Kanchan Wankhede has a passion for helping fellow entrepreneurs start their own businesses in the Blue Water area.
After all, the struggle of starting an organization from scratch is a familiar one for her. Not only is she a recent transplant from India, but she also built her human resource business, Great Workplace LLC, from the ground up in Port Huron. She uses her experiences to help build new businesses and improve existing ones.
“Starting off a business is not easy, for sure. The clock starts ticking when you want to do something,” says Wankhede.
Nearly every week, you will find her at Loft 912, a Port Huron-based co-working and event space that has served as a local incubator for entrepreneurs. She is constantly sharing her expertise through individual conversations and organized groups.
She also helps coordinate Blue Water Startups, an organization that provides new business owners with connections, resources, and encouragement via monthly meetings, guest speakers, and community involvement opportunities.
From India to Port Huron
Wankhede's experience dates back to her home country of India, where she worked for what she says is a progressive company that valued strong human resource policies and procedures. It was there her leadership qualities began to flourish.
She eventually moved on to another company that gave her international exposure and allowed her to understand and respect a wide range of cultures. While many of its employees were based in the U.S., the large company had ties with the UK, Brazil, China, and Mexico. With more than 40,000 employees worldwide, the position allowed Wankhede to understand the entire scope and needs of a large organization.
“Diversity was an important pillar in my development as a professional. I became more open and inclusive, and I was encouraged not only to share what I had in mind, but also to listen to what others had in mind,” she says.
While her career brought her on brief visits to the U.S., it was marriage that eventually brought Wankhede to St. Clair County to settle down permanently.
The decision to move with her son to the United States was a big one, but also a choice she never regretted, especially since she was gaining a loving husband and daughter. The Blue Water area turned out to be a natural fit.
“It was love at first sight for Port Huron.” says Wankhede. “I just love this city.”
Her experience helps improve and build businesses in the Blue Water area.
As Wankhede made new friends, they encouraged her to put her vast human resources experience to use. It ultimately motivated her to resume her career and start Great Workplace, LLC.
From there she has gone on to work with a growing number of businesses in the area. She's helped with audits, implementing new processes, recruiting and training.
“It’s not just fluff, and it’s not just theory. Human resources can impact your bottom line.” says Wankhede.
Leadership, management, strategy, and performance training are a big part of her future plans.
Add in a healthy dose of people strategy and a heart for helping her fellow entrepreneurs, and Wankhede has become a vital asset to the Blue Water area’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“What’s your conviction? What is that one thing that you would do anyways? What’s on the other side, you don’t know,” says Wankhede. “What you know is what you can offer.”
Her website can be found at https://greatworkplace.us/