Outside Diageo, most people raise their eyebrows when they learn that Jyoti Dey, Vice President – Senior Counsel Legal, Diageo India, works in the alcobev sector. She dislikes the hypocrisy that Indian society has towards this industry and the subject of alcohol.
Jyoti Dey grew up in a Marwari business family in Kolkata. Her parents always encouraged her and her sister to study and find a career for themselves. Her sister pursued her career in business management and Jyoti chose to become a lawyer. She graduated in Political Science (Hons.) from St. Xavier’s, Kolkata, and pursued her law from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She says she got into the wine & spirits industry by accident. “I began my career in the alcobev industry and after 14 years of working in financial industry, it happened again!” she discloses. Her first job was at Shaw Wallace, where she learnt not to hesitate to ask questions, especially when no one else did. Her parents are quite progressive in their thinking. “As long as it is a reputed company and I am enjoying my work, I guess they are ok with it,” she says.
Her present responsibilities include providing legal advice to the commercial and corporate relations teams of Diageo India, apart from taking care of litigations for the company. Jyoti’s work in Diageo India has been enriching but she feels there is always room for more. “It is an ongoing process,” she adds. There have been empowering moments but what makes her feel great is when her advice as the inhouse counsel, helps steer the company’s strategy.
Within Diageo, she never was told that this industry was men’s domain. But the world outside reacted differently. “Outside of Diageo, most people have raised eyebrows when I tell them I work in the alcobev sector,” she laments. She believes there is no substitute for hard work, and it is not difficult to fare well in this industry. “Iwouldn’t deny there have been anxious moments to perform well and stay up the curve,” she adds.
For Women in The Industry
Jyoti particularly likes the fact that at this point in time India is going through a transition phase on social acceptance of not just alcohol but also inclusion of women in the exciting alcobev industry. When asked what traits women need to make it big in this industry, her pragmatic advice is: “Do not make a big deal out of men vs. women. Stay true to your job.” Sharing her thoughts on how she juggles her work with family responsibilities, she reveals that she does not “take work stress to home and vice versa, and that has worked well for me”. As for her biggest achievement so far, she says: “I take pride in the fact that I am where I am with sheer hard work and that is my biggest achievement.” Her goal in life is to be a respected business leader and have a fulfilling life.