Women’s Day: Meet some of the women leaders at Myntra who are shaping the future of fashion ecommerce in India
Across the world, the evidence around the effectiveness of women leaders and the benefits of an organisational culture that focuses on diversity and inclusion is only growing. Data show that women in leadership roles lead with compassion, empathy, and clarity of thought and purpose to drive the desired impact, both on the bottom line and in people management.
At fashion retailer, which is on a mission to democratise fashion across the country, women are driving some of the critical charters, creating value and impact across the entire organisation.
“Women of Myntra fuel our growth engine with their passion, talent, creativity, grit, and commitment. They are instrumental in driving Myntra's success as we go strong on our path to democratising fashion for the country," says Amar Nagaram, CEO, Myntra.
"Women are at the center of our focused efforts towards fostering a culture of inclusion and meritocracy where their contributions play an important role in what we do and achieve every single day,” adds Amar.
Myntra has seen exceptional success on various fronts where women have played a central role. From hiring 12,000 TPCs in total in a pandemic year to launching initiatives like Myntra Studio, India’s first digital mall - Myntra-Mall, integration of omnichannel technology with brands, expanding its international footprint in the Middle East, and more.
HerStory lists five women leaders from Myntra who are challenging themselves at work every day, reimagining India’s fashion landscape and innovating at an unimaginable pace.
Megha Ohri - Senior Director, Product Management
Megha Ohri, an engineering graduate from Bhartiva Vidyapeeth, joined Myntra in 2015 as a senior product manager, and has donned several hats since then.
“When I joined Myntra six years ago, we were a relatively smaller team. They asked me to build supply chain products, which was completely new for me. I hadn’t done that kind of work in the past, but I think what Myntra gave me was trust and an opportunity to learn, iterate, launch, fail fast, and take risks - it was a very exciting environment to scale systems and products for the supply chain,” recalls Megha.
Over the years, Megha has moved up the ladder innovating and creating one of its kind tech products. However, she believes the turning point in her life was when she became a part of a specialised team built to work on more futuristic technologies at that time like augmented reality in clothing, wearable tech ,and RFID in warehouses.
Here again, she believes she had a very steep learning curve, where she was able to push herself to go beyond her comfort zone and constantly challenge herself while also raising and nurturing her kid.
Today, Megha leads the customer-facing product that customers interact with which includes shopping experience, engagement, and loyalty product at Myntra “While we are building very strong shopping experiences, we understand that people come to Myntra not just to shop but also to seek fashion inspiration.”
As a woman in tech and in a leadership role, Megha emphasises the role of a fair workplace in ensuring a seamless professional journey. Myntra’s Product function is led by Lalitha Ramani as the Chief Product Officer and has some extremely talented women driving the entire function across levels.
“The industry will stay fairly fast-paced. Being able to do justice to both the roles of being a mother as well as to your job, where I want to succeed at what I’m doing professionally, is certainly a challenge. Myntra gives you the opportunity to be able to balance it and stretch on one side when needed.”
Neeharika Jana - Senior Director, Brand Management
An IIT Madras and IIM Bangalore alumnus, Neeharika joined Myntra in 2015 and is the P&L lead for multiple Myntra Fashion Brands. She also leads the international channel for Myntra Fashion Brands.
“It was my first time in the business role when I joined Myntra. It’s been six years since then and working here still excites me, as I get to look forward to something new everyday,” says Neeharika.
She attributes this change to the many opportunities she has been presented with at Myntra.
“I think one of the main reasons is that every year Myntra has given me something new to look forward to. Plus, I have seen the brand grow tremendously over the years while it has helped me learn and grow alongside it. So that in itself is a good journey.”
Neeharika also emphasises that the organisation’s environment really brings out the best in an individual. “Initially, I was quite a shy person. But I realised that the environment here encourages people to express their views without inhibitions or the fear of being judged. And that level of acceptance in the company culture helps you grow in confidence when you talk in meetings and public forums",” she adds.
Neeharika has been instrumental in driving multiple brands at Myntra and also played an instrumental role in the successful foray of Myntra Fashion brands in the Middle East and Nepal in 2020.
Neetu Jotwani - Vice President - Sourcing and Product Development, MFB
Neetu, a NIFT graduate, joined Myntra in 2017. Having more than two decades of experience in the Supply Chain space, she has worked with some top fashion brands over the span of her career.
“When I joined Myntra, it was quite interesting to see how a brand could embrace technology to steer an ecosystem towards progress. That said, at that point, the number of partners was relatively smaller. But today, we have gone international in our procurement, and now all best-in-class vendors want to partner with us,” says Neetu.
“What gets valued here is what you really bring to the table. As a leader, you don’t see yourself just as a woman but as an individual contributing and working together,” she adds.
Neetu’s deep experience in the field came to test during the pandemic when the Supply Chains had stopped with challenges like factories being shut, labour crunch, etc. That’s when Neetu led her team to tap into the goodwill built over the years for Myntra and engaged with the partners to get into the depth of their on-ground challenges, with resilience to find solutions.
“We sat with them to understand how we could be of help, supported them completely, and assured them of the inflow of orders while also ensuring that their payments were done on time. As a result, they (partners) went out of the way to ensure that our supply and production continued to flow in per schedule.”
That said, Neetu has played an instrumental role in helping Myntra partners (material) scale at large in the past few years. She says, to see how they have grown and where they have reached over the years makes her feel very proud.
“The transparency that we have brought into the entire system, how the partners can see order-related details on the partner portal, and the fact that we do so much thinking to be the best procurement organisation really shows in how these partners revere this relationship,” she adds.
Sulakshana Sarathy - Director - Chief of Staff
A designer from NIFT and a management graduate from IIM Bangalore, Sulakshana Sarathy joined Myntra with over 10 years of experience in operations, strategy, and new ventures across many sectors including ecommerce, offline retail, and consulting. In 2018, she also started her own startup.
“I realised that starting up on your own is really hard. So, after a year and a half, I decided to come back to the corporate world and joined Myntra as the head of customer experience,” she recalls.
For about two years, Sulakshana worked across the organisation with a focus on improving the actual consumer experience on the platform, designing solutions to solve customer problems, finding what is the right thing for the consumer and more.
“I’ve seen a lot of action from the leadership where even if it is something which is impacting us in the short term, we would take the call to do the right thing for the customer. So I used to drive a lot of new contributions and it is what I find exciting about my journey with Myntra,” she adds.
In February 2020, Sulakshana resigned from Myntra as she planned to move to Europe. “However, the lockdown kicked in and all plans went underwater. Since I already loved the work culture and the people at Myntra, I decided to come back and join as Chief of Staff,” she says.
She believes that in the last six months she has got the maximum exposure, in the shortest period of time. She has worked with the leadership across the organisation in setting priorities on policies, building a dynamic organisation, and more.
“Myntra is constantly working on a number of women employee-oriented policies to enable women to reach their potential. A lot of this is imbibed in the culture itself of the entire organisation and not only from the policy per se,” she adds.
Pragya Priyali - Associate Director - Content and Social Marketing
A NIFT graduate and an Indian School of Business (ISB) alumnus, Pragya leads the content and social marketing charter for Myntra. She joined Myntra in 2014 and came back in 2019 for a second stint.
Pragya has played a key role in setting up the content and social commerce and the influencer ecosystem for the brand.
“Content is a new way of marketing and Myntra is one of the most content forward marketing organisations in this part of the world, where we are trying to strike more meaningful conversations with the consumers to create a lasting impact.” she says.
She has also launched some key initiatives like Myntra Fashion Superstar – India’s first hunt for fashion influencers, a structured approach to impact the influencer ecosystem in the country to help them find fame at a much larger scale than that was possible earlier, and Myntra Studio, Myntra's own content destination which was launched during the toughest months of the pandemic.
“Influencers are core to fashion marketing and the industry is largely unstructured. With these large-scale marquee projects, Myntra gets the opportunity to recognise and reward the upcoming talent in the country, who in turn drive brand love while propelling commerce and engagement on the platform.
For instance, on Myntra Studio, India’s first 100 percent fully shoppable content platform, there are over 1000 influencers who on an everyday basis churn out over 100 pieces of educational, inspirational, and entertainment content for users to take inspiration from and to be able to fully experience the joy of fashion.
Talking about the culture at Myntra, Pragya says,“ working with a hardworking and driven team gives you an opportunity to learn at a great pace. And the leaders have shown phenomenal trust in me and given me the resources to accomplish open goals and drive several industry-first initiatives. This has really enabled me, especially as a woman leader, to make an impact,” she adds.
“Mostly, innovation is at the heart of Myntra. Also, because lifestyle and fashion is so core and primarily a women-focused category, Myntra has a culture of really hearing out its women across internal meetings, marketing communications, social media or even product, and most of them have a strong woman voice, which has sort of amounted to the kind of innovation for everyone.”