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Maria Pontes | The Entrepreneurs of India Magazine January 2023




The Founder of ‘Dreams & Desires’ had never thought of growing up to become the Founder of ‘Dreams & Desires.” As a matter of fact, it was after retirement that she thought of pursuing entrepreneurship as full-time work. We’re talking about Maria in 2016, a year which made her realise that retirement was just around the corner. So, after giving it thought for a good four years, she decided that she had to give back to the society. She met with an International Coach and it dawned on her then, “there was no looking back.”





Maria comes from a family of seven, four of which are her siblings. Unfortunately, it is with deepest sorrow that the number reduced to six due to the loss of her father. It was a hope-shattering moment for the family, not only emotionally, but also financially. She was unable to go for further studies after Grade 10 and was forced to take tuitions for children in order to help with the condition. However, she learned to stand up on her own two legs and as the saying goes, time is the greatest healer, if not the greatest it certainly proved to be helpful in Maria’s case. “I began as a stenographer and retired as an HR Manager from NIIT Ltd, Mumbai.”





Maria wed and had a daughter. If this were a Bollywood movie, the story would have ended with a ‘happily ever after’ here and the credits would be rolling but this is reality. And reality is harsh. “I completed my graduation at the age of thirty-two managing a child, job, home and a troubled marriage.” Pontes made her decision to call it quits with her husband, untying a twelve-year old knot. “I moved from a victim of domestic violence to a victor as a single mother.”

Maria had it in her to speak the truth and help her story make her rather than letting the past break her. She currently serves as All India Past President and Advisory Board Member for the IASAP is a Member of the HR Infotech Association. In 2010, she was featured on Times Now and called on several talk shows to inspire and teach millions who could not stand up for themselves. In the lockdown, she made her debut as a writer and a Social Media Influencer.


In 2022 she was invited by the Delhi Management Association to share her insights on the challenges womenpreneurs face. And dear readers, if all this did not surprise you, at the age of fifty-eight she became an entrepreneur.


Her workshops and seminars help people reinvent and find themselves. She specialises in coaching homemakers, students and working or retired professionals. Maria knows how to get what she wants, and is bold about letting it out, about letting the world know she wants it. It is not shameful to wish something for yourself, and then act to make that happen. It’s actually the straight opposite, it’s something to be proud of.


It is remarkable how much perspective and action matter. Had she broken down after failures, had she given up on her career or life, had she thought ‘it is too late’, she would have not reached the summit she has reached today. There are a dozen other ‘had she’s’ we can think of, but what matters is she didn’t. Despite knowing she may regret the decision, she believed in herself and gathered the confidence to ‘just do it.’ This confidence, ladies and gentlemen, is what moulds Maria into the brave woman that she is.





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