Her courage was her crown, and she wore it like a Queen

Eager to make a mark in her career as she completed her MBA, the service industry was one place, Ankita Dhani never imagined she would work in, let alone flourish and triumph. A decade later in Sodexo, she happily recounts her experiences of her remarkable journey filled with challenges and victories.

I was anxious at first, but soon found myself in a comfortable environment at Sodexo (P&G site), Baddi as my manager, co-workers and client put my mind at ease.

Each day brought with it new challenges and as she faced each one, she gained new understanding and learnings. With each learning, she moulded herself to become better and sharpened her skills. Bold and fearless, she put her foot down when things went wrong and enjoyed support from her teams and HR. She felt that infrastructure did not matter but was secure in the feeling that she was in a good company. Today she feels proud and grateful for the support of her teams in her growth story that began with her joining as an FM executive to her current role as GSM for 10+ years.

It’s a passion working with Sodexo, I'm so comfortable working here. It's like home

She attributes her success not just to her seniors and teams at work but to a great extent to her husband as well. Mother to a three-year-old cherub, Ankita prioritizes work and motherhood with equal ease. She is thankful for the flexibility her job offered during the initial phase of motherhood that brought with it new challenges wherein she needed the time for her baby. There were times when the demands of motherhood and work got to her, but she handled it with a quiet determination and a smile on her face.

People say managers build the team, but I can say my team has built me. I feel free to help them and take help from them. We are transparent and can discuss everything on the job even when things go wrong.

A beautiful example of her transformation is the change in the way she approaches work and people. From a quiet, soft-spoken person she now speaks confidently in front of 100 people and can be firm when necessary. Professionally, she faced some resistance when she assumed a position of authority due to her gender but is glad to have a mostly cooperative team.

She draws inspiration from her seniors who taught her not to stress over things over which one has no control in life. Her mantra of a great work-life balance is to be present in the now. While at work she focuses on work and while at home devotes all her attention to her family.

In her scope of work, she prioritises a great gender balance in her teams and has managed to increase the diversity hiring to 30%. She meets with the women employees regularly to address concerns if any and keep them motivated. Under her guidance, the team has also won the "Best Vendor for Safety" award during the National Safety Month celebrations three times in the last six years. It's not just the contentment of the women employees but also the feeling of safety and security they feel at work that makes Ankita feel that we are all on the right track.

To other women aspirants who look forward to a career in the service industry, Ankita says “Come out of your homes. It’s a safe environment at Sodexo.”

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