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BW Businessworld

Nisaba Godrej: Wearing Several Hats

For Nisaba Godrej, the arduous task of managing the myriad verticals of godrej industries is a part of everyday life. One that she pulls off with ease

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By virtue of being born in an illustrious business family, business sense ran in her blood. But what drove her to achieve unprecedented heights was her incredible perseverance to survive any crisis along with her knack for cracking solid business deals. For Nisaba Godrej, the arduous task of managing the myriad verticals of Godrej Industries is a part of everyday life. One that she pulls off with ease and élan.

Nisaba looks after Godrej consumer products category. She also oversees the company’s corporate strategy and human capital functions, and its associate companies. In addition, she drives the Godrej Group’s Good & Green (CSR) initiatives and is the point person for all operations of the Godrej Family Council. Plus, she is on the board of GCPL, Godrej Agrovet and Teach for India.

She has been instrumental in adding novel dimensions to the company’s other verticals as well. Her previous assignments within the Godrej Group include the turnaround of Godrej Agrovet and overseeing various projects in innovation, strategy and HR for Godrej Industries and its associate companies.

Behind her brilliance are degrees from the best schools in the world. A Bachelor of Science (BSc) from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and MBA from Harvard Business School. Godrej completed her schooling from The Cathedral & John Connon School in Mumbai.

With such an academic pedigree, Godrej understands the importance of education. She is passionate about education, especially for women. Her commitment is to change the educational outcomes for a million Indian girls.

In an article in BW Businessworld last year, Godrej spoke about diversity. “Diversity & Inclusion programme runs across our group companies. One of the principal areas of focus is attracting, retaining and developing top female talent, so we can have a robust pipeline of potential leadership for the next three to five years. We are reviewing our policies and infrastructure to ensure that we are providing the support that our talent requires to thrive at work. We are confident that in a few years, we are going to see a different profile of Godrejites,” said Nisaba.

When asked that why corporates across India still have few women on their boards? “As I see it, the problem with not enough women in senior leadership roles is that we don’t have a sizeable talent pool to fill these positions” she said. She further reiterated that the pipeline for women in management has short supply. Fewer women graduate from Indian business schools compared to men. The Indian female urban labour force participation has remained more or less flat at about 22 per cent since the early 90s. If more young talent is not funnelled into the labour force, there will always be an acute shortage of women at the top. Besides, keeping women in the workforce until they reach senior positions is also a challenge.

“Our internal data at Godrej, which is very much in line with external research, shows a drop in women participation as they reach mid to senior levels of management. As companies, we need to find ways to encourage them to approach their careers as a marathon and not a sprint — show them how continuing to have a career can be beneficial in the long run,” she said.