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Diageo India CEO Hina Nagarajan: I've never thought in my professional life that I'm a woman

Hina Nagarajan, managing director and CEO of Diageo India, shares her advice for women: focus on results.

By  Storyboard18Jan 17, 2023 5:39 PM
Diageo India CEO Hina Nagarajan: I've never thought in my professional life that I'm a woman
"I took a go-fast-go-slow-go-fast approach. I was growing fast when I was not married. When I got married and had children, I slowed down a little bit. When my children were a bit grown up and independent, I accelerated my career again. That really helped me," says Diageo India chief Hina Nagarajan

Hina Nagarajan, managing director and CEO of Diageo India, is one of the few women CEOs in an industry dominated by men. During an exclusive interview with Storyboard18, Nagarajan, who leads the India operations of global liquor major Diageo, shared her take on building a career and her advice for women in the workforce.

Read on.

I have faced exactly every challenge that a woman faces in her career and it is not necessarily brought in by other people. These are just life stage challenges like when I got married and I had children and balancing the role of mother, wife and career woman. When I was doing that I think infrastructurally companies were not geared for this. Today, companies are more sensitive. What really kept me going was the support of my family that I had mobilized. I asked for help when it was needed. I didn't try to do everything myself.

Whether it's alcobev or any other industry, I think these tips would be relevant anywhere.

Firstly, choose your company wisely. I was very particular about choosing my companies. I came to Diageo because of its culture and the focus on inclusion and diversity. I knew that I could be my authentic self here. If I needed some time off for the family, I would get it and everyone was supportive of that.

Secondly, I took a go-fast-go-slow-go-fast approach. I was growing fast when I was not married. When I got married and had children, I slowed down a little bit. When my children were a bit grown up and independent, I accelerated my career again. That really helped me.

Thirdly, I feel quite often that we also psych ourselves on gender discrimination sometimes. Frankly, I've never thought in my professional life that I'm a woman. I'm only focused on great results and said my results will take me forward. I derived strength from all my supporters rather than getting derailed by detractors.

My message to everyone who's trying to build a career: Focus on great results. You're a professional. So just be one and move on in your journey.

First Published on Jan 17, 2023 5:19 PM