Deepa Choudhary is an experienced corporate figure who excels in Marketing, Brand Building, Marcom, pre-sales, and strategic sourcing.
Currently working as the Executive Assistant to the President & COO at MAHLE ANAND FILTER SYSTEMS PRIVATE LIMITED, Deepa Choudhary is a business professional with over 13 years of experience in developing & executing business operations, and project execution to accomplish top & bottom-line profitability.
From her impeccable ethics to commendable honesty and integrity, Deepa Choudhary leads by example and was recently felicitated with Women Excellence Achievement Awards (WEAA) India Awards 2021.
Following is an excerpt from the interview Wonderpublish recently conducted with Deepa Choudhary:
Q. 1: You have come a long way in your corporate journey since you started some 13 years ago, what similarities do you still hold with young Deepa who was just starting on her journey back then?
Ans: I still see myself as the young, curios Deepa who is willing to learn new things. I still consider myself a risk-taker who is always looking for unconventional solutions to problems. I still believe in adding “Deepa’s magic” to improve things that I am involved with. So to answer your question in a way, I still hold most of the similarities with Deepa who was just starting on her journey.
Q. 2: Tell us about your Baghpat days. And coming from a background where government jobs are revered, why did you choose to be different?
Ans: Coming from a typical Jat middle-class family where most of my uncles were in the Army, Navy and other services, my father chose Yoga. Both of my parents went together for Yoga training. So in a way my father had already defied the convention. All I had to do was to give my best to whatever I wanted to do.
But yes, coming from such a conservative background where government jobs are preferred for career options and matrimonial proposals, it is really difficult to carve out your own path. However, I was spared from that because I moved to Delhi when I was hardly four years old. From there, I carried on with my career.
Q. 3: What do you say to someone who is looking up to you?
Ans: I’d say whatever you are doing, or whatever you want to do, do it to the best of your capabilities. Even if you are doing a job that is not bringing value to others in a direct manner but if you do it to the best of your abilities, you can add your customised version to it and improve the overall value of your profile. And this is how you differentiate yourself.
And to quote Priyanka Chopra, ‘Even if you are the person who is cutting grass, you do it in such a way that no other person can do it that way.’ And this is how it defines you as an individual.
Q. 4: How do you define your career?
Ans: The role of an executive assistant is a 24*7 job. It comes from all directions and in diverse varieties. You are working as a shadow, as a right-hand to someone who is leading the organisation. So in a way, you are the string to the beads of a necklace. It is almost like the backbone of the organisation.
Earlier this role used to be defined in a different way. It used to be task-driven and rigid in terms of execution. But now this role has modernised. Executive Assistants are now decision-makers, they are given more responsibilities. There is now much space available for upscaling and upgrading one’s skill set. Thankfully, we have outgrown ourselves from the earlier micro-management culture.
Q. 5: You have such a rich oeuvre of expertise and strengths, what’s your process of learning new things?
Ans: New things are there in every shape and form. Nowadays you have so much data floating around you. Earlier it used to be just books, but now you get so much information from YouTube, Social Media, Motivational Speakers, and other kinds of resources. It is when you absorb that information in a meaningful way, it becomes knowledge. And when you put that knowledge to practice, you become skilled at it.
And when you master that skill, it becomes your competence. And when you are competent and keep working at it, it turns into excellence.
Q. 6: You have made admirable comebacks at many points in your career, how would you describe your mindset to overcome such times?
Ans: I entered the corporate world in 2007. It was a completely new world for me. From the work culture to the very ambience, it was all quite an experience. Back then, we used to have our managers as our mentors. I was put into a research project. But the 2007 global recession put it on hold and I was made redundant. The 35 member team was reduced to 10.
But being the good guys my company people were, they gave me redeployment, within the company itself in a different department. So I started giving interviews in other departments, but I was not getting any. One of the days, in front of our department entrance I found a gold chain. Very casually, I submitted it to the lost and found. A couple of hours later, my manager emailed me confirming whether I had submitted a gold chain as lost and found. And there, it was looked at as an act of kindness that was recognised by all. And the chain turned out to be of the Executive Assistant’s chain. As the then-executive assistant was on her way out, I was given the position as they wanted someone with a sense of integrity and honesty. Needless to say, the attitude was valued at that time. And taking the advantage of hindsight, I can say these are the traits and mindset that gets you going.
Q. 7: What are some of the challenges that remain constant in your career?
Ans: Challenges are a part of life. I won’t say that my current role is not challenging. And if it is not challenging then it means you are in your comfort zone. So, I personally look forward to new challenges in my role, in a very positive way.
Challenges come unannounced, like the recent COVID-19. We are living in a VUCA world: Volatility – Uncertainty – Complexity – Ambiguity. And in order to survive in such a world, you need to keep on upgrading yourself: To learn, unlearn and relearn.