No matter how much progress has been made, it is always necessary to take a moment and acknowledge how far we have come and how far we yet have to go. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg says “Women belong in all places where decisions are made…It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
On this Women’s Day, we bring to you the simple yet profound wisdom of three women leaders at Indian Designs. Jessica Hora – Product Head leading new business development; Priya Mascarenhas Pinto – Senior Merchandising Manager, and Sanjyota Joshi – a veteran Senior Merchandising Manager, both of whom are handling two of our largest clients. These inspiring trio share their insightful opinion and thoughts on navigating some of the recent challenges of the past two years and what it takes to lead a team!
Q. The past few years have been a testing time. What were the challenges that came up during this time and what did you learn from them?
Jessica: “I’ll talk on behalf of the team and I’ll talk about myself. First, I’ll talk about the team. I know it was challenging because it was kind of a scare. Sitting at home we didn’t know how to operate. Although we were in talks of how we would go about it, it was a surprise we were not prepared for when it actually came down to it. The biggest challenge was how do we get the data online because we were still in the process of planning for that digital move.
Personally, it was almost the same you know, the first role given to me was planning the rosters. Sounds simple right? But the work needed to be equally distributed which was a double challenge. Somehow we managed to do that in the initial months and then, thankfully, we were permitted to come in and operate. So this was something that came onto us all of sudden and I wouldn’t say it was difficult but I kind of love challenges! And now looking back, we did pretty good given the circumstance!
I also had to let the team know that it is okay to take a break. It’s okay to message that you won’t be available for two hours and it’s okay to message that you are not keeping well. Nobody should be under stress when working from home and since it came as a shock, you need to make sure that people are in a good state of mind to work or it won’t happen. Yeah, I think we did well.”
Priya Mascarenhas Pinto,
Q. When working from home as a team lead, it must not have been easy to gauge a fellow team member’s mindset or how they were feeling from just zoom calls and text messages. How did you navigate this with your team?
Priya: “For me, my team is like my family. Less like colleagues more like family, because when you are on the same wavelength with them it’s good for work. So within the team and also within the organization, I always treat people as friends so that it’s easy for us to understand what they are feeling. That makes it easy to work together. So when we went into the lockdown and we were working from home you know what their wavelength is and they also know what you expect from them. So that it is easier for them to approach me and vice versa to get the work done, and in our focus, we were united. So I didn’t face a lot of challenges though non-physical appearance becomes very difficult in our field at least. Somehow we had to manage & we have come out successfully.”
Q. They say moving ahead, we are going to move to a hybrid style of work in the future. A four-day workweek etc. What are your thoughts about this change?
Sanjyota: “To be very frank it is very dreamy. It used to be very dreamy at that point in time when I used to see my cousins and sister-in-law working from home. She also has a kid, I also have a kid. I was like wow it’s so wonderful to be with the child all the time.
The lockdown really kind of changed it. You cannot set that time frame from 9 to 6. You cannot do that when it comes to working from home. We have time for cooking in the morning, having breakfast, and then coming to the office. There was a lot of time that was getting mixed up between daily routine and home chores along with work asks. I remember my parents saying “You are at home yet you are so quiet! Are you with us or not?” So I personally didn’t like it when I actually had to live through it.
But then it should actually work. I have always felt that the amount of work we do and the amount of stress we experience can actually be reduced with a four-day workweek. I don’t know how the industry will allow that because we are very close to the production. There are a lot of cross-functional departments asking for details or trying to sort out concerns. I’m not sure how it would work but I’m again in that work-from-home kind of a dreamy thought about this too. Guess we will wait and see!”
Q. You are a veteran in your field.
Are there any lessonsyou have picked up along the way that you would like to share with young women coming up in the industry?
Yeah, so when you talk about my experience when you talk about the last few years. If I could with all my heart just tell someone, if somebody can observe what I'm going to say, It would be lovely.Jessica HoraProduct Head
Because I have learnt it from experience in the last few years and how many odd years I have worked. You should not get too comfortable sitting in your comfort zone, because that's a killer. You will kill yourself you will kill whatever capacity, capability you have inside you. They say growth and comfort can not ride the same horse. You are going to kill it one day or another. Once you become lazy you tend to be just on your couch - couch potato whatever they call it. You should not do that, at whatever age, even if you are 60 you are very much capable of doing a lot in your life. So just get out there and do something about it.
When you are starting your career itself you should be goal-oriented. That will really help you, it will take you a long way. If you really want to grow in your career you have to make the decision on the right day. Whatever comes your way you have to decide, I want to be here and after so many years I want to be here. You can adjust and grow and adjust to any atmosphere if you have that goal in life. That's the first thing you have to do. Make up your mind. This is where I have to be.Priya Mascarenhas PintoMerchandising Manager
Executing two or three orders, handling two or three situations and thinking I’m there, I'm ready for the war. That shouldn't be there. It's a continuous learning process.Sanjyota JoshiMerchandising Manager
What is it actually? Why has it been asked of you? What is the reason behind it? What is the intention behind it? You need to understand.
If I tell you to give a fabric swatch to somebody you will go keep it on their desk and come back. But understand why you are going to that department and what it is that you can take out from those guys.
If you just do what is told to you, you will never understand how the other person is adding value to your work. You'll not be able to take out the best from them. Everybody has something to give. You have to pick it up from them. That's what I'm always telling my team.