Inspired to Succeed

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Inspired to Succeed

In both her personal and professional life, Anshu Vazirani, Vice President – Procurement and Real Estate, Diageo India, has taken cues from her mother who is a doctor, passionate about serving the community. As Anshu admits, the courage to beat all odds has been drawn from her and this has certainly helped her progress in the male-dominated alcoholic beverages industry.

Punished by teachers for bunking class and preparing for JEE exams on the staircases of school – these are some of the most memorable moments that Anshu Vazirani recalls from her schooldays at a girls’ convent in Bhopal. Growing up, there were no girl who had ever made it through JEE from her school or neighbourhood or at the hole-in-the-wall coaching class she went to. Anshu and two of her friends, who made it through JEE, set a new benchmark for the batches of students to come – suddenly there were many other girls in her school wanting to pursue a career in STEM-related fields.

The keyword here is benchmark for that is what Anshu is most passionate about. Even today, being among a small group of women in the supply chain, she strives to show and create a path for many other women out there who want to excel in these fields but don’t get enough opportunities and guidance. Over the past 17 years and across four companies, Anshu has mentored over 20 women formally and many others informally to help them grow in their careers. This is an opportunity she continues to get from her role of Vice President – Procurement and Real Estate at Diageo India.

Anshu learnt a lot from her mother and admires her for having run the gauntlet of many challenges, including excelling in a male-dominated field in her times. Her mother lost when she was barely 13 years old and left with the responsibility of taking care of her family, including two younger brothers.

Even after spending an entire day at work in a hospital, in the evenings she would see patients who couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit. On weekends, she would volunteer to treat patients at free camps set up in the community. Anshu would often accompany her to these camps to witness the magic she did, not just through her treatment but with the hope she instilled among those patients by way of her words.

Inclusion and Diversity

At Diageo, in particular, the management has come a long way in terms of inclusion and diversity. One of the key enablers is its progressive policies and workplace transformation. Having an executive team which comprises 50 percent women certainly helps ensure that women’s views are well-represented at the company. That said there is long way to go at the country level as far as women’s representation in India’s alcobev industry is concerned. “I think active investment in enabling careers for women in STEM-related fields will take not just women, but also the country’s progress to the next level,” Anshu opines.

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