The multi-faceted Atul Jogani inspires with his commitment to the community.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
When I meet Atul Jogani in the headquarters of one of his many ventures, he greets us with an affable smile and an ease that speaks of someone who knows the secret to balancing a hectic life: delegation. “I have two businesses: one in the diamond industry and one in the wellness industry, manufacturing gym equipment,” he tells me. “In learning to balance both, I’ve adopted delegation as my business mantra – if you’ve worked with me, you’ll know that I like to delegate and then oversee. Good balance comes from creating a great team both in business and in social organisations.”
Originally from Mumbai, Atul finished his Bachelor of Commerce in the University of Mumbai and decided to forge his own path by moving both himself and a branch of his family business to Bangkok. “Running a business has always been
in my blood,” he explains, “and so I was keen to try new and interesting undertakings. The family business in diamonds was already set up in Europe and America, while the Far East was still untouched. Hence, I decided to relocate to Thailand. I thought it would be a great centre to expand and operate the business in this part of the world.” However, despite having established his companies over two decades ago, Atul makes sure that he never rests on his laurels and that he keeps his approach fresh. “My biggest philosophy in business decisions is to make sure we keep up with the times and are aware of the changes that are happening in the world and the industry,” he says. “Once we have that, then we have to make sure to make the right decisions at the right time.”
An example of Atul’s timely decision-making was in the early 1990s when the wellness industry started picking up. “My interest was piqued,” he recalls. “I understood quite quickly that this industry would continue to grow within the next few decades and it was remarkable to see how health-conscious everyone was becoming. We took a leap of faith into the industry with our company, Almac Sports, which manufactures gym equipment.” Despite his modern approach to business, however, Atul’s view on corporate ethics has stood the test of time in both his companies. “Compromising morally is not in my dictionary,” he imparts, “and I always tell my team one thing: be truthful and honest to the customer, as that will get us to the right place, even if it takes more time. In the end, I’m proud of the decisions we’ve made. For example, being part of the fitness space is yet another way of helping the community – by giving them access to affordable but high-quality gym equipment, it encourages them to take their health more seriously.”
Indeed, since moving to Thailand 30 years ago, Atul has actively involved himself in the enrichment of the community, becoming a proud and prominent member of the Indian diaspora here. “I believe as a businessman that whatever you have gained, you should also give back to the community in any way possible,” he reveals. “Aside from running Almac Sports and my diamond business, Living Stone Diamond, I’ve helped to organise a number of community events over the years.” He has been instrumental in notable functions such as the Jagjit Singh and Sonu Nigam concerts in Bangkok, as well as the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards held twice in Thailand, in collaboration with Wizcraft International Entertainment. Atul is clear in his passion for bringing the community together outside of business events. “We want to retain our culture for future generations,” he says, “and in doing so, I feel that in some way we’ve been pioneers in bringing entertainment and cultural programmes from India to Bangkok.” To that end, he’s also tirelessly coordinated the Raas Garba event for the last 27 years at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom Hotel, as well as cricket tournaments under the Jogani Group.
His most recent crowning achievement, however, was organising the Sawasdee PM Modi event in November, which saw Indians from around Thailand come together to greet the Indian Prime Minister during his visit to the country. “It was a personal achievement for me to have been bestowed with that honour,” he tells me, “but I would not have been able to make it the success it was without the Indian diaspora here. They were united in organising the event.” More than the acclaim of having welcomed the Prime Minister, however, Atul saw the event as an opportunity to illustrate how much the Indian community here still respects their roots. “The cultural show really demonstrated how we Indians living abroad have embraced and valued our culture, and to be able to showcase that on a global level was amazing,” he enthuses.
At the end of the day, Atul is a strong advocate of finding the right person for the right job, and attributes his success as a leader in both business and social circles to this, including his longstanding stint as the President of the India Thai Diamond Colorstone Association for the last 17 years and as the Vice President of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association. “Once you have identified that person, I believe that they should have the room to make their own decisions. I continuously tell any team I work with, do not keep any decision grey – make your decisions either black or white,” he advises. “By doing this, you will either gain more confidence in your decision, or you will learn from your mistakes and earn the experience to make better decisions.”
With such a well-trained team that he trusts and respects, Atul reveals that he’s finally reached the point where he can take a backseat and appreciate what lies ahead: “Over the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed some personal time after building a great team. Yes, I have worked hard to get this far, but with time and experience I have realised that now, I can take some time off for “myself – and I think this is the part that I enjoy the most.” As for what the future holds for him as he’s delighting in the zenith of his life? “I enjoy the suspense,” he says with a laugh, “I’m happy to take life as it comes.”
I believe as a businessman that whatever you have gained, you should also give back to the community.