I Prioritise Integrity, Accountability, Transparency & Collaboration: Jayanti Chauhan, Bisleri International

She believes in leading by example, promoting curiosity, adaptability and learning from failures

Having been associated with the brand for more than 15 years, Bisleri International's Vice Chairman, Jayanti Khan Chauhan, is a force to reckon with, given her innate understanding of the various facets of the company's operations. In her journey, she has been at the helm of brand-building and new product development, helping her drive business results through a nuanced approach.

Chauhan's experience with reviving factories across the country and implementing process automation in her early days paved the way for her to oversee every aspect of Vedica and eventually go on to spearhead it, along with transforming Bisleri and aligning it with current marketing trends.

Her extensive global experience and cross-category experiences have injected a dynamic and youthful perspective into the business landscape and also orchestrated more robust and cohesive teams that significantly enhance overall organisational performance and facilitate accelerated revenue growth.

Excerpts:

Q. Take us through your journey to becoming the Vice Chairperson at Bisleri. What were some pivotal moments?

I had just returned from London and was seeking a direction. Initially based in Delhi, I started observing operations at our Delhi factory and became deeply involved in its processes. Alongside my team, we delved deeply into enhancing its processes, ultimately improving its efficiency. After nearly two years, I transitioned to Mumbai and took up the challenge of rebranding Vedica to grow its sales. Despite initial obstacles, I assembled a dedicated team that shared the same brand vision. Over time, we executed a comprehensive rebranding strategy, focusing on packaging and robust marketing.

In the last two years, my engagement in Bisleri’s decision-making processes has intensified, steering its evolution into a brand that resonates with youth. I prioritise continual growth while finding fulfilment, drawing lessons from past mistakes and embracing intuition as a pathway to success.

Q. As a leader, what are the core values you strive to embody and instil in your team?

As a leader, I prioritise integrity, accountability, transparency, collaboration and continuous growth. These core values guide our collective efforts towards success and excellence.

Q. How do you intend to foster innovation and creativity within your team at Bisleri?

To foster innovation and creativity, we, at Bisleri, ensure an inclusive environment where ideas flow freely. We recognise the value of bringing a fresh perspective through innovation and creativity, along with the eagerness to learn. We host brainstorming sessions, allocate resources for experimentation, and provide professional development opportunities. I lead by example, promoting curiosity, adaptability, and learning from failures. By nurturing a culture that embraces innovation, creativity, and enjoyment, we propel our success forward. We firmly believe that happy employees are the cornerstone of a thriving company.

Q. Reflecting on your career, what challenges have you faced as a woman in leadership and how have you overcome them?

In my family, comprising my dad and his brother, there are four daughters, rendering gender inconsequential; nonetheless, my age presented a challenge in this scenario. Relying on my instincts and guided common sense has proven invaluable in overcoming these obstacles.

Q. Could you share a significant achievement under your leadership at Bisleri that you are particularly proud of?

As a leader, it brings me joy to witness Vedica, a premium water brand, selling hundreds of thousands of cases today. The brand flourished despite scepticism within the system in the early days. Our robust sales force and marketing team have played a pivotal role in Vedica's success over time. Recruiting individuals whose mindset and vision resonate with the brand has proven to be a pivotal decision, contributing significantly to our achievements.

Q. On a slightly broader note, in your opinion, what are the most pressing issues women face in the Indian corporate world today and how can they be addressed?

The root of this issue lies in societal norms globally, where women are fundamentally misunderstood due to entrenched patriarchal beliefs that permeate the corporate world as well.

Furthermore, there exists a mindset disparity that spans across generations, from baby boomers to Gen Z. Gen Z approaches social norms with a different perspective, demonstrating greater acceptance of diverse opinions, various cultures, etc. Their mindset is characterised by diversity. Whereas most baby boomers are conservative. 

Addressing these issues necessitates proactive industry measures that initiate change in male mindsets to create safe environments for women. Implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, tailored mentorship programmes, transparent pay practices, and zero-tolerance policies for harassment are critical steps towards fostering equitable opportunities and cultivating inclusive corporate cultures conducive to women's professional success.

Q. How does Bisleri support gender equality and the empowerment of women within the organisation?

At Bisleri International, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity. Our organisation is led by a woman and we maintain a gender-neutral approach towards our employees. We prioritise personality and perspective during the hiring process.

Our ongoing efforts are focused on fostering a diverse team, creating new opportunities, and offering support to women within our workforce. Ensuring the safety of women in the workplace is paramount to us and we enforce safety measures across levels. Additionally, we offer flexibility to women during significant life events such as marriage and childbirth.

Our employee-friendly policies are designed to not only benefit our employees but also the overall betterment of our organisation. Our core principle has always been placing our employees at the forefront, recognising them as the backbone of Bisleri’s success and the driving force behind our journey to becoming a trusted brand in the country.

Q. Can you share an instance where you advocated for diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

As an advocate for diversity and inclusion within our organisation, I firmly believe that embracing diversity is integral to Bisleri's growth trajectory. Being a woman, I understand how the menstrual cycle is not the same for everyone; therefore, along with the HR department, we have introduced a menstrual leave policy where women can take a day to work from home.

Our HR team is also in the process of rolling out our paternal leave policy and is continuously exploring the possibilities of introducing programmes that ensure equitable support for all employees, regardless of gender.

How do you manage the balance between your professional responsibilities and your personal life?

Having an excellent team makes my life easy as a promoter. Their dedication and alignment with our shared vision significantly contribute to easing my workload. At home, I am passionate about cultivating organic vegetables and spending quality time with my pets. Additionally, indulging in street photography allows me to unwind and find inspiration outside of work commitments.

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