General Manager Retail
I hail from Dehradun. While, my mother is a housewife, my father was an entrepreneur. Coming from a joint family dealing and sharing with people comes easy to me. Being the only daughter in my family, I had a pampered childhood and I’m a daddy’s daughter.
As I hit 20s I took a job and discovered my flair for business that pushed me into a sales stint of 4 years which I thoroughly enjoyed. Next, I moved into retail and realized its huge untapped potential. I could sense that if we do well, we would rock the market. The Airtel retail story evolved over the years I worked on the COCO store model and consequently, the first three stores. We then had a fantastic model of almost 2000 plus small format stores, service-led growing at a fast pace.
I have had professional mentors without whom my thought process would have been very fragmented. During the start of my career, my boss, Elvis stressed: “Don’t over evaluate. The best way of getting work done is to just DO IT”. I learnt the skills of managing people and running a business from Mr. Mohit Parashar and Mr. Srini. I learnt the art to make the brain and heart work in unison and to use my gut and follow one’s instinct.
The importance of a value system at workplace cannot be overstated. A successful business is the culmination of vision, value system, and execution. A company’s value system reflects in its employees’ behavior. The humility that comes from my background has helped me immensely and has always kept me steady in my career. Happiness comes from achievements. My father taught me a solution-oriented value system approach to problems. I remember taking 6-7 months to create a retail strategy but it took over 4 months for the board to approve it. Waiting for the decision was and tough but a great learning experience. It taught me the great virtue of patience.
As an employer brand, Airtel is a fantastic company. It follows learnings driven approach where even if you commit mistakes you can course correct and learn from your mistakes. Trial and error is a part of the growing culture. By believing in pilots, we accept failure and move forward. The things we do well at Airtel, we do really well. That’s the beauty. My advice to women is that don’t come with a mindset that you are of a different gender – at Airtel we are all equals.
Two books I would recommend for young professionals are Creativity.Inc, it helps you with adaptive skills and The Alchemist which instills in you that 'You will never be able to escape from your heart, so it is best to listen to what it has to say'. Women in mid management need to and can balance everything. It’s tough at times, but you need to strike a balance. For work life balance, I believe in spending time with myself. Have a hobby that can keep you healthy and creative. Learn to enjoy work life and family life. For working mothers, I would say: Do not compromise ever. Balance work-life and give yourself time.