Rapid Fire with Schauna Chauhan, CEO Parle Agro

By Team YS|23rd May 2014
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If you are an Indian, we bet you have grown up drinking Frooti. Even to this day, watching a Frooti ad on TV takes us back to our wonder years. Schauna Chauhan is the force behind Parle Agro’s (the parent brand of Frooti) innovation machine in India. She is also the force behind Parle’s aggressive international market capture strategy. What makes this lady fight head on with giants like Pepsico? Let us find out in this rapid fire with HerStory. Fondest childhood memory – Going to Matheran for horse riding with my dad. There’s a place in Matheran called One Tree Hill. We’d go riding from our hotel to One Tree Hill every morning and evening during our holiday there.

On being born in a business family – Business was already chosen for me and I well accepted it as I grew up learning the business. I was never pressurized by the expectations. Getting up when you fall, and being a good human being were something that I learned from my father very early.

Parle vision – To grow our brands and to continue innovating new products. We’d like to focus on increasing our market share in the countries that we are exporting to (USA, Canada, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, and more) and increase our distributorship there. We have now started exporting Mango Pulp as well.

On dealing with competition from global brands – We don’t worry about competition. It’s important to be looking at what we can do better. You’ve got to have the guts to take on challenges and try new things by being first in whatever new you try. You must always know what everyone else is doing in your industry but you’ve got to spend time focusing on your goals. Don’t drive your business by looking at the competition; that is always a recipe for disaster.

On decision making- By doing a few important and very simple things: Listening, being aware, knowing the details of the situation, understanding the complete issue and then taking the decision together as a team.

Biggest personal strengths – Listening, getting the best out of people, focusing on people’s strengths and helping them on their weaknesses through different training programs. Intuition, networking, communicating passion and reasons for what we’re doing and why we’re doing. Patience, trust, honesty and most importantly following an ethical code of conduct.

Fostering Team culture – I believe it’s all about the team. So ensuring that you have the right team with the right kind of guidance is the most important. Creating a healthy culture that would retain people and have people respect the key values of the organization is very important. It’s not about the title or position but about working hard together to build a successful company.

A learning that has shaped my worldview – Failures are divided into two classes — those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.

Role of mentors – There are multiple people who inspire me. All these stories that you hear either about athletes, business people, scientists, inventors, and artists who have tried hard till they got it right; this is inspiration for me. Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Edison, my grandmother, my sisters, and some of my friends are people who inspire me.

Productivity booster – You’ve got to love, enjoy and be happy with what you do.

Advice to women – Never underestimate your power. I read somewhere that ‘women are the emerging market of the emerging market.’

 

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