She’s Got the Power
Fay Sharpe is introducing this months shero Devi Virdi: “Devi is one of those women who exudes confidence , having worked with her for that last few years, one of the things I love about her is she’s a doer, she makes things happen, reading her story no wonder, having a strong role model in her Mum and of course that can do attitude! We are lucky to have her as one of our mentors again this year .. Here’s her story”
Who’s Devi Virdi?
“I grew up in Hong Kong the oldest of four siblings. Our family mantra growing up was “Where there is a will, there is a way!”, led from the front by a fiercely proud Indian mother who encouraged us all to be independent, strong-willed and leave the world a better place. It’s been my North Star every since, guiding me through my decisions, small and large.
Today, as a mother of two, living in London working as the Group Head of D&I for a FTSE 250 company, I’m using my experiences and passion to help drive a positive change with inclusion at the heart of everything we do for our colleagues and customers.
My career path has not been an obvious one; whilst I began in HR working for a hotel group, I soon found my strengths took me into a business development and sales and marketing focus roles. I have spent 20 years working with the biggest corporations on the planet and have built, led and driven global commercial teams as well as been a regional MD for a global travel tech firm.
I have sat in many senior exec meetings and realised that I was the only one that looked like me around the table; sometimes the only woman and sometimes the only Asian. That empowered me to step-up my game, learn, listen and lean in! I have had to be bold, resilient and agile in my career to allow me to compete at the same level as other as well as tenacious and innovative in my thinking – I have always found a way, as my mother taught me.
Today, I realise that I am in a fortunate position and I have an obligation to use my platform to make a difference. Having mentored with Fast Forward 15 and The Girls Network previously, my love of mentoring other women and underrepresented groups via education, mentorship and career development gives me the opportunity to to share, learn, and give back.
I am a people person, so I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve as they say. I love meeting people from all walks of life, and having had the prilevege of working in travel for over 20 years, I’ve been fortunate to have extensively experienced different cultures from around the world. I am a change agent and I will always find a way to get things done and believe me, that’s what drives me, on every single day!
The advice I would give to anyone starting out is to be bold, take risks and not be afraid of making mistakes and more importantly learning from the experience and mistakes. My career path has always been about taking on difficult challenges and ceasing the opportunities through the many twists and turns along the way – and listen, I’m only half way there!”