“My time in the regional team made me learn how to motivate and unite diverse teams. Gaining a better understanding of local nuances and the commonalities across markets helped me develop communication with global and local relevance. Global exposure helps you realise how resilient and innovative you can be, making you think and do things differently to get results.”
In 2010 Vidya returned to Sri Lanka as Marketing Director. She took on another challenge and role with the global team in 2013 as Category Director - adding to her experience across 14 markets. Vidya returned to Sri Lanka to head the marketing role for Sri Lanka in addition to developing brands and consumer opportunities for Fonterra's operations across the Indian subcontinent.
Vidya’s international career path and leadership roles have made her an obvious role model and mentor to other women in the co-op, and her emphasis on performance and people has made a mark on the Sri Lankan business.
“A core part of leadership is about building diversity to harness different perspectives, providing a strong sense of ownership and passion through clarity of purpose and fostering a contagious 'can do' attitude,” she says.
In building her marketing team, she actively sought non-core marketing people to source new thinking, searching for personality and attitude over age, experience, gender and qualifications on paper.
“Each person has their own strength but everybody needs to come together to do extraordinary things."
“I don’t believe in hierarchy and title. We have brilliant interns who are just as likely to have a truthful insight and fresh perspective on global trends or what people think. I’m proud to see the team I’ve built, with their diverse strengths and personalities, growing as leaders in their own right whilst delivering results.”
Vidya’s drive for excellence in delivery stems from a strong work ethic instilled by her parents. “My ambition is measured in how much of a difference I can make and being truly passionate in whatever I do. It’s about excelling and delivering results, breaking my own records and leaving a legacy that positively impacts people and business.
One of the ways Vidya empowered her team in Sri Lanka to unleash their own potential was to encourage them to exercise their own personal passions – whether at home, with friends or at work.
“We need to be passionate about what we do in this life. Living our passions gives us the learnings to live more, do more and dream more.
“What I’ve personally experienced is that if you dream big, put in the effort required, take the ownership, persevere and deliver - Fonterra supports you in finding a way to make those ideas happen. Every morning I wake up knowing I’m living my passion. Now who wouldn't want to do that?”