“Growing up, I noticed a lack of women leaders in the real estate industry. It still is the same. The realisation that we don’t get to see many female leaders in this segment inspired me to learn and work more towards becoming one in the industry”, shares Aparna Reddy, Executive Director, Aparna Enterprises, in an exclusive interview with 99acres on the occasion of Women’s Day.

COVID-19 brought a setback for various industries and markets across the globe. For the management at Aparna Enterprises, internal and external customers have always been the utmost priority. During the pandemic also, providing their customers with world-class products and creating a growing atmosphere for their employees continued to be the focus. The last two years taught us the importance of a healthy workforce in any business environment. In such situations, regularly sensitising the workforce to prioritise personal hygiene proved critical for production and business continuity.

What inspired you to make a career in the building materials segment?
My biggest source of inspiration has always been my family. From a young age, I witnessed my father’s efforts to build Aparna Enterprises. He is a relentless learner and possesses sharp business skills. The efforts he took and the finesse with which he handled the business expansions motivated me to join the family business.

How has your professional journey been so far, and what delights you the most about your career?
It has been and is continuing to be an insightful journey. The work is exciting as the industry comes with its own set of challenges and benefits, which makes it very important for both – an individual and a corporation to stand firm on its core values. For second-generation leadership, adaptability and persistence play a vital role in shaping the future. Adaptability to understand the existing ecosystem first and persistence to stand afoot on the ground while required policy changes show its effect. Prioritising business & customers over everything else helps in keeping the focus intact.

What are the challenges you faced in the industry?
Every industry has some common and some unique set of challenges. I believe that these challenges help shape the company’s vision & future. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 pushed corporations across the globe and challenged their existence. It was nothing like we had ever seen before. We were challenged as both organisations and individuals. Organisations with firm core values and sensitivity towards their employees and customers overcame these challenges and sailed through such a difficult situation. Though the cascading effects of the global unrest are still troubling businesses, I am sure the economy will be back to its previous stage very soon.

What strategies did you adopt to tide over the crisis in the last two years?
We have always kept our customers as our top priority. We believe that if you present your customers with world-class products for their pressing needs and keep your employees focused, rest automatically falls in place. To achieve this proposition, we constantly upgrade our manufacturing capabilities to offer top quality products to the market. We also put constant effort into modifying the human resource (HR) policies. As we are a manufacturing organisation, taking care of our workforce is vital. This becomes more important as we are expanding our product manufacturing capabilities.

How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Personally, I believe that everyone has their unique way of maintaining a work-life balance, which suits their environment the best. Universally, it requires a lot of thoughtful efforts from any individual, such as taking breaks to be with family. Still, sometimes, it becomes all the more difficult for a woman for many reasons. De-stressing by indulging in a favourite pass time and staying away from work occasionally when possible can help everyone rejuvenate and come back with fresher perspectives and clearer minds. We all have our ways of managing tasks at home and work. The two aspects I consider most important are the constant prioritising of available short term and long term tasks and multi-tasking. I also enjoy spending quality time with family and my three kids.

Any tips for women venturing into the building materials segment?
The building materials industry is often dubbed to be unconventional for a woman. However, I believe that women should actively venture into the field and hold leadership positions. Women should always hold their heads high and prepare themselves to face the challenges life throws at them. Some women underestimate themselves, which keeps them from exploring their potential. We have to learn to break free of the stereotypes and perceptions and strive. While learning and expertise can be accumulated, we must first cultivate a fearless mind. Fearlessness coupled with a clear focus can pave the path for a bright future in any field of life.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?
It has been an exciting and insightful journey so far. Observing the organisation grow and contribute to the country’s economy has been the best outcome for me. There is always a sense of pride when we look at how far the company has come. Serving numerous customers within the country and across the globe with a quality product made in India always makes me feel proud. Being able to help and take care of our people and giving back to society makes you feel satisfied. There will be challenges, but the confidence that this organisation and the people around me have given will drive me to face them head-on.