Nidhi Verma, Head, Investor Relations, Diageo India, fully appreciates what goes on behind the scenes to get a high-quality spirit from the farm to the table. Today, she stands tall in the industry and hopes to make a mark.

Nidhi Verma was born and raised in Delhi, in a middle-class family. Her father ran a smallscale construction business and mother was a home maker. She was the youngest of four siblings and hence the most pampered one too. “I was sincere and ambitious since childhood, always topping my class. I was loved by teachers,” she fondly recollects. Proving her excellence all through, she received a gold medal for academic excellence during Bachelor in Finance & Investment Analysis degree from Delhi University. Nidhi then went on to pursue MBA in Finance, where she finished in the top 1 percent of the class. Her first job from the campus was a coveted role in project appraisal & structured finance division at SBI Capital Markets.

She hadn’t planned to enter the alcobev industry. “Although I had enjoyed various types of spirits from time to time, I didn’t fully grasp my interest in the fascinating world of spirits until I joined my current role,” she says. Today, she can safely say that she fully appreciates what goes on “behind the scenes to get a high-quality spirit from the farm to the table”.

The empowered Lady

Her parents were very supportive of her decision to enter the wine and spirits business. “I was asked by my hiring manager as to how did my parents view my choice and my response to him was that the evil is not in the product but in its misuse. For example, food is no different – if you overeat, you get obese and all related problems with it will percolate,” she asserts. Her career has been going well, but her empowering moments were when she had to represent Diageo India alone at a well renowned investor conference. “I remember when I entered the room, it was filled with a large number
of institutional investors and analysts who have been tracking the company for years. I was thrilled to share the vision and strategy of the company to this very important set of stakeholders,” she discloses.

Tackling Dated Notions

She has often been confronted by the erroneous and dated notion that she was straddling in men’s domain. Growing up in a patriarchal society, she often witnessed how a woman who drank was not perceived well by our society. That didn’t deter her from making her choices though as gender was never a factor in her mind. “I am glad to see how the attitudinal barriers to responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages are now breaking down in many parts of India and gender is becoming a non-issue,” she observes. She feels that what really counts at the end of the day is to retain one’s original voice. “Keep persisting until you get what you want,” she affirms. Nidhi believes her best is yet to come.

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