Beginning Of Career:
I started my journey with Tata Group (Tata Tele services) as a Management Trainee in Marketing. Working with TATA group was an amazing experience. Back then, if one wanted to work in marketing, they had to get 2 to 3 years of sales exposure. Freshers, especially a non-ivy league grad hardly had a chance to get into hard-core marketing function.
At that time TATAs were hiring Management Trainees for Rural Sales and they were calling schools from all over the state. There were 10 positions and thousands of applications. When I was getting interviewed, I shared my interest to work in marketing function. The panel heard me and asked me to present a product launch campaign in Rural India.
I did it with a lot of excitement without knowing that they were seriously considering me for a marketing role. They had 1 position in marketing team which they did not disclose at that point considering their priority was to fill sales position. Out of thousands of students, I was the only one who got this opportunity because I spoke my mind out while being interviewed for a sales role because of TATA's value system of not judging the cover by the book. I had the interest to take the job, they had the job to give and it worked out. This incident has played an amazing role in my life now when I am recruiting people in my team, I actually put a lot of weight on the intent and hunger in the person to work and not so much with where they come from and what experience they carry.
Challenges Faced Being A Woman:
I come from a small town and was born in a family coming from a very conservative community. The struggle to get accepted as an independent woman began much before I even entered the corporate world. I was lucky that my father did not affirm to our community norms and decided to let me carve my own path. He fought the most part of the battle. Challenges for women exist and we cannot deny it. I am blessed with good mentors and bosses around and did not face much problem in growing up the ladder. However, when looking for new opportunities, I did come across pay imbalance situations and I chose not to take up those assignments.
Advice For Other Women:
To grow in the corporate world and to stay true to who you are requires a lot of courage and patience. To add to that complexity is this fast-changing pace of knowledge cycle earlier (around 10 years back) your knowledge or a trend would stay relevant at least 5 years before a new change wave entered, but now it's probably less than 18 months.
So I cannot put the onus of learning only on my team. I have to equally shoulder them and stay updated with the latest trends, technology & shift in consumer behavior, be a good observer of generation transition from Millennial's to Gen Z etc. In such situation, I want women to come with a very prepared mindset that this is a world that operates on a 24X7 basis, it's lot of hard work, requires constant learning and sometimes rewards may take time to come. However, one thing is for sure that the wait will be totally worth it and one should still take the plunge fearlessly.
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