AGE 57

JOB EXPERIENCE Sales and marketing director, Cadbury South Africa; division president and later vice president and global head of strategy and new business, The Coca-Cola Company; managing principal, Zyman Group.

CLAIM TO FAME Since she took over in 2005, Britannia Industries has grown by 20% annually. Bali has been responsible for pushing the company’s healthy snacking strategy. She has also diversified the Tiger brand, which is synonymous with glucose biscuits. She ranks fifth on Fortune India’s list of Most Powerful Women in Business.

My sports teacher in school [Convent of Jesus and Mary, New Delhi], Ms. Pilkington, once told me I could do a little of everything but I should focus on something and excel at it. I found this idea appealing. The hook was the process of achieving excellence. I feel it is more a mindset than a goal. It’s about the path: Am I going to take a shortcut or am I going to do it well? The journey is a great teacher. To decide if I should proceed, I ask three questions: Am I going to learn from this? Will I be able to contribute? Will I have fun? If the answer is ‘Yes’, I tend to go ahead. This has helped me take some interesting and unconventional decisions. I took on assignments considered off the beaten track at that time [in the early ’80s]. It was also unusual for people to work for a few years, take a study break, and return. I did exactly that. Whenever I face something new and different, I ask myself these three questions.

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