Aparna Giridhar graces the hot seat to answer questions on life as a leader and beyond.
Swiggy Town Halls are a monthly ritual, where leaders appraise employees about the health of the business, exciting new offerings, and our forward-looking strategy as a company. It’s a place where they connect with Swiggsters, answer their questions, and engage in open dialogue. There’s also a light-hearted segment that’s called “Know Your Leader”. Here, VPs & SVPs are put on the hot seat and asked about their perspectives on all things centered around work and life. Leaders at Swiggy are well-respected and accomplished individuals in the industry, and “KYL” is a great opportunity for employees to get to know their drive, their journey, but also see their human, fun-loving side.
This time around in the “Know Your Leader” hot seat was Aparna Giridhar, Vice President – Marketing. While Aparna dwelled on some interesting topics and gave insights on life at Swiggy and in a leadership role, this segment helmed by Michelle Kumar, Vice President – PR & Corporate Communications aimed to bring her lighter side into the spotlight. She divulged details on her biggest pet peeve, what her favourite Swiggy value (and a close second) is, and how she loves to find me-time through a no-gadget hour every day.
Aparna: Hi everyone, I’m Aparna and I joined Swiggy just six months back. I head the marketing function and it’s been a lovely six months. Before that, I was with HUL for 11 long years. So yeah, technically, this is my first job change.
Michelle: So, I wanted to know what the first 60 minutes of your day looks like.
Aparna: The first 60 mins of my day is broadly waking up, and spending some time on the balcony; that’s probably the first 10 minutes. I quite enjoy a breath of fresh air as soon as I wake up. Then, a couple of morning stretches to ease my not-so-great back. Then I go for a walk. That’s pretty much my routine. I come back to pick up the paper at my doorstep, though I rarely read it and that’s pretty much my first hour. I also try to make it a no gadget hour. There are some days where some things are unavoidable. And it’s me-time so I’m all by myself and I quite enjoy it.
Michelle: What was your last Swiggy order? Probably 10 minutes back.
Aparna: No, not 10 minutes back. But I did get something in 10 minutes. I wanted the Amul dark chocolate, so Instamart it was. Actually, if I’m not wrong, it was 7 minutes. So, that was the order today.
Michelle: Any buzzword or pet peeve?
Aparna: Not so much a pet peeve but I’ve always been very curious about the way the word ‘virality’ gets used. But I think the good part is I’ve also learnt to see what people mean when they say something should go viral or your design for virality. But, I think that’s something that’s probably been my pet peeve for years now. Okay, maybe not so much a pet peeve but something that puzzles, and troubles me at times.
Michelle: And in your current role, what was the best professional advice you’ve received when you were trying to solve a problem at any point in your career?
Aparna: I’ve received a few but I go back to two of them when it comes to problem solving. One of my favourite mentors tells me that while solving a problem the first thing to do is to know what the problem actually is. Otherwise, you’re most likely reacting to a symptom. That to me is the most important advice, and the second thing is if you’re coming back to the same solution for multiple problems then it’s time to step back, take a pause and revisit it from scratch.
Michelle: What’s your favourite Swiggy marketing moment?
Aparna: It largely comes out of a couple of consumer interactions. The funny thing was that I was talking to someone who is a consumer of a competitor and funnily through a slip of the tongue said that “I Swiggyed it”. Then said, “I’m sorry”. But, I think that moment revealed to me that the word ‘Swiggy It’ is so powerful. I mean it’s not so much a marketing moment as what the word itself is. ‘Swiggying’ itself is a verb so that for me was big but even if I go back beyond my 6 months here, one of my favourite marketing moments was from what I had seen as an outsider. It was this film called ‘A Boy Named Swiggy’. It was really interesting and brought the brand to life and it ties back to the first thing I said about everything being Swiggy. It’s a verb; it’s a way of life. So, that would be it for me.
Michelle: What’s your favourite Swiggy Value?
Aparna: My favourite is ‘Consumer Comes First’. It’s a value that I loved in my previous organisation and even today. So, it’s my favourite value, moral compass, and guiding metric. So yeah, that would be my favourite. But though the Swiggy value system is very robust, I quite enjoy our value ‘Never Settle’ also. I would love to practise it more as it’s something that’s good to strive for.