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After starting out in a career in the pharmaceutical industry, Poonam Gururajan (nee Vallabh) from the Class of 2001 followed her heart to established a successful wedding and event consultancy catering to couples from diverse South Asian backgrounds. 

It’s been almost 20 years since I graduated from Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School. Time certainly flies. I have fond memories though of my time at school. From learning how to sew in craft classes back in Year 5 to studying Chinese and French in my high school years, I really loved the opportunities I had as a student.

I participated in a number of activities, including House sporting events, school fetes and even travelled to Japan as a cultural exchange student, which was a highlight. I’m still in touch with my host sister, Saeko and her family!

My VCE subjects were quite diverse. I was great at Languages, but I did also love Science. Honestly, I was at a crossroad and didn’t quite know what career path I wanted to follow. Not an uncommon thing to do back then, I took the plunge and ended up following a career in Science and worked in the pharmaceutical industry. 

It wasn’t until midway through my career, that I figured out, my true passion was actually in events.

I met my husband, Anand, in 2010. He came into my life at a particularly challenging time when my mum was suffering from terminal cancer. His support and companionship helped me through, and we got married in 2012. It was at that point I also decided to follow an alternative career path and returned to school as a mature age student, to study hospitality and event management.

I realised after planning our own wedding, that there was little to almost no representation of South Asians in the wedding industry. This formed part of my motivation and drive to pursue a career in weddings.

I worked in several hospitality and event planning roles including Grand Hyatt Melbourne and Chartered Accountants, all this whilst running a popular South Asian wedding blog.

We moved to Ireland in 2015 for three and a half years. This was a highlight for us as we got to experience living overseas, an opportunity not everyone gets. We travelled around Europe and also Africa. We returned to settle down recently in Sydney where I finally launched my wedding and event planning business this year.

I have made so many new friends and have built a network of collaborators here and abroad in this industry and have a strong following on social media which has in particular, made this year more rewarding.

COVID-19 has certainly put a dent in the wedding industry, but despite this, I’m grateful for the exciting opportunities that are coming my way. I just booked in my first wedding for 2021 and look forward to planning more weddings and events.

There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but what I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur and running my own business, is that there’s no clear path. These are the experiences that are going to shape you. I’m constantly learning and innovating as I go and thankfully, I have a very supportive husband/business partner, family and friends by my side.