She travels a path less travelled

Born into a Gujarati family and a Mumbaikar at heart, the love of food is something that she has nurtured within her from childhood. On her journey with food, Aditi Mehta has not just traversed across the globe but across numerous roles, growing steadily with each new position. It was a visit to a food festival during her school days that sparked the beginning of her ambitions and set her on a path that she is happy to walk on today.

Having dreamt of a career in the kitchen, the sweet and savoury aromas of the bakery always called out to her senses, but it was the hot kitchen where she took her first steps. When she graduated from culinary school, there were only 2 girls out of 60 students who took to the kitchen, a dismal number according to her. She hopes to see more women thrive in the profession.

From working at a restaurant to working as part of a research team for Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s new kitchen to working as a chef manager, exploring a sales profile in a corporate setting and opening her consultancy firm she has done it all with aplomb. Switching roles and responsibilities from that of a chef to operations to sales and management to being a region head, was not always smooth sailing, but Aditi knew when to take a break and when to keep going despite the hurdles.

In addition to the learning that her role in operations offered her, she was curious about sales and client-facing functions and an opportunity soon took her to Canada. After making an impression in Canada, she returned to start her entrepreneurial journey with a consultancy and explored several avenues over a while. It was a long hiatus after which she returned to Sodexo as a key account manager at Goa Medical College.

Challenges and opportunities are an integral part of any growth story. What is important is how you take them and deliver to the best of your abilities.

The initial months were tough and filled with new learnings. It was an environment that demanded liaising with government officials, the client and employees. The idea of a woman in a position of power was not easily accepted. However, she was undaunted, and, within a few months, she managed to establish a good rapport with everyone. Her hunger for growth and learning motivated her to take on the next challenge one after another and soon a promotion to region head took her by surprise. It was her managers’ trust in her and her confidence in her abilities that motivated her to accept the new role and begin the next phase of her journey. With regular feedback and appreciation from clients, peers and seniors, she was able to deliver her best.

As a leader, she is not just driven to overcome the next challenge and achieve the next milestone, but also ensures her women team members chart their own growth stories. She regularly interacts with the women employees at sites, enquires about their well-being and keeps them motivated. She also encourages a gender balance in internal promotions and hopes to have more women on the team.

I have never felt any bias based on gender during my time at Sodexo. I always felt included and accepted

She finds her inspiration in Mr Sambit Sahu, MD, Sodexo as she has witnessed his growth journey over the past two decades.

Work will always be there. One must remember to make time for family

Work-life balance for her means prioritizing. While work is an essential part of her life, she is always available for her family. A bit of self-care for her translates to an hour of screen time or reading which rejuvenates her. The one that tops it all is cooking. She loves cooking and finds it to be a great stress buster.

That’s not all. She also wants to learn the art of patisserie and bartending and explore more places in India. She is excited about her journey and inspiring us too!

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