Thought Leaders who built their brand with books – Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh

Have you ever come across the term Thought Leaders? A quick check on Wikipedia reveals that a thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Here is why this is important to you. Over the last few years a new breed of authors have risen in prominence. Those who have successfully used the power of books to spread their ideas to the right people, address critical issues and provided people with proven templates for success, thereby taking up the status of a thought leader in their respective fields. These authors have broken the traditional mindset of authors who just focus on selling more copies of their books and shifted the focus on creating a global personal brand using the power and reach of books.I want to introduce to you one such Author and Thought Leader: Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh.

She is a Chartered Accountant and Management Accountant by profession with over two decades of work experience, including leadership positions with multinationals, across  geographies. She has completed an executive education program from Harvard Business School and is a credentialed High Performance Coach from the International Coach Federation. 

Sangeeta is currently the Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director in a multinational, an Independent Director in A listed company, an Advisor for start-ups, a Professional Speaker and a High Performance Coach for individuals, teams and businesses. She has many awards and recognitions to her credit. 

Her book – ‘What the Finance‘ is one of the top ranked books on Amazon for Entrepreneurs. It unravels the confusing aspects of finance in business for entrepreneurs through simple examples, actionable points and practical insights.

She was kind enough to share with us, the experience of publishing a book and how her book has helped build her personal brand as a thought leader. Catch the whole conversation below:

1. You are a versatile professional, a chartered accountant, CFO of a MNC, a published author and a professional speaker. Can you tell us a little bit about your avatar as an author? 

I am an accidental author. I never had any plans of writing. A family vacation to Cambodia, to the “Killing Fields” in the capital city of Phnom Penh, made me think, “What happens if man behaves in such a brutish manner?” This resulted in kindling my thought process & had weaved a story in my head. I was very reluctant to write, as I told myself I am not a writer. 

I kept procrastinating my attempt and finally after 9 months post my trip, I mustered courage & wrote the initial few chapters. Thereafter I did not find the time to pursue & it seemed like an unfulfilled dream, which kept haunting me for completion. After about year since then, luckily I chanced upon a 100 day book authoring challenge which I decided to take on. This drove me to publish my first book, a fiction called “A Glance at the Unknown”, which is a spiritual thriller. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book and how did it come into being ? 

When people got to know that I have written a book, it was assumed that it would be a finance book, much to their surprise! My well-wishers instigated me to write a finance book. Thus was born the idea of my second book “What The Finance”. 

While I pondered about how to make finance simple & easy to understand, I also realised that entrepreneurs needed help in managing their business finance. I further noticed that while many entrepreneurs were passionate about their product or service, they found it challenging to handle their business finance. 

The core existence of any business is to make money and if the business runs out of finance, the entrepreneur runs into trouble. Lack for financial management is one of the biggest reasons for businesses to fail. So I decided to combine my coaching skills & finance knowledge to write on educating entrepreneurs and help them handle their business finance efficiently. 

3. Your recent book ‘What the Finance’ is doing very well in the market, can you tell us how the book is helping you in shaping your brand? 

Post the book launch, there have been some interests evinced by entrepreneurs who want to get a better hold of their finance. This had led me to conducting finance related workshops for entrepreneurs. There have also been invites from entrepreneurial forums to judge their events and educate them further on finance. The book has also helped me get better visibility as a High Performance Business Coach.

I have also been invited to speak about my journey as an author at the Global Authors’ summit happening in Manila, Philippines, later this year.

4. How do you promote the book and how does it promote you? 

Promoting the book can be tedious as it has to be done consistently. I have started a YouTube channel ( where I also talk about finance mantras for entrepreneurs. I also had a couple of book launches in various forums. I also try to mention about my books at the talks that I give. 

5. What would you like to tell aspiring authors, who are part of our community about building a powerful author brand? 

Being a powerful author brand adds credibility and authority. I have been invited for webinars, investor pitches & to different events which help in networking and in growing further. It is also a feel good thing when strangers reach out saying how the book has helped them. Wishing you the very best in building your brand.

You can follow Author Sangeeta on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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