Interview: Bhavna Shah, Regional Head of MPOC India, Bangladesh, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Bhavna Shah

An exclusive interview with Bhavna Shah, Regional Head of MPOC India, Bangladesh, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Meet Bhavna Shah, the esteemed Regional Head of MPOC (Malaysian Palm Oil Council) for India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. With a wealth of experience and expertise in the palm oil industry, Bhavna brings unparalleled insights into the dynamic market landscape of South Asia.

Her strategic leadership and innovative approaches have driven growth and sustainability initiatives, shaping the industry’s trajectory in the region.

Can you share your journey and experience leading up to your current role as Regional Head of MPOC for India, Bangladesh, Nepal & Sri Lanka?

Bhavna Shah: You know, looking back, it feels like quite the journey. I would say my resilience has been one of my biggest strengths, helping me overcome the odds. Starting from scratch in a little Indian village, to making waves in my career, it’s been a ride.

Sure, there were setbacks, but I never let them define me. I pushed through, breaking barriers and proving stereotypes wrong. My story is all about staying determined, inspiring others to tackle their own challenges head-on and chase after their dreams.

What’s your best advice for women when it comes to choosing the right career path?

Bhavna Shah: I would say, don’t be afraid to step into the unknown. Take risks and explore new opportunities, even if they seem unconventional. It’s easy to stick to a safe job with predictable hours, but if you want real growth, you’ve got to challenge yourself. Find something that truly lets you shine and don’t underestimate your own abilities.

Invest in your skills, keep learning, and aim to leave a mark beyond just your workplace. Follow your passion and embrace the thrill of discovering what’s possible in your career journey.

What is your perspective on the dynamics of localization and globalization within the global commodity market, particularly in liberalized economies like the trade of vegetable oils?

Bhavna Shah: It is an intriguing question. While globalization has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of commodity trading, I would not say it’s over. The concept of localization has gained traction, especially in recent years, as countries strive to protect their domestic industries and reduce dependence on foreign imports.

However, globalization still plays a significant role in driving efficiency, meeting demand supply gap, fostering innovation, and facilitating access to diverse markets. In the realm of vegetable oils, for instance, we see a delicate balance between localized production to meet specific dietary preferences and global trade to ensure supply chain resilience and cost competitiveness.

So, while the pendulum may swing towards localization in some aspects, the interconnectedness of our economies ensures that globalization continues to shape the dynamics of commodity trading, albeit in evolving ways.

In today’s fast-paced world, with increasing stress and demanding workloads, many employees are choosing to quit their jobs. What are your thoughts on this trend?

Bhavna Shah: It’s definitely a concerning trend that’s worth addressing. In the face of mounting stress and work demands, it’s understandable why employees may feel compelled to leave their jobs. However, I believe that investing in employee engagement and empathy is crucial for organizations looking to thrive in the long run.

While it may seem like an additional expense in the short term, it’s ultimately a strategic investment. Organizations that prioritize employee well-being and foster a supportive work culture tend to experience lower turnover rates and higher levels of productivity and innovation.

In the long run, these measures contribute to the sustainability and success of the organization. So, while it may require some upfront investment, the benefits far outweigh the costs when it comes to building resilient and enduring organizations.

What is your take on work-life balance?

Bhavna Shah: Work-life balance is a topic that often sparks debate, but I believe it’s essential to approach it with a fresh perspective. Instead of forcing a rigid balance between work and personal life, I advocate for a mindset focused on priority and purpose. In today’s fast-paced world, success often requires flexibility and adaptability.

Rather than restricting ourselves to predetermined hours or quotas, we should focus on maximizing productivity and impact in the time available. This might mean immersing ourselves fully in work during busy periods, while also carving out meaningful moments for relaxation and rejuvenation.

By this approach, we can break free from the traditional constraints of work-life balance and unlock new possibilities for personal and professional growth.

How do you approach decision-making in challenging or ambiguous situations, and what principles guide your leadership philosophy?

Bhavna Shah: Decision-making in challenging or ambiguous situations requires a blend of strategic thinking, agility, and integrity. I believe in taking a proactive and data-driven approach to decision-making, while also remaining adaptable to changing circumstances. Transparency and open communication are paramount, ensuring that stakeholders are informed and engaged throughout the process.

Additionally, I adhere to a set of guiding principles that prioritize ethical considerations, long-term sustainability, and the overall well-being of our team and stakeholders. By anchoring my philosophy in these principles, I strive to make decisions that are not only effective in the short term but also aligned with our broader mission and values.

If you were a superhero, what would your special power be, and how would you use it to tackle everyday workplace challenges?

Bhavna Shah:  Well, if I were a superhero, my special power would definitely be the ability to clone myself! Just imagine, I could be in two meetings at once, tackle double the workload, and maybe even have time for a coffee break or two. Plus, I’d never have to worry about missing deadlines or being in two places at once ever again. Talk about multitasking taken to the next level!

In conclusion, Bhavna Shah stands as a visionary leader, steering MPOC’s endeavors towards sustainable development and market expansion across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Through her profound understanding of the palm oil sector and relentless commitment to excellence, Bhavna continues to inspire change and foster collaboration for a thriving future in the industry.

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