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Pallavi

Human Resource Director,
Ola

pallavi-1

“I’ve never been someone who easily backs down from a challenge, even when I’m thrown into the deep end unexpectedly. Because, as someone working in Human Resources, I need to have a thick skin. I still remember, about 7 years into my career, I was working for a startup, essentially running the HR department single-handedly, when that company experienced a huge revenue fall. 

Over the next few months, we were unable to pay salaries or address grievances, and it got to the point that more than 40 employees went on strike. That day, standing in front of a huge mob of—rightfully—angry people, as the shutters closed down behind me, I was scared. 

"I was sweating so profusely that my clothes clung to my skin, and I kept thinking, ‘I hope to God no one picks up a stone and starts pelting me with it.’"

All I knew was that, in that moment, the crowd in front of me didn’t need empty promises or false placation—they just needed the truth. So, I gave it to them. I said, ‘This is where we stand today—we’re struggling. I know that some of you haven’t been paid in the last one or two months. 

""I haven’t received my own salary for almost six months."

But I promise you—we’re doing our best.’ And I think my honesty and open vulnerability is what hit the chord with them. I managed to calm those people down and escaped unscathed that day, although that company shut down soon after. 

But as I moved through the next few roles in the next few companies, that’s one lesson I always carried with me. There will be trials—but as long as you wade through them with integrity, there’s no obstacle you can’t overcome.

That’s why, while joining Ola last year, when I was told, ‘Honestly, we don’t know what your exact role will be. We just know—there’s a lot to be done!’ I didn’t hesitate. I dove in, headfirst, ready to face every challenge. I joined around the time of our scooter launch, and the thing that struck me the most was the energy—it was palpable. 

Things were changing everyday, and as an HR Business Partner, I looked at anything and everything. Over a year later, I still don’t have a defined ‘role’. But you know what is definite? Making the most of this roller-coaster ride!”

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