Sodexo Helped Me Make a Difference

In a very short span of time, Sodexo has made me feel empowered.

Becoming a safety professional was not on my mind when I was pursuing chemical engineering. Then something changed. During my visits to chemical plants as a process engineer, I witnessed burn incidents and felt they could have been avoided. Meanwhile, my seniors were pursuing Health, Safety & Environmental Engineering, so both factors compelled me to pursue MTech HSE.

My first assignment was in the oil and gas sector at Schlumberger where I was the first woman to be onboarded in what used to be a male-dominated industry. I was given the responsibility of managing several sites- all over India and abroad. During my tenure, I introduced various safety training programs like injury prevention, management of contractors and subcontractors, and their training portfolios. I later got a chance to work in research and development at L’oreal and gained experience in safety practices in the cosmetic industry.

Soon enough I was identified for my skills and found myself in Sodexo.

Sodexo has been a different kind of journey. With new responsibilities, new avenues opened up for me. I was exploring and learning various aspects of health and safety practices in the service industry. While my job entailed collaborating with clients and ensuring the most stringent safety protocols are adhered to, it was always an exciting challenge to educate and convince the clients about safety practices. Sodexo identifies the importance of safety and deploys programs accordingly.

At Sodexo, I believe, learning is a continuous process because there is always so much more to do and so many advancements in the field that we can implement to help our people stay safe. I think familiarising myself with different verticals and segments, especially, the food segment is a path I would like to follow since it is one of the pillars for growth in the 2025 roadmap.

I understand the importance of my role in governance and managing people and segments so that the best practices get translated onto the last person working on-site. However, we meet hurdles in the form of cultural and age-old mindsets or habits that are difficult to break. Every challenge I face makes me even more determined to overcome it. The support and encouragement that I have received at Sodexo have helped to implement changes in safety practices at various sites.

The environment at Sodexo has been encouraging enough for me to unleash my creativity in my job. What was otherwise considered instructions in black and white, now had a new face. People stopped to take notice of the safety notices and communication which I developed as comic strips. This has motivated me to keep going.

Moreover, working for a firm like Sodexo that has its values in the right place makes me feel proud to be working here. One experience I will never forget is when Sodexo decided to exit a lucrative business collaboration due to slack in safety standards without a thought for profitability as Sodexo values the safety of its people first. It is this thought process that flows throughout the organization and for that, I admire and appreciate the leadership team at Sodexo.

Thanks to Sodexo, I learned that safety is a value and not a priority that can change.

My motto as a safety professional is to try and change the mindsets of people to follow safe practices in their lives. By doing so if I can make a difference in the life of even one person, I feel my work is meaningful. These values spill over into my personal life too. As a safety professional, I had the honour of conducting some workshops (fire evacuation, hygiene practice, first-aid) for children in my community.

One of my most memorable moments at work is when I got the opportunity to become a Zero Harm Mindset trainer two months after I joined. These big and small successes and challenges keep me motivated to do more to make it safer for people, one step at a time. And I am glad I found a great place to do that. At Sodexo.

Sometimes you do not get 100% returns of what you put in. Keep giving your best, nevertheless. Don’t let hurdles stop you and you will achieve success.

I leave you with this poem by Don Merrell. It is something I share in most of my workshops.

I Chose to Look the Other Way

I could have saved a life that day,

But I chose to look the other way.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care;

I had the time, and I was there.


But I didn’t want to seem a fool,

Or argue over a safety rule.

I knew he’d done the job before;

If I spoke up he might get sore.


The chances didn’t seem that bad;

I’d done the same, he knew I had.

So I shook my head and walked by;

He knew the risks as well as I.

He took the chance, I closed an eye;

And with that act, I let him die.

I could have saved a life that day,

But I chose to look the other way.


Now every time I see his wife,

I know I should have saved his life.

That guilt is something I must bear;

But isn’t’ something you need to share.


If you see a risk that others take

That puts their health or life at stake,

The question asked or thing you say;

Could help them live another day.


If you see a risk and walk away,

Then hope you never have to say,

“I could have saved a life that day,

But I chose to look the other way.”

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