Here’s how to destroy a stereotype

Sundeep Bhandal let her father choose her husband. Since then, she has made a career of defying expectations.

In 2008, she started an IT temp agency, and in three years it grew nearly 2,700%, to revenue of $21.3 million.

The key for Bhandal, as for so many successful women, was having a supportive father, husband and in-laws. For example:

Her family in small-town India pushed her to do things no other girl did. She was the only girl who drove a car, tooling around town in a Jeep. Her father stood by her against the naysayers and her grandmother told her to quit embroidering and study.

A year after meeting her husband on their wedding day, she flew to San Francisco and moved in with her in-laws. “You’re not like other girls,” her husband said, and not as a compliment.

Nevertheless, he evolved, deciding to allow her independence. She took a job as an assistant payroll manager and worked her way up to manager. Three years in, she started her own company, Anjaneyap. Within a year, clients flocked in.

Her husband’s support was exceptional. “Back in India,” she says, “a lot of men would never help their wives with the housework. At times, Gurial was doing even more than I was on the home front.”

Today her parents brag. “I don’t mind,” Bhandal says. “Being an example to other daughters back home makes me feel so good.”

— Adapted from “How I came here as an arranged bride and became my own boss,” Sundeep Bhandal as told to Issie Lapowsky, Inc.