Putting the consumer first has been the underlying theme of my career. I’m fascinated by what drives the consumer proposition and all that is required to sustain it. As a business and marketing professional, I’ve gained experience in each job that has prepared me for the next challenge.
One of my early roles was in a market research organization, where I gained great insight into what it takes to generate consumer passion for a product. All too often, we stop at what is possible to achieve rather than going that extra mile to delight the consumer.
My strong consumer lens has enabled me to launch and revitalize consumer businesses across different markets and countries. I have worked in foods, cosmetics, and appliances—throughout Asia and the United States. Today I guide the customer loyalty plans for Whirlpool globally.
The misconception that you have to be tough-minded to excel in the harsh world of business is gradually being replaced with the notion that work can be a rewarding extension of your life. These days, you can be most effective by bringing “yourself” to work.
Business is about relationships and empowering people to do their best work. I gain the most as a professional and a person by challenging people and helping them to unlock their hidden talents. By creating emotional connections with people, I try to promote a culture where trust and mutual respect are achieved and teamwork flourishes.
Work/life balance has been a challenge because I’ve always worked long hours and often traveled for weeks at a time; but my family is important and always comes first. When I was offered the opportunity to launch the Whirlpool brand in India, my husband and I discussed our life priorities and decided that having a second child was more important than career opportunities. Whirlpool had the confidence in me to structure a plan that benefited my family as well as my career.
A supportive family is essential. My mother and mother-in-law took turns taking care of our children while my husband and I wereat work. In addition, my husband encouraged me to take a foreign assignment as a way to further my career, despite the fact that we were apart for three years!
When I began my career, it was important to me to be well regarded as a business professional. Today, I strive to be a well-rounded person with a passion for activities outside of work. As my tennis partner recently remarked, my definition of success today would probably include perfecting my overhead smash!