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Inspirational Woman: Simin Askari | Vice President Corporate HR of DS Group

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Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently

I am a mother to two wonderful children, a wife to an amazingly supportive husband, a sister to a very talented woman, a daughter to extremely large hearted parents, a daughter in law to encouraging parents in law and finally a professional trying to make a mark at the workplace.

My journey into the HR function has been quite fascinating. I started my career as a sales and business development professional. After working for five years I dwelled into an entrepreneurial venture, which dealt in manufacturing and exports of leather garments and accessories. Initially I was responsible for backend support and managing buyer requirements. However, over the years as the business grew, it was imperative to have a focused approach on the HR function. My inherent people skills helped me slowly transition into a seasoned HR professional. I actively took over to talent management, handling basic processes such as payroll and compliance management as well as complex issues like employee motivation and retention. I was able to introduce certain innovative schemes that not only motivated employees to perform better but also instilled a sense of ownership in the business.

My entrepreneurial exposure has given me a 360-degree view of the business and I am able to view the HR function from a financial and business perspective, rather than just the prism of the HR function.

Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote

My vision as a leader is to inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in not just my team, but across the company…. to challenge people to outdo themselves. My role requires me to be a strategic partner to the business rather than just a support function. Working in an Indian business house that is transitioning from being a promoter driven organization to a professionally run organization, requires HR to take lead in change management. I have managed to introduce several initiatives that have helped improve performance and motivation levels of the employees. I am currently actively working on the employer brand, identifying and reinforcing the employee value proposition, thereby steering the organization towards becoming a “Great place to work”

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

Challenges are part of the daily routine. It’s how you face these challenges, is what sets you apart from others. I have always embraced challenges…I feel I am able to learn something from every difficult situation and manage to come out stronger.

What has been your greatest achievement personally?

I have been honored by the Global HRD Congress with the ” Women Super Achiever” award in 2010 and the “Leadership Award” in 2014. I have also been recognized as one of the most influential HR professionals of India of 2017. 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.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?

I don’t think I would be doing anything differently. I feel I have evolved over the years as an HR professional. However, if I could ever have had a crystal ball, I would have looked at the mistakes committed and would have tried to avoid them…but this is not how things work out in reality. I am quite happy with how I have grown and what I have achieved over these years.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband has been my biggest inspiration….he’s the one I always turn to whenever in doubt. He is also my biggest critic, and that’s why I know he will always be brutally honest in his opinions.

What does the future hold for you?

I am happiest when I am contributing to the best of my abilities and I intend to continue doing that and have the satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference.

So wish me luck!!

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