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Women are more resilient and do not give up very easily: Malika Sadani

We, at Adgully, have always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. Last year, we launched our unique and distinct program, called WOMEN DISRUPTORS, which drew a lot of attention and was highly appreciated by the industry. W-SUITE is a special initiative from Adgully that has been turning the spotlight on some of the most remarkable women achievers in M&E, Advertising & Marketing, PR & Communication industry. In the refurbished series, we will find out how women leaders have been managing their teams and work as well as how they have been navigating through the toughest and most challenging times brought about by the global pandemic.

Malika Sadani, Founder & CEO, The Moms Co, speaks about the changing face of women leadership in pandemic times, how COVID-19 has widened the role and scope of women entrepreneurs, achieving work-life balance in times of crisis, and much more.

How do you think the role and scope of women leaders have widened in the post-pandemic world?

The pandemic has upended the way people used to work and live across the world. Today’s leadership requires skills such as clear communication, effective collaboration, teamwork and most importantly, empathy – skills which women leaders typically do better at. The post-COVID world will require these skills more than ever as we embrace the new ways of working and living, and I believe women leaders can help lead the change. 

The rapid transition to digital, an uncertain economic landscape, charting unknown waters, working from home with no modes of the usual contacts. How have you been navigating during the COVID-19 times? What were the challenges that you faced and how did you tackle them?

Even before the pandemic, a lot of moms were looking for safer, natural and effective options for themselves and their families, which put us on track to achieve 3x growth year on year. In a short span of 3 years, we have been able to reach over a million moms across the country. When the lockdown was announced, we did find it difficult because we had to shut our operations and there was a lot of uncertainty. However, since most of our products are classified as essentials and because we had a presence online even before the pandemic, we were better placed to service the needs of moms during the pandemic. The struggle we faced was less on the demand side and more on the supply side.

Our products primarily cater to mom and baby care and were classified as essentials during the lockdown and this helped us. However, by the end of Lockdown 1, we were facing problems with supply and logistics being shut across locations. We were running low on essential ingredients and raw materials, some of which are imported and some which are sourced locally. To overcome these issues across partners and our supply chain, we started a daily check-in with all teams focusing on all urgent issues for the day that needed solving. That helped us find solutions quickly and get back the business to our pre-COVID scale in a couple of months. 

How challenging has it been for you to maintain a balance between managing the team & office work on the one hand and family responsibilities on the other as boundaries blurred while working from home? What is your mantra to maintain that balance?

I believe in following the 3 mantras – Discipline, Routine and Prioritising. I make sure that I find time for work, family and health. I work on 4-5 projects at any given time and just allocating time for all and planning my day helps me efficiently work through them all. Over the years I have also gotten better at delegating. As your organisation grows, it is crucial to hire the right team and then delegate work that can be done by others so you can focus on what needs your attention. It will help create time for what’s really important. 

Multiple studies have shown how women leaders performed better during the COVID-19 crisis. According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?

I think women have always been multitasking and handling chaotic situations. They are more resilient and do not give up very easily and that’s what is most important in tough times. 

What are the five most effective lessons that you have learned as a woman leader?
Believe in yourself –
If you don’t believe in yourself then you can’t expect others to believe in you either.

  • Women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help – Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Women often don’t ask for help because they fear getting judged and end up spending a lot of time figuring out the answers by themselves. No one is expected to have all the answers and asking for help is a sign of strength, not a weakness.
  • Be Resilient – Do not give up easily, the journey is not going to be easy.
  • Surround yourself with really smart people who can help you achieve your goal. It’s very important to have the right mentors and friends.
  • Hire the best team – Get talent for roles you are not good at and give them space and the authority to experiment and have faith in them. This allows people to do innovative things.
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