Ameesha Prabhu – CEO at TRRAIN

My City Woman's story on Amessha_Prabhu-CEO at TRRAIN
Amessha Prabhu-CEO at TRRAIN

About Ameesha Prabhu:

Ameesha Prabhu – the CEO at TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India) shares her leadership and success mantra. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, her passion and deep-rooted conviction for retail is inspirational. Read her story here.

About the venture:

TRRAIN, a brainchild of Mr B S Nagesh, former MD, Shoppers Stop, was started in 2011 with a vision of Empowering People in Retail and to achieve immediate and lasting change in the lives of retail associates in India. The venture is committed to upgrading the lives of people in retail, both at work and at home. TRRAIN has undertaken various initiatives to enable retail associates to upgrade their skills through TRRAIN Education Program and build pride and dignity through the TRRAIN Retail Awards and Retail Employee Day. TRRAIN’s initiative on building inclusive retail work force by training and employing people with disabilities (PwD) has received tremendous support from the industry.

Tell us something about yourself

I have over 25 years of experience in retail industry and have worked across different roles across departments and specialty stores, lifestyle and value format. In past I have been associated with organizations such as Tesco Hindustan Wholesaling, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, Crossword Bookstores Ltd, SWATCH Group and Shoppers Stop Ltd.  As a CEO of TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India), I’m responsible for bringing this vision to life by bringing in more retail partners into the fold; devising new ways to engage with retail associates, raise funds to launch new initiatives for retail associates and work towards inclusive hiring agenda among other things. I also take a keen interest in mentoring my young and enthusiastic team so that they are ready to deal with any challenges that may come our way.

How did you decide to start your venture – TRRAIN?

My City Woman's story on Ameesha with the TRRAIN Team
Ameesha with the TRRAIN Team

TRRAIN has been founded by Mr B S Nagesh and I joined him in with an aim to execute his vision.I love retail, I worked in retail and here was an opportunity to work with many retailers on various initiatives. That was the prospect that I liked the most – to make a difference to many lives in retail. TRRAIN was born with that dream—to impact people in retail, at work and at home and I wanted to be part of it.

We did an in depth research with retail associates when we started TRRAIN. Our Research spoke to 150 modern & Traditional retail associates; Clearly up-skilling themselves for career progression was a prime agenda. Saving for their home, marriage or education was another. Research also revealed that retail executives were severely lacking in financial security and yearn for pride and respect. These findings helped us frame our objectives for the next few years:


  • Pride & Respect via Retail Employees Day & TRRAIN Retail Awards
  • Upskilling the retail associates via our TRRAIN Aptech education program
  • Inclusion – via our livelihood initiative Pankh, Wings of Destiny (training & placing persons with disabilities in various retail jobs)
    &upcoming women empowerment program
  • Social Security via a new platform wherein we would like to bring a host of benefits & access for our retail associates

What are the key challenges you face in your job?

There are many challenges while running a not-for-profit.

TRRAIN works with partners & associations for its various initiatives.We collaborate with various stakeholders  and have put systems & processes in place. Sometimes the biggest challenge arises when partners or associations do not have aligned priorities Hence accomplishment of objectives and goals within set time frame becomes difficult to achieve. The landscape is changing with more focus on the not for profit sector but in certain programs we still face issues at execution level. .

Another challenge, as a not for profit, is hiring the right people. Not too many professionals are ready to work in the not for profit sector yet. We offer market salaries but still its difficult to find the right person for the job at times. It is essential to build a good team who share the same vision and goals as the organization.

What keeps you going?

My belief is that the retail industry in India can be the engine of generating jobs for the economy. It is one of the sectors which has a job for semi educated to foreign educated youth. The consumption story is India is still unfolding and growing fastest in the world thus the feeling that we are working with the associates who impact a company’s top line directly keeps me going. We think that we are right at the center of the action.

How do you see yourself evolve going forward?

I am a learner and I love startup challenges. For me, every day when I can think, plan & execute anything new – be it a process or a project and lead it to a logical conclusion gives me a high.  I would like to see TRRAIN become a charity of choice for the retail fraternity & given the projects & programs that we work on – am sure we will defintely impact many lives in retail & accomplish our vision of creating a better life at work & home for our retailers & retail associates.

What is one advice you have for anyone else wanting to start their own business venture?

I believe in the simple principle of 3P’s –  People, Passion and Purpose so its important to be aware of the below:

  • Understanding your target audience
  • Clear Vision & Goals – don’t deviate unless stakeholders / markets say otherwise
  • Commitment to the vision
  • Timely execution is the key – too many blueprints with no plan for action is of no use
  • Pilot it & then scale it
  • Cautious Optimism or Calculated Risks is key.
  • People are very important

You can reach TRRAIN at:





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