What was your dream job in your growing up days?
Growing up I always knew fashion and lifestyle was what I was inclined towards. When I started my journey I knew the luxury space is what I wanted to be in. My dream was to run my own company and today that dream has manifested.

Where did you study and how did you start out at the beginning of your professional career?
I studied at Stella Maris College in Chennai and completed my MBA at ISB. I started my career working and promoting clients in the hospitality industry.

When you began your career many years ago, did you ever imagine that you would be in the liquor space?
I was always fascinated by the luxury involved in the liquor space. Did I think I would import liquor, definitely not.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
Challenges majorly were spending time and getting the right information in our business space. There is no text book that tells you how you go about starting and working in this space, India is such a diverse country each state has different laws and processes, catering to this diversity took time. Researching myself helped me be certain the information I had was correct.

Do women in your profession have a hard time getting ahead in their career?
I wouldn’t say a hard time, we are evolving and are living in a time where women are standing up for themselves and getting equal opportunities. At the end it boils down to how good you are at what you do, how effectively you communicate to your audience, be it a board of directors or customers.

Who inspired you and why?
I come from a matriarchal background. I’m surrounded by strong women. My mom and aunt are my biggest inspiration. I lost my dad when I was 15 and ever since my mom has been my rock. She has worked everyday of her life. My mom’s brothers passed away a few years after my dad and to see my aunt, both women single parents who’ve dedicated their life to giving the children the best life is beyond inspiring, its magical. It’s amazing to see what hard work and dedication can bring in life; I certainly follow in their footsteps along with my beliefs to make my journey.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I feel we need more female leaders, increasing women oriented networking groups. That’s where the opportunity is, growth is.

How good are you at planning your day/week/month? How much do you believe in planning and how much do you leave to destiny?
I most certainly plan my days and weeks. Planning takes effort and dedication and when done to its truest form your destiny will conspire to give you what you’ve worked towards.

How do you balance work, other passions and life responsibilities?
I balance my life with right time management and that’s the key which is critical to pursue a balanced life. With each day I’m learning and getting better, working towards being the best version of myself.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Stay resilient, stay assertive and confident and remember you are the change!

Do you experience resistance when you are leading men?
No, I don’t face any resistance, I’m surrounded by men who want to learn, grow and collaborate. Things are changing.

Describe your leadership style. What are the benefits to having women in leadership roles?
I encourage my entire team to have an entrepreneurial mindset. The perception that a woman cannot balance her personal and professional life, the perception is the barrier. Women are patient, adaptable and are able to make tough decisions; this helps the team in authoritative and cooperative way. Women also bring in fresh perspective and outlooks, in addition to being better mentors. Women leaders help in not only the growth of their company, but work towards the growth of their country and all of us as a human race.

Have you ever been so discouraged you wanted to quit?
No, we all have our tough days. As a resilient leader we all have our tough days and we all overcome them.

How do you encourage women to not give up?
My mentoring them and being a good listener.

What are some of the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
Staying true to myself. Meditation, affirmations and spending time with loved ones help too.

How can we stop gender bias?
Gender discrimination is a collaborative collective effort that the world is working towards addressing it. We’ve got to work towards it together, seeing to it that the girl tribe is educated and has equal opportunities, ensuring equal access to education, opportunities, protecting reproductive rights and lots more.

What would you do to make women more empowered in their work places?
By encouraging women to strive for high level positions. We also need better representation in the workspace. We also need to be compassionate towards one another. Opportunity should be about who has the ability and success mindset.

What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Having a solution oriented approach is my mantra. Through my leadership journey I’ve realised that patience is key. There is no age to learning,

What are your future plans?
My future plans involve CIRO being one of the top alcohol companies pan India and then towards south east Asia and the Middle East. My future involves a team of leaders who strive towards building an empire with me. Their growth and progress along with my vision will help create the environment we need to succeed together.

– By Namita Gupta