Meet the women breaking stereotypes and leading the way at Daraz
KATHMANDU, MARCH 07
In an interview with The Himalayan Times, young women who head various departments at Daraz share their journey within the company. These women inspire change, setting great examples in their workplace.
Daraz, which is part of the Alibaba group, is the leading e-commerce player in Nepal. It has more than 450 employees and is one of the largest recruiters despite COVID-19's impact on the Nepali economy.
While a lot of companies today speak of having a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment, many do not embrace diversity when it comes to leadership roles. Daraz is one of the companies that continuously strives to break barriers, not only in business but also when it comes to the workforce. Today, the Daraz leadership team comprises of 50 per cent women without any quotas. What matters is performance and not where you are from or your gender identity.
Salina Nakarmi, Head of Marketing Communications
Take Salina Nakarmi, she is the head of marketing communications. She leads a team of 10 diverse and young professionals. Despite common stereotypes in the society, she has faced no resistance in the workplace, Nakarmi says.
She explains the company nourishes competency and talent.
"There are no quotas, if you have it in you, the company will help bring it out, no matter who you are."
Nakarmi, who is also a new mother, shares how she managed the challenges of looking after her baby and working fulltime.
She says, "Despite my maternity leave being over, I am still able to work remotely. Due to a flexible work schedule, I can give enough time to my baby and family. Daraz followed a 'work from home' policy during the lockdown and still continues to have weekly shifts of home and office. Managing a team virtually with a young baby to look after was definitely a challenge initially. But with tremendous support from my team, boss, and family, things went smoothly."
Nakarmi, in fact, embraces challenges, saying, "Challenges are inevitable and change is constant. These are in fact the best teachers in your career. With every challenge you face, you will learn a valuable lesson that you will be able to apply in other aspects of your life. "
Shreyana Shrestha, Head of DarazMall
Shreyana Shrestha, who heads DarazMall (a section for official brand outlets), shares a similar experience of working at Daraz.
She says, "I started at Daraz three years ago as an associate level Project Manager. However, I quickly moved on to become a Guided Shopping Manager, helping users easily find what they need in the Daraz app and currently I am the head of DarazMall, overseeing national and international brands and their growth in Daraz."
Shrestha credits Daraz's work culture for her growth within the company.
She says, "Daraz has a diverse, open, transparent, and a non-hierarchical working environment with people from all walks of life. I believe I have been able to seek opportunities for my professional and personal growth within the organisation as the work culture encourages us to take initiatives, have our voices heard irrespective of seniority, or gender."
However, according to Shrestha, she wasn't always so confident about her abilities. She says, "When I first joined the company, I was not very confident. But I've had the opportunity to strengthen my analytical and organisational skills. I have also become more competitive, setting realistic goals and ensuring that I work diligently to achieve them. These qualities have fortunately spilled into my personal life as well, and I have grown so much along with the company."
Vidha Pradhan, Head of Traffic Operations
Vidha Pradhan, who heads Traffic Operations at Daraz, echoes a similar sentiment as her colleagues. Talking about her overall journey in the company, she says, "I began as a Campaign Manager, it was a newly created role - just for me. Mind you these were early days for the company in Nepal and there were lots of new and exciting things happening.
We were an enthusiastic bunch of four working together. Fast forward close to a year later, I was heading the Campaign and Onsite team alongside marketing.
This was when Kaymu transitioned to Daraz. The agility and speed with which we have progressed as a company also demanded a lot of hard work and dedication from us. The fast change also inculcated in me the need for continuous learning, curiosity and agile thinking. Today, I lead a team of an even more enthusiastic bunch of 13 colleagues under this function called 'Traffic Operations'."
Pradhan expresses how setting the right culture has helped the company, saying, "Daraz has always been a pioneer in breaking stereotypes. I never felt tied down when it came to opportunities to lead in Daraz.
The company has established itself as an equal opportunity employer and is a true leader in putting more women in leadership roles."
While there are a lot of talks about inclusion and diversity, according to these wonderful women, Daraz is actually taking steps to walk the talk.
If the pursuit for creating an ideal work environment is aiding Daraz's overall mission, then many ought to follow suit.
A version of this article appears in the print on March 08, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.