Wisdom Stories Ep.12: Ms. Achlaa


Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

I discovered HR and its strength when I joined Pepsi Foods, where I witnessed the impact of this function first-hand in building the organisation. Talent Acquisition became my natural choice in Usha International (erstwhile SIEL)  as it exposed me to multiple industry verticals. I have had an exciting career with thrills, spills, excitement, and lots of learning.

I have straddled work cultures as diverse as traditional Indian companies as well as multinational conglomerates in my professional journey, and there have been a few turning points along the way. A chance encounter with a hiring consultant from Impact (Now Amrop), opened the door as a freelancer. Working at Amrop changed my perception of Talent Acquisition from a simple recruitment business to a premium service.  When the Group HR Head at Shriram Group moved into a business role, it broke some self-limiting beliefs in my mind.

All failures have been a stepping stone to either learnings or success. That does not mean that I did not have my low moments. Key skills that have held me in good stead are drive, delegation, determination, and humour. When I introduced the concept of Executive Search to a traditional Indian conglomerate, we received serious pushback. My perseverance paid off when we won 3 CXO Searches later. In another example, failure to sign up on retained Search opened us to a different model of working altogether. One troublesome colleague taught me “what not to do” as an HR leader, which was quite a bother at that point, but invaluable in the long run. 

As time went by, it never occurred to me that I needed to stop. I still feel there is so much to do, to experiment with and to learn. Today I am involved with a start-up as an HR Specialist. I continue to run my firm Nacre Outsourcing with a small team, in a stand-alone Agro chemical and Insurance Vertical. 

My advice to the wisdom generation is to continue to invest in yourself, upgrade your skills, try new things, and reinvest in your passion.

Achlaa, Human Resources Professional

Photo and Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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