Motivation

Reema Bhandari, Director of M Moser Associates, has completed 12+ years in the industry. She had graduated with an Architectural degree from Chandigarh. She comes from a family which was already established in the Construction industry. However, she decided to take a risk in establishing herself as an Architect and gain experience with global organizations and explore for her own identity.

Her father inspired her to take up Architecture and she worked with her father on multiple Architectural and Interior projects during her college days which helped her gain first practical experience, as an Architect. She went on to pursue a 6-month internship in Mumbai with Ratan J Batliwala Architects — a firm focusing on architecture as well as interior design.

It was at this time, that Reema realized that she was more passionate about Interior Architecture for workplaces. Therefore, she started working with architectural design firms after her graduation. She worked in NCR and Gurgaon for first two years where she was given opportunities to carry out important projects working with boutique firm.

Career Opportunities and Work Life

Working with a small firm in initial years, gave Reema an exposure to the entire process, from design to project management and construction management as well as dealing with contractors. Given her passion for work and contribution in increasing firm’s revenue, she had been offered a profit sharing at this firm within two years of having worked there.

This was when Reema was interviewed by M Moser for a position in Mumbai in 2012 and she decided to move to learn and explore more opportunities dealing with corporate clients.

After delivering multiple projects for global corporate firms in Mumbai, Reema then moved to Bangalore in 2015 as a Global Workplace Strategist within the same firm. With this role, she learnt about how alignment of the work environment and the company’s processes were imperative for firms to achieve business success. She also got an opportunity to get trained with her colleagues from Hong Kong for 2 months which helped her gain international exposure. Eventually, Reema started working in a Project Leadership role growing her team to cater to multiple clients across India. She is now leading the business and handles P&L responsibilities for the firm and working on several large-scale interior design projects including campus projects for many multinational firms across India and globally.

M Moser is a women-led organization and according to Ms. Bhandari, there’s nothing more that she’d love than to be part of such a progressive firm which believed in designing and delivering workplace environments that bring out the best in people by putting people at the center of everything they do.

(Read about Reema Bhandari’s personal beliefs, the professional challenges she faced, and what she thinks needs to change in the industry, in our next section of the interview)

Core Principles

Her biggest philosophy is Integrity. Reema believes that anything can be achieved as long as it is done with passion, integrity, and trust. This includes building relationships, pursuing projects, and interacting with her clients, team members, or anyone in general.

From an organizational perspective, Reema believes in importance of working along with the strengths of an individual and of the team, to ensure success in projects. People need to be internally motivated and aware of their contributions and impact to the firm and clients we work for.

Sharing the knowledge with the client in an appropriate manner, allowing them to have the possibility to be part of the creative process, and working together helps her team understand the “why” better. Reema’s primary focus is on integrating efficient communication between her clients, her team members and all SMEs for every project which is crucial to success of every project.

Challenges faced

Ms. Reema has faced multiple challenges along the way, with every project having its ups and downs, and every situation having its risks and rewards. However, she believes that every problem has a solution. She prioritizes the health and safety of her team members and collaborators above all, among other things.

All clients want to design within the budget while exceeding expectations in terms of outcome and appearance Clients now also tend to focus on wellness as an aspect, on acoustics and sustainability to a great extent.

The pandemic has made the time and budget critical for the clients as well as for the team, according to Reema. While the supply chain in the industry had been disturbed by the pandemic, there is much work to be done to overcome this problem.

Creating a good design, in her opinion, does not necessarily need a huge budget. It can be done without large spending. It is the selection of materials, brands, and creativity that needs more attention. To be continued>>