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September Spotlight on Tarang Gosalia

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Tarang Gosalia, from Boston. I do a little bit of a lot of things, I’m a DJ, I love golf, traveling, and sports, my team (the Patriots). I own a chain of hair salons called Great Clips and I run a printing business, called Optamark. Optamark is really my focus, my main business. My parents have a printing company, which is now merged with Optamark.

What would you say is your professional title?

I’m an entrepreneur. At 16, I started DJing a lot of events, even a few YJA events in fact. I got interested in DJing as a business, booking gigs, marketing myself, and immersed myself in running my own business. At that point, I was intent on going into school for business. I felt like I could add a lot of value to the business world in terms of my own skill sets, and I was excited to learn more. That’s how I became interested in Babson. I liked it mainly because it focused on the core skills of entrepreneurship but with a taste of everything. Babson was a healthy balance of several different areas of business, I felt I was being trained to be well rounded and versus tied down to any one concentration or interest. I was always keen on running my own business and being my own boss, Babson was helpful in setting the bar for my future.

What is the most interesting project you’re working on right now for Optamark?

I’m working with a client I can’t name, helping them execute a very large initiative for individuals who cannot afford health insurance. This client is providing the underinsured a card that helps them get prescription medication at a hefty discount. My company is running the manufacturing and printing for this account on a national level. It’s a great initiative and a good cause, and I’m proud to say that we’re involved in that.

What is most exciting about being an entrepreneur? What draws you to this kind of work?

It’s simple really. Being my own boss.

What would you say are the biggest successes/proudest accomplishments of your career thus far?

I would say the Inc. Award. Inc Magazine narrows down the top 5000 U.S. companies that are privately owned and have a high growth rate in the past 3 years. They assess those companies and narrow their list to 500. And this year, we were #223 on that list. It was huge for us. Being on that list has become an entry way to meeting new people, making connections. It’s really opening doors for us. It’s been great for networking and taking Optamark to the next level. It also helped us put ourselves on the map. Looking back, it’s always been a challenge, driving growth, especially while trying to juggle your place within a larger family business. So getting the award has felt like validation, like effort paid off. It was a biggest professional achievement. And I got engaged! That was a great personal achievement, haha.

How do you deal with setbacks in your career?

I’ve definitely had setbacks trying to work on multiple businesses, and there have been bad times here and there. But I feel it’s about consistency and putting in dedicated time every day; that’s what’s gotten me through rough times and brought me to where I am today. I believe it’s critical to keep moving on. Putting your head down and trying to get over an obstacle, yes, it’s tough. But that’s the only way to power through setbacks. My approach is aggressive, I feel I have to be as aggressive as possible in reaching my professional and personal goals. I need that mentality to stay focused, no matter what else is happening around me. Keep trekking, I tell myself. When you stop trying, that’s when disaster happens.

What do you hope to be doing in the future, say in 5 years? 10?

In 5 years, I’d like to launche Optamark nationally. I’d like to extend the Optamark business to more major cities in US. In 10 years, if I’m being honest, I’d like to sell the company and relax, haha. Be on a yacht.

How has Jainism played a role, if any, in your career decisions?

Jainism has been a big part of my upbringing. I was involved with YJA too. If you think about right faith, right knowledge, right conduct, the lesson that I’ve taken away most clearly is that it’s about treating others the way you want to be treated. The Golden Rule. For me, that’s been a guiding principle in everything I do. It comes into play in a big way when I interact with my staff in India. I have a team in India that does a lot of good work for us. But the market and the professional environment there is so different than here. The way that they live, their lifestyle conditions, it’s a far cry from U.S. standards. And it’s such a hierarchical system there, it’s difficult for anyone to move up the ladder. So I’m trying very hard to help them find opportunities and feel respected for the work that they do. I’ve also been trying to shape a work culture and environment in which they’re treated the way that I would want to be treated, and the way that my staff here is treated. It’s important to me and it’s a work in progress, but it’s something that I want to make happen in the long run. Jainism is an underlying tone in other ways too. Trying to stay calm and level-headed in how I conduct myself, that’s something I’m striving towards and something I’ve learned from Jainism. Non-violence is also an important principle in my life, so my company is not involved in anything that sells liquor or meat.

Looking back, what has been your biggest inspiration in success? (An influential person, a religious belief, a book, etc)

Parents. They allowed me to try new things, test ideas, and go out and make mistakes for myself. Under their guidance and years of experience, I’ve learned a lot. Without them, I wouldn’t have been guided in the right direction. They were involved in the things I was working on but still let me run things the way I wanted to. It was a great balance of autonomy and guidance. So without them I wouldn’t be here, they are truly my biggest inspiration, both of them. They are staunch Jains and they’ve imparted their values on us, they set the tone for what they wanted from us (brother and I), especially in terms of how we treat other people. Without their constant reiterations of Jain principles I may not have made some of the professional choices that I have. It’s always been the golden rule with them, treating others the way you want to be treated. There’s a mutual respect for others rather than judgment calls or accusations. They never let anger get the best of them. On a professional level, I try never to conduct myself that way either, following their example.

What advice would you give to other young Jain professionals in your field?

I would say that there are a lot of people who are going to give you feedback (friends, family, etc) which can be easy to ignore or file away as irrelevant, but if you don’t actually sit down and try something, you’re going nowhere. I believe that if you try something and fail, and you’ll get somewhere. Take the initiative and live outside your comfort zone.

Looking forward, what do you hope to incorporate more of in your life professionally?

As a company, I’d like for us to be more involved within the Indian and Jain communities in the U.S. I’d like to offer more professional opportunities to young people within our community, and bridge the gap between our professional network in the U.S. and in India. I’d like to bring my team in India to a place where they are more horizontally aligned and less hierarchical, and offer more opportunities for them to excel within our company

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