Sarika Bajoria found a peaceful refuge when she started attending meditation classes at a modern Buddhist center in Manhattan three years ago. Her spiritual immersion coincided with a bold professional move: She started her own architecture practice in the thick of the recession in 2010.
"It took a huge leap of faith," she says. "I had to put myself out there and market to clients, not just in New York City, but in India and in the Middle East, where I had some contacts." Meditation, she says, kept her grounded as she gradually built up her Manhattan-based firm, Per-forma Studio. Bajoria, 35, has kept her firm nimble, with two to three full-time employees and a fleet of freelancers and consultants. She has landed a number of large projects abroad, including a 700,000-sq-ft five-star hotel and retail complex in Mumbai, a 20,000-sq-ft high-end lifestyle store in Dubai and a new facade for the Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata.