Article: Meet the Class of 2014 of Are You In The List

Strategic HR

Meet the Class of 2014 of Are You In The List

The winners of the 3rd edition of the Are You In The List? Awards were announced in Gurgaon on January 22, 2015
Meet the Class of 2014 of Are You In The List

When a former Human Resources leader transcended the HR space to become the CEO of a Fortune 100 company last year, it was proof that HR leaders can be anything they want to be. If you are wondering who the leader in question is, it is Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. Closer home, there are like HR leaders Dr. Santrupt Misra, John Hofmeister, Pratik Kumar, Ajit Isaac and Navnit Singh who have made the transition to CEO roles. HR has come a long way from fighting for a role in the Board to taking over the C-suite themselves. As the Voice of HR, People Matters understood that the only way the HR community can make a difference to the C-suite is to play a critical leadership role itself.

Recognizing the need for the HR community to identify and encourage emerging leadership talent in HR, People Matters launched the Are You In The List? Initiative three years ago and received a stupendous response. This year, People Matters, in association with DDI, Cornerstone OnDemand, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Video Recruit and Stern India, launched the third edition of Are You In The List? Awards, which has become the benchmark and standard for emerging HR leaders. Till date, more than 5,000 candidates have applied for the Awards. Eight months of preparation, tests and hard work finally culminated in a glittering ceremony on January 22, 2015, which saw the attendance of the HR community.

The Competencies

More than 2,000 HR professionals across the country sent in their applications for the Are You In The List Award 2014. The applicants are in the age group of 26-35, have a minimum work experience of three years and are working in HR in their current role. There were five stages to the whole process. In Stage I, the candidates registered online with their personal information and took the Online Application Test. About 392 shortlisted candidates moved to Stage II.

In the workplace, cognitive ability — the ability to reason, draw accurate conclusions and make effective decisions — is the most predictive characteristic of one’s success. Hence, in Stage II, the applicants undertook DDI’s Adaptive Reasoning Test to assess their cognitive abilities. The ART is a brief online assessment test that uses figural reasoning content (a series of shapes and figures with underlying decision rules that the participant must solve). It tests one’s ability to quickly adapt to change, learning agility and the ability to execute. The second part of Stage II was the Leadership Insight Inventory test that measured a candidate’s leadership potential. Often used in conjunction with interviews, simulations and performance data, LII uncovers areas relating to making decisions, leading individuals and teams and personal orientation to leadership. The 112 qualified candidates proceeded to Stage III.

Though most companies want their HR managers to be strategic business partners rather than reactive process experts, research has shown that HR is not effective at strategic activities. This is where leadership development comes into focus. In Stage III, the shortlisted candidates underwent DDI’s online leadership assessment test called Manager Ready. The candidates engaged in situations where they interacted with team members, took action and solved managerial tasks assigned to them. The real-world situations provided an idea about the HR manager’s leadership readiness.

Fifty shortlisted candidates from Stage III were required to answer pre-determined questions on the Video Recruit platform to assess whether they displayed the required competencies. Then that information was vetted by Stern India. In the last and final round, the jury selected the finalists and had a one-on-one meeting with each finalist to determine the final tally of winners. During the one-on-one, the Jury evaluated the finalists on the basis of their domain/technical knowledge, quality of experience and future potential. Unlike the earlier years, the ART testing for cognitive abilities, the vetting of insights and the final face-to-face interviews with the finalists were the new developments in the Are You In The List? Award process this year.

What does the Jury think?

The HR function has transformed a lot in the last few years. In the past, it changed more slowly than it was required to. Today, the economic cycles are more frequent and more violent and that has put a tremendous responsibility on HR to change itself so that it can deliver in a better fashion and become a key player. Gajendra Chandel, CHRO, Tata Motors, said, “It is not just a service function anymore: it has become a key business player. In the past few years, I have seen colleagues in various companies who get into the nitty-gritty of business and figure out how business can be done better. They are going beyond the conventional HR. To that extent, I think this is an excellent initiative by People Matters. In the last three years itself, I have seen this initiative change — the way the applicants or candidates are looked at and the way the Jury has been looking at candidates. Every year there is a big debate and discussion on what the competencies should be. The key task for HR would be to prepare the organization for violent changes.”

On the other hand, fellow Jury member Rajesh Rai, Chief People Officer of Eicher Motors, said future HR leaders need to draw boundaries between the strategic and transactional sides of the function. “Every function has a strategic side and a transactional side. Therefore, the future HR leaders who make it to Are You in the List need to draw these boundaries. This is a journey and we are not looking for instant solutions. Today, we don’t have boundaries when it comes into HR,” he said. “Structurally and even philosophically, the whole core of the HR function should be defined very properly. Once you are a part of HR, you must have that thought leadership built into you. One of the other critical competencies that one should look for in future HR leaders is their ability to make the change over a period of time,” he added.

Today, it is essential to groom the next rung of HR leaders who can take strategic business decisions using data and analytics among fast-changing market realities and demographic googlies in a technology age. And that starts with identifying the right set of emerging leaders. So, Are You In The List?

TOOLKIT

People Matters partnered with DDI for its trademark tools that helped to assess the final winners through a transparent, fair and error-free process

Adaptive Reasoning Test: It is a brief online assessment test that uses figural reasoning content that measures candidates’ cognitive abilities. It tests one’s ability to quickly adapt to change, learning agility and the ability to execute.

Leadership Inventory Insight: Often used in interviews and performance data, LII uncovers areas relating to making decisions, leading individuals and teams and personal orientation to leadership.

Manager Ready: The tool tests the readiness of a candidate to take up managerial roles based on tasks assigned to them in a real-world scenario.

Video Recruit: The candidates are asked to answer pre-determined questions using Video Recruit technology. The jury assesses them on the behavior they exhibit while answering the questions.

Stern India: The insights that are provided by the candidates during the video round is assessed, scrutinized and vetted by Stern India.

Presenting...the winners of the Are You in the List Awards 2014

 

Aarthi Sivaramakrishnan

Aarthi Sivaramakrishnan, 30, Pune
Head-HR, Beroe Inc

I’m a yoga practicing, marine life loving, karma believing, perpetually holiday planning HR professional. I’m a mother. I’m passionate about travel, painting, L&D and enabling women at work.
I had an engineering degree from Anna University and a PGD-PMIR from XLRI. I currently head HR for Beroe Inc. I’ve worked with ITC, the Times Group and as an independent consultant in the past.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
At this stage in life, while I grapple with the role of being a mother to a 1.5 year old daughter and a working woman, winning this award is a vindication of the fact that it is possible for women to play both roles successfully with the right enablers in place.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
My family values, my educational background and the great institutions that I have had the fortune of being associated with have instilled people skills in me. Through my work experience, I have been groomed and mentored by great HR leaders and entrepreneurs.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Know the pulse and nuances of the business you enter into. Be well networked. Be practical and don’t get hung up with theories and other rhetoric. Be genuine. Find the fine line between thinking with the heart and with the head.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I think like the owner of a business rather than just an HR person. Business pressure makes me tick and I can be compelling without being aggressive. I also think I’m intuitive and practical.

Dr Adwaita Govind Menon

Dr Adwaita Govind Menon, 31, Gurgaon
Manager, KPMG

I am operations leader for the People and Change service line in India and head the International Business for the practice. Prior to KPMG, I spearheaded the majority of International Data Corporation’s (IDC) India research. I did my PhD from XIMB.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is an opportunity to stand up, be recognized, connect with like-minded people and decision-makers and learn from experienced HR leaders.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
Values embedded from childhood by parents and shaped by organizations where I have worked helped me develop my people skill. Guidance from mentors and watching them closely as they managed people was also instrumental in this regard.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Values shape character and character defines destiny of individuals and organizations alike. As an HR professional, one wants to strengthen one’s value system and the ecosystem in turn would take care of the rest.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My research orientation founded in my doctoral education experience. My ability to bridge HR & strategy due to my education. My idea orientation and ability to innovate, which has been recognized time and again at workplace.

Akanksha Agarwal

Akanksha Agarwal, 28, Mumbai
Manager-HR, Asian Paints

I did my PGDPM-IR from XLRI Jamshedpur. I love dancing, watching movies, reading and travelling. I believe in excellence and making an impact in whatever role I take up.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
First, I’m happy that there is a platform to encourage HR professionals. The award will be a valuable recognition of my abilities and work in a field that I have chosen. It will reinforce my confidence in me and my belief that I am doing the right things in life.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
My experiences in my education, personal and professional life have been my best teachers. Also observations of other people in different situationshave helped me learn. In my current role, I have also been disciplined and conducted some people-related learning programs and trainings, which also have definitely added value to me.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
HR professionals have to wear different hats and need to find a balance between different roles they take up. It is a dynamic and sensitive area, so be true to yourself and to all the roles you take up in the field. Keep your ears to the ground.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I can achieve short- to medium-term results while keeping in mind the bigger picture. This helps me find meaning in what I pursue in my professional and personal fronts.

Anil Agnihotri

Anil Agnihotri, 31, Pune
Business HR Manager, SKF India Ltd

I have a combined total of more than eight-and-half years of experience in the industry, in Business HR, Talent Management, Learning and Development as well as Factory HR.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
This award will certainly add to my credibility as an HR professional, because it will be proof that I have succeeded on an external yardstick apart from internal recognition. I look forward to the feedback on the assessments that were conducted during the selection process as a learning input that will be useful in future.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
The two main factors that helped me the most in developing people skills essential in HR were exposure and experience, which go hand in hand. As a part of exposure, bouncing thoughts and concepts off my seniors and peers, I have found, adds many perspectives. Second, I have always asked for newer experiences in addition to my role. This has been invaluable in honing my people skills.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Network — learning through conversations with people is a great learning resource under any situation. Treat your role as a dynamic concept: keep trying to find ways of working beyond your goals and grab any available opportunity to contribute and learn as you go along.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I have made significant contributions in business impact intervention. I have a strong orientation towards learning and results.

Anant Kasibhatla

Anant Kasibhatla, 30, Mumbai
AVP, Marsh India Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd

A postgraduate from XLRI, I currently work in the Talent, Learning and Diversity Team for Asia in Marsh and lead talent initiatives for Marsh India.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It confirms that I have made a positive impact to my career as an HR professional.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
The learning curve at XLRI was quite steep. It was not about management education, but also connecting with a diverse group of people. Later, my stint in consulting helped polish my people skills.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
A passionate commitment to learning new things is a must. HR needs to engage with Business at all levels. Your knowledge and ability to structure the cases and policies in sync with business needs is necessary.

Akshay Chadha

Akshay Chadha, 32, Gurgaon
HRBP, Distribution-North India, Standard Chartered Bank

I did my education across various cities. This varied experience has helped define me as a person. I have close to seven years of experience in consulting and business HR across organizations such as EY, MTS India and Standard Chartered.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
This award process is exhaustive and it puts a stamp of credibility to my career achievements. It will help me create a stronger personal brand and attain my professional goals faster.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
I have learned the skills of managing people by observing my bosses and from the experiences of others. Other important factors include remaining true to myself, transparent conversations and building long-lasting relationships.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
I regularly go back to MDI to interact with and guide budding HR professionals. My advice to them is twofold: create a personal brand which is more than your designation/organization, and understand the business and act as an architect, consultant and coach. Second, act as custodians of an organization’s values and culture. You can be successful even if you are not a people person.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I believe it is my experiences and strengths which define me. I have experience across consultancy and business HR. My key strengths include my being an achiever and learner, being strategic and positive; my key achievements such as Asia’s Best Young HR Professionals award, being recognized as HiPo within a year; CEB case study on MTS and so on. I think all of these, when looked at collectively, define and set me apart from others.

Anjali Bhatia

Anjali Bhatia, 35, New Delhi
Senior General Manager, Experion Developers Pvt. Ltd

I am an HR professional with more than 11 years of experience. I completed my PGDM from Symbiosis and graduation from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. I was born and raised in Mumbai. Values such as ethics and discipline were an essential part of my upbringing. I currently live in New Delhi with my husband and three-and-half year old son. To unwind, I enjoy reading, listening to music and driving on long trips.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is a great personal achievement and acknowledgement for the work done so far. It also helps to reinforce my personal drive to continue to learn and develop as a professional.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
I believe I have been given great opportunities in my current and past roles, where I have had to work with different types of people, have been exposed to many different leadership styles and have had to adapt to achieve results. I have learned to alter my communication style to connect with people. Feedback from supervisors and teams helped in this. Adapting my own style of coaching people has helped me develop my skills. So has my ability to listen.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Be open to change, be your own benchmark. Pace yourself for a marathon and not a sprint. Have fun while working, stay hungry and explore your potential.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I have a flexible attitude; I never say no to learning; I have very high standards for work and constantly work to drive excellent results. I also have the ability to see the lighter side of things as it helps in times of stress.

Deepa Bhulescarr

Deepa Bhulescarr, 35, Mumbai
Manager-Talent Management, Capgemini India

I am an HR Professional and completed my PGD-HRM from Welingkar Institute. I was born and raised in Nakuru, Kenya and have been in Mumbai for the last 12 years – with my husband and 9 years old daughter. I started my career in HR consulting with SHL and moved to a corporate role in 2010.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It reinforces my abilities to continuously excel in what I do. It adds to my confidence as a professional.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
The opportunities in have received from my current and previous roles have enabled me build my people skills. I have been exposed to the development function from the beginning of my career in HR – I work very closely with leaders and support their development, and collaborate with a number of business partners to enable development. All this, with the certifications I have taken, have helped.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Start any work by understanding the grassroots level and doing research around that before taking the next steps. Always keep the employee in mind before doing anything.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My in-depth knowledge of various assessment methodologies; exposure to developmental methods; flair for working with people and believing that everyone can be a star, they just need some guidance and support. My exposure to both the consulting and corporate world has given me that edge.

Divya Kohli

Divya Kohli, 29, Mumbai
Deputy Manager–HR, Global Rewards, Tata Global Beverages

I have over five years of experience across HR Business Partnering and specialist roles of Total Rewards and Talent Acquisition, Employee Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion. I love to explore and never let the learning drive stop. I get a high by doing meaningful work that adds value to people or organizations.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It affirms my faith in my skills and testimony to my learnings over the years. It is a privilege to be part of the coveted league and share the platform with other talented HR professionals.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
Mainly, my ability to connect with various stakeholders and build a relationship of trust. I prefer to play the role of a partner in every assignment. This strengthens the connect with stakeholders. My ability to empathize with people also helps me in the longer run.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Play the role of a partner and strategic positioner in order to add value to your employees and the organization. There will be a lot to learn with the dynamics of human nature coupled with fluid business demands.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
A key differentiator for me has been my ability to be a credible activist. If I say I will do something, I don’t sit on it. I build relationships based on trust and have a clear point of view on building business performance.

Hargovind Adhikari

Hargovind Adhikari, 35, New Delhi
AVP, Citibank

I am HR Business Partner at Citibank. Earlier I worked with Hewitt Associates (Now Aon Hewitt) and Gail India Limited. I completed my engineering from Army Institute of Technology, Pune and post-graduation from TISS, Mumbai. In my spare time, I like to undertake long road trips, write articles on HR across different platforms and enjoy the company of my family.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
Winning the award is extremely important to fulfill one’s own passion for access to the larger HR leadership network, tapping collective expertise and knowledge to amalgamate new ideas and contribute to growth of HR in business-critical functions. The process has been grueling so far and I have evolved in the course of this. It is also chance to advance the cause of the HR community and my professional growth.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
The profession of HR has helped me with the technical skills to understand human behavior in a structured manner. The courage to confront people issues, ability to diagnose the situation well from leading instead of lagging indicators. Most importantly, my faith in human goodness helped. I have received a lot of help on my way up and empathizing makes it easier to develop people skills. The interest in people development has to be genuine.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
The world around us is changing fast. It is not competition alone but collaboration that will drive innovation. Connect and establish strong networks and leverage them to further the cause of the discipline and community. Ethics and execution are core skills that shall stand HR professionals in good stead.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
What makes one unique is one’s own life experiences. My journey has seen a lot of personal setbacks and bouncing back. My core belief in human goodness and the will to succeed set me apart. My self-belief and desire to continue learning and collaborating with people set me apart. I am what I am but the world around me, my support system and deep sense of responsibility makes me unique.

Kanisha Raina

Kanisha Raina, 32, Pune
Global Talent Partner-Research, IBM India Pvt. Ltd

A lifetime learner, collaborator and social media enthusiast, I truly believe that the more you share, the more you learn. A global citizen, a feminist and multitasker, I thrive on challenges.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is the leading platform of knowledge exchange in the Indian HR community. The opportunity to collaborate with equally passionate HR professionals is my key motivator.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
Having an open environment growing up, where a Sunday breakfast meant discussing a political issue, made me appreciate and respect diverse viewpoints. I always use the positives in people.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Try to learn from every conversation, project and opportunity. Invest in your development. Read, discuss what you read and start voicing your opinion. Make use of social media — join webcasts. Read blogs to connect with HR professionals.

Ghanashyam Hegdekatte

Ghanashyam Hegdekatte, 28, Mumbai
Manager, Mahindra Automotive and Farm Sectors

After doing my MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, I worked for M&M through the leadership development scheme —Group Management Cadre. After a short stint as Business HR, I got an opportunity to work in the Organization Development team of M&M AFS. I have also have been a part of Mahindra Farm Equipment Business. I’m a gadget freak (partly attributed to my two-year stint with Nokia before my MBA), love music and biking.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
A world of opportunities to learn from some of the best HR minds and also to contribute to the HR community. It is an opportunity to utilize these learnings to implement pathbreaking solutions in my area of work.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
Being part of Mahindra-AFS, I have got multiple opportunities to develop my people skills. I worked with people from multiple businesses and different industries across age groups and projects. Also, having a team means you unconsciously develop the ability to manage their emotions, aspirations and so on.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Be curious to learn things outside your area of expertise. There is nothing like “not my area of work”. Having this mindset restricts your growth. Also, believe in what you do. You’ll then realize that unconsciously you are giving more than 100%.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
People call me Question Box. The mindset I have in terms of asking “Why” is my USP. It has helped me to go to the depth of the things and understand subjects in detail. I constantly remind myself that there is a need for me to understand business better than my business guy.

Pijus Kanti Das

Pijus Kanti Das, 32, Hyderabad
Manager–Talent Management & HR Initiatives, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd

Working as an executive assistant to VP and Head-Corporate HR and also as a manager in talent management and HR initiative. Slowly moving to business role. A cyclist and marathon enthusiast also.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is an opportunity to know myself better. I will get a platform which will help me to fulfill my journey in ‘Make in India’.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
There have been several factors in this regard, including taking up assignments across the country; knowing diverse backgrounds, history, culture of various states and understanding different needs for different people.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Excel in domain knowledge; value people; don’t restrict yourself within HR only. Learn business.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
What sets me apart is I have worked across India. I have worked in five industries and have experience in strategic as well as operational HR.

Mayokun Aduwo

Mayokun Aduwo, 31, Bengaluru
Lead HR Operations India and South Asia, IBM India Pvt. Ltd

My educational background is in computer information systems. I started my career as personnel in a commercial bank and then did my MSc in Information Systems and Management. I currently work on transformation programs and so on.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It will be a landmark in my career as an HR professional. The processes leading up to the awards have been rigorous and competitive. Being rewarded is, hence gratifying and will also justify my career move to HR.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
I have honed my communication skills, especially in speaking and listening. This enables me to communicate in a better manner. Also, my listening skills help me understand the people’s point of view. Empathy enables me to put myself in other people’s shoes.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Understanding HR knowledge and theory is not enough, understanding the business is important. Also, one needs to work on acquiring analytical skills, problem-solving and consultancy skills among others.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My USP stems from my exposure and my attitude. I have been educated in other fields like technology and accounting and I have also worked in different industries in different continents. This enables me to draw on knowledge of skills based on my background and experience.

Kenneth Sequeira

Kenneth Sequeira, 30, Mumbai
Director-HR Strategy, IMRB International

I am an engineer by qualification, HR professional by occupation and a facilitator and people developer by passion! At IMRB, I develop and design talent initiatives towards the talent strategy of the company.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is an opportunity to learn, interact and network with the best minds in the field of HR. It is a confirmation of my abilities in the space of Thought Leadership. It is also a challenge to scale new heights.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
The analytical thinking abilities I learnt in engineering applied to people issues. The desire to help individuals, teams and organizations realize their true potential is another factor. The skills of negotiation, facilitation and coaching I discovered at Infosys.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Be a part of some business, any business. Nothing prepares you to be a better business partner than being in a business and experiencing its highs and lows. Read, write and apply concepts to develop a high-quality thinking ability.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My engineering background plus three years of engineering work experience with Infosys, for one. My clear thinking ability helps me sift insights from the noise of symptoms.

Sakshi Khosla

Sakshi Khosla, 35, Gurgaon
HR Leader, GE India Industrial Pvt. Ltd.

I am a seasoned HR professional with more than 10 years of experience across diverse industries. I completed my graduation from Lady Shri Ram College and am a double postgraduate and have done MA in Psychology (OB) and MBA in Human Resources.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It is the highest point of my professional life to date. It is a big recognition and visibility for a young professional like me and would absolutely be a moment to feel proud about. At the same time, it would also bring me a lot of responsibility to keep the HR flag up and stand for the values and beliefs that got me here.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
Diversity of experience has been a major factor. I have worked across diverse industries, multicultural environments and different areas of HR. This has helped me gain the maturity to handle diverse stakeholders and complex situations. My course in psychology has given me the extra edge in understanding human behavior better.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Be business experts. Understand your business and the business leader or the CFO. Only then can you be a trusted advisor to a leader or employee. Have a high learning agility. Today’s world is dynamic. One needs to continuously hone one’s skills to keep up. Be grounded. Don’t let intellectual arrogance creep in on you. Influence through personal credibility rather than authority.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
I have diversity in experience over a relatively short career. This has built maturity and domain depth across multiple areas of HR. Clear thinking and ability to sail through ambiguity is my forte. Curiosity and hunger to develop my skills are also differentiators.
My thinking is progressive and futuristic, combined with imagination and courage. I have a great passion for what I do — I love the field of HR and am 200% committed.

Saumya Mittal

Saumya Mittal, 33, Gurgaon
General Manager–Talent Acquisition, PepsiCo

I graduated in Human Resources from MDI in 2007. I am mother to a four-and-half year old daughter.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
It means a lot to me in terms of establishing my professional brand in the highest form of HR. The process was also interesting and rich in learning.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
My experience in handling large teams across factory and sales capability roles was a major factor. Coaching and mentoring by senior HR leaders also helped, as did PepsiCo leadership programs.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
HR is a science as much as an art. Leverage HR analytics to create valuable insights for business. Sustain business partnerships through solid business understanding.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My thinking and vision is out of the box. I have the ability to influence people to get work done, can multi-task and have a drive for results.

Romit Mufti

Romit Mufti, 34, Mumbai
Senior Manager–Human Resources, IL&FS Financial Services Ltd

I am an HR professional with more than 11 years of experience and hold a postgraduate degree in Human Resources. I have varied exposure in HR work teams and am very passionate about being in HR. I am an avid sports enthusiast and love adventure sports.

What does winning the Are You In The List Award mean to you?
The journey has been extremely enriching and winning is the icing on the cake. It would be my privilege to rub shoulders with the best in the industry across the country. It is also a great fillip to my self-confidence.

What are the main factors that helped develop your people skills?
I believe people skills are something very innate and the right kind of experience, exposure and education along with some stellar leadership from seniors and mentors have helped develop my people skills.

What is your advice for aspiring HR professionals?
Be approachable, know the business and also let the business know the nuances of HR. Learn to work in the grey areas and take rational decisions. Spend longer stints in the organizations, which will help one get varied experiences in HR and also try and do a stint with business teams.

What is your USP/differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd?
My understanding of a situation and ability to manage it logically on its merits and demerits; end-to-end execution of projects and commitment to the turnaround time are my key USPs. My relationship management and networking skills also set me apart.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #AreyouintheList?

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