Women City


Simin Askari

The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
After completing my MBA, I started my career with HCL. The job was into hardcore sales, which gave me my first exposure with handling different customer expectations and attending to client issues. My next career move was with The Times of India (TOI). Here again, while I was responsible for many new initiatives like the Shopping Time and Business Times pages, it was my interpersonal skills that were responsible for my success. My next move was into an entrepreneurial venture, which achieved success thresholds - from seed stage to market leadership. Here I introduced various HR systems in the organization thus improving overall profitability of the company. After spending 10 years into this venture, I started becoming restless for I now wanted a bigger canvas to paint a larger picture! Then Apollo happened. This group gave me the opportunity to handle the entire HR department for all its divisions, domestic as well as international. I am responsible for the human capital development of the group right from induction to exit..i.e. the entire employee life cycle.

Insight of My Company and the Role I Play in it
Apollo International Limited was set up in 1994 to lead the diversification forays of the 'Apollo Group' into new business opportunities worldwide. The flagship company of this group, Apollo Tyres, is one of the largest manufacturers of Tyres in India. The group business areas include international trade in tyres, tubes, flaps, production and export of quality leather garments and goods; and newer exciting areas like; logistics and digitalization of cinema theaters across the world. The company has diverse operations in more than 60 countries spanning across Africa, Middle East, South East Asia, Europe and USA.I head HR for all divisions of Apollo International Limited, located across the globe.

Decisions That Mattered
From starting my career into sales and marketing, I found my true calling in HR and consciously molded myself into a seasoned HR professional. Another important career move was to come back into the corporate world after having successfully run a business enterprise.

My Vision as a Leader
To inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in not just my team, but across the company.. to challenge people to outdo themselves.

Resolving Challenges Faced as a Women
The only time when I faced a challenge due to my gender was when I had to deal with factory workers in North India. It was difficult for the typical male worker to take orders from a woman and it took me quite a while to be finally accepted by them. But once that was established, all else was quite easy!

Work - life Balance
I have a great support system at home. My children are now quite independent - I have a 17 year old son and a 14 year old daughter and my husband is very supportive. Needless to say, the maid is an integral part of the family!

Starting Over from Scratch, What I Would Like to do Differently
I really don't think I would do anything differently. I feel I have evolved and am now better equipped to handle HR than if I would have started my career into this function.

Women Leaders: Driving Force for Powering Business
Women as such are very dedicated and hard working. If you give a task to a girl or woman, there are chances that she would achieve it with more precision and perseverance than her male counterpart. My team has both men and women and I don't find the women lacking in any respect, whether it is domain knowledge or dedication. But I feel we don't have too many women leaders. It's an established fact that wherever there is a woman leader in the board of a company; those companies are certainly doing well.

My Learning Along the Way
There is learning happening at every step. I always feel there is so much to learn and imbibe from. I have met many people who feel that they are now experts and don't need to learn any more. But, I don't feel like that. I am happy to listen to others, absorb from their experiences and grow further as an individual. I feel this is what has always contributed towards my success.

Two Years Down the Line
I am happiest when I am an essential part of the company..in the next couple of years I want to do the best I can and have the satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference.

An Accomplishment I am Most Proud of
I have been honored by the Global HRD Congress with the " Women Super Achiever" award. I have also been recognized as one of the most powerful HR professional of India. These recognitions by my peers are certainly valuable but I think my biggest achievement is my motivated teams and my relationship with my people. They know I always have their best interests in mind and I know they will always do their best to work towards the organizations goals.

Women tend to overlook their career after a certain period. My advice to the women employees is that they should stop doing that. There would be many instances in life where pursuing a career may seem less relevant, but a little perseverance is all that is required to overcome these difficulties. Women have the capabilities to reach the top echelons in an organization and nothing should be able to stop them from attaining that golden position.

Don't miss
White Papers
While women have entered the work force in increasing numbers throughout... more>>
The 2010 Women Matter study provides a focused analysis on how to achiev... more>>
CEO Conclave