“My zeal and passion to excel and follow on the path of successful women who have surmounted the challenges of the male-dominated world, drive me to perform the best in good and challenging times. I robustly believe in motivation steering words; there is no substitute for sincere hard work.”– Dr. Vandana Arora Sethi
An organized leader focused on producing realistic goals, developing ways to efficiently achieve and often exceed those goals, and producing results, Vandana Arora Sethi leads Lloyd Group Of Institutions in the key position of Group Director.
A constant learner at heart, the experienced administrator in the higher education domain has navigated through various roles in the education management industry. Owning a wealth of skills in pharmaceutical research, strategy, change management, market research, ed-tech, and digital infusion, Sethi has also acquired strong media and professional communication.
The Delhi University and IIMB alumnus is passionate and determined at accomplishing the tasks with excellence and having a long-sighted vision. Vandana transitioned her mission aimed at giving back to society into reality today as she is successfully skilled resources for the corporate world.
As she moves closer to her next mission of becoming a global leader in the higher education sector by gaining a global outlook in all sectors of education and corporate requirements, The CEO Magazine converse with Vandana Arora Sethi to get an insight into her world:
The CEO: What is the change you are bringing with your brand today?
Vandana: As the Group Director of Lloyd College, my role is to constantly stay on top of the content delivery mechanism and maintain quality standards to ensure industry and academia gaps are minimized. I have undertaken initiatives like developing digital content and AI-enabled simulations platform which has helped in imparting world-class education to the students.
The CEO: In the journey, did you deal with the challenge of acceptance? If not, what were the other challenges you overcame?
Vandana: Acceptance was never a challenge to me. I have always been outspoken and made my word heard. The challenges I faced were never because of gender as it never came in the way of my performance or how the world or how my superiors see me. I kept on skilling myself and ensured every statement of mine was backed with knowledge. I studied the market well and took the competition in a healthy but aggressive manner.
The challenges, I faced, where to find people who were competent and on the path to excellence. It was challenging to find employees with the right attitude who would be aggressive to perform and excel in action and approach. But I overcame that by slow and persistent efforts and hired the right set of people as I groomed the existing people to gain the right attitude and having an employee-empowering policy.
The CEO: What are the mistakes you wish you could’ve avoided as an entrepreneur?
Vandana: I wish I had not looked for perfection from day one. This mistake caused delays since I wanted my people to be perfect in every task and face every challenge. Over some time, I learnt from my mistake and realized that we evolve as an organization and it is consistency in performance and not perfectionism that brings results.
The CEO: How did you differentiate yourself and your brand from the competition?
Vandana: By staying abreast with the latest technology and evolving very fast to keep momentum. I try to be aware of the market’s changing demands and match the product we create. For me, this product is my students who pass out and I have to make sure that I match up to the corporate expectations of hiring. I train my students with the best and from the best and avoid attaching commercial value when it comes to delivering and believe in the motto “Education with a purpose”.
The CEO: How did you build your team?
Vandana: I built my team by setting smart goals and well-defined roles. I believe in cultivating a self-driven culture, empowering teams to think freely and act independently, with responsibility and courage. I don’t believe in building a team of superstars instead I believe in building a superstar team
The CEO: What are the activities that allow you to keep your team motivated?
Vandana: There are primarily two types of cultures in an organization. While the competitive culture focuses on the competition between team members, the achievement culture focuses on competing with yourself, your last best. I try to balance both and endeavour at inculcating achieving culture.
The CEO: How do you handle diversity and doubt?
Vandana: Let me emphasize that adversity is external and doubt is internal. Hence, I try to convert adversity into an opportunity by collaborating and creative thinking. As far as doubt is concerned, I believe, it is healthy but over-doubt is not good. I’d rather be wrong every once in a while than live in a state of over-doubt full time.
The CEO: How do you plan to grow the business in the upcoming years?
Vandana: I plan to leverage digital technologies to diversify both geographically and on the content side. I will use AI-enabled tech to understand student specific needs and serve them with customized content. This will help them improve their knowledge and employability.
The CEO: What is your definition of success?
Vandana: Success is a moving target. I don’t think we ever achieve “it”, at least in our minds. But I do know this if you think you have achieved your greatest success you have decided to stop pushing yourself. So there is always something for me to look forward to.
The CEO: If you were to answer a young female executive’s question of ‘How can I be a good leader?’, what would you advise?
Vandana: Each definition of leadership is correct, interestingly, each of them showcases different styles of leadership. For me, I would advise the young girl to follow the 5 C’s which have been my mantra for being a good leader i.e. develop your competency and continue to work on it, be courageous and confident, be consistent, have effective communication skills and have your compass for direction.
The CEO: Do you believe in giving back to society, if yes, how?
Vandana: Being a robust believer in “Education with a purpose”, I endeavour to inculcate values in my students to ensure they transition into not only a good resource for the industry but also a responsible and empathetic human being. We organized various CSR activities for uplifting children from underprivileged categories.
The CEO: A message you would like to dedicate to your fellows.
Vandana: My fellows, if you wish to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down. In life, remove those things which pull you down and make your life harder. Hire personal support and depend on them for trivial matters, find sisterhood in friends and share your problems, try and make life simpler wherever possible so that we can achieve what is made for. Let’s live for the purpose we were originally made for. Let’s live our truest and grandest version of ourselves.