My Journey While Moving Ahead In My Career:
My first role was in Sales Management - which I had to push through with my superiors since there were no women in FMCG sales at that time. But in my head, I was convinced that if I wanted to rise in my career, I had to learn the ropes from ground up, just like all the other guys. The first three years of managing large teams of sales executives, many double my age, and handling vendors, retailers and distributors in regions like Karnataka and NCR was like being thrown at the deep end and learning swimming to survive. The first 3 years of my career have been instrumental in breaking my inhibitions, building my confidence and worked as a crash course in negotiation, influencing skills and people management. These have stood me in good stead throughout my career.
The biggest challenge one faces being a woman is that of "perception". This is especially true in roles that are traditionally male dominated eg. Sales, Trade Marketing etc. However, in my experience, if you can prove that you mean business and you're not biding your time in that assignment, the focus quickly shifts to more meaningful issues relevant to the business. Also, there is usually more resistance (and reluctance to being led) by a "Lady boss" by a predominantly male dominated business team. Again, with patience, perseverance and professional excellence, this can be overcome, and I have managed to do that successfully in all my assignments, whether they were at Dabur, Unilever or Philips
Words Of Wisdom To Restart Your Career:
What advice would you give to women who are looking to either restart their career or want to move up the corporate ladder? I would like to share the best advice I ever got. "The ball is always in your court.". It is up to you to make a difference. Change your situation. Work to your advantage. The instant you start making excuses for people not giving you enough opportunities, not being fair to you, not "letting" you do something, you are kicking the ball out to someone else and losing control. Keep the ball to yourself. Wrest the ball. So that you can determine how to play it to your advantage. Take initiative. Take responsibility. And never take the excuse for being a woman to compromise on your delivery of excellence!
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