It Is The Small Victories & Shared Successes That Resonate With Me: Schauna Chauhan, Parle Agro

A real eager beaver, Chauhan encourages her team to view challenges as opportunities as well as pushes them to expand their knowledge and skills

A 'leader among leaders', Parle Agro's CEO Schauna Chauhan stands synonymous with grit, grace and gumption, spearheading an Rs 8,500 crore beverage firm. Chauhan's determination, perseverance and prudence have led to Parle Agro cementing itself as one of India’s largest home-grown beverage firms. From a brand that was once heavily dependent on Frooti to introducing a slew of products, Chauhan has always eyed extensive reach and sustainability for Parle Agro. 

On her work front, Chauhan likes to look at things through a positive lens, drawing out a clear roadmap that would enable her organisation to achieve its targets.

In a quick chat with her, Chauhan takes us through her leadership style, the challenges she navigated in her career, pressing issues women face in the Indian corporate world and more.

Excerpts:

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

Respect, integrity, open communication, adaptability, empathy, teamwork and accountability. By integrating these values, one can create a more engaged and higher-performing team, contributing to the broader objectives of the organisation and enabling individuals to achieve their best.

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

By encouraging people to view challenges as opportunities and pushing them to expand their knowledge and skills.

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

I have navigated without explicitly encountering challenges attributed to my gender. This could be due to my perception; I did not view any challenges I faced as directly linked to being a woman. My focus has been more on my work than gender dynamics.

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

It is the small victories and shared successes that resonate with me.

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?

Societal expectations, work-life balance challenges, bias and stereotyping. Solving these and many more such pressing issues will take time to be completely addressed. Building awareness, having educational programmes, and creating opportunities for women are critical steps. However, I also believe creating awareness for men is essential, educating them more on cultural shifts. It is a continuous process that requires consistent effort and dedication at all levels.

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

Gender diversity and inclusion are not just a policy for us but part of our culture from the beginning.

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

I schedule, prioritise, and plan well in advance.

Q. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to leadership roles in their careers?

Believe in yourself. Go to school. Become financially independent. And you will see the difference. Do not allow anyone to tell you that you can’t dream big. The dreams are yours, and no one can take them away from you.

Q. What message would you like to share with women around the world on this International Women's Day that just concluded?

You possess the power to steer your life in any direction you choose. It’s up to you. Embrace the journey ahead with confidence and determination. Let nothing hold you back, for within you lies the strength to overcome any obstacle.

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