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Leena Nair will join Chanel as its global chief executive.Top Unilever executive Leena Nair will be joining French luxury group Chanel as its new global chief executive. With this appointment, Leena Nair has joined the ranks of Indian-origin executives like Sundar Pichai, Parag Agrawal and Satya Nadella who are the helm of top global companies. Ms Nair, 52, was the first female and youngest-ever Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever. In a statement, Unilever CEO Alan Jope thanked her for her “outstanding contribution over the last three decades” at the company and praised her as a “pioneer throughout her career.”On Instagram, Ms Nair has shared several lessons she learned over the three decades she spent at Unilever and, before that, at one of the top B-schools India – the Xavier School of Management Jamshedpur. These posts, hashtagged #LeenaLifeLessons, contain invaluable career advice from a woman who carved a niche for herself in the world of business. Here is a look at five life lessons from Chanel’s new global CEO Leena Nair:Invest your time and energy wisely”Don’t waste your energy on something you’re not passionate about or things that aren’t moving you towards your goals,” says Ms Nair. In an Instagram post, she shared the example of a friend who kept starting creative side projects. “Then, one day, she realised these were all just fun distractions. They weren’t taking her closer to her dream of becoming a screenwriter. The more side projects she did, the less time she had to write scripts,” she wrote. With this in mind, Ms Nair’s friend began focusing her energy into scriptwriting – and today she has an agent and two scripts in development.Find your purpose in lifeBack in October, Ms Nair wrote about one of the best pieces of advice she ever received – a college professor told her she would make a “lousy engineer” but had a flair for management. “So I went away and did my MBA in HR and then I joined Hindustan Unilever’s management training,” Leena Nair said. “A sense of purpose means I will always have a guiding star…And when you know and understand what really makes you tick, what really gets you up in the morning, what feels authentic to you, you can achieve great things,” she explained.Every experience is criticalLeena Nair credits her impressive career trajectory to the fact that she never said no to “grassroot roles.” She was the first woman to work at a factory in Hindustan Unilever and the first woman to work a night shift there. In the factory, she learned many things from production processes to shop-floor ecosystem, but the most important thing she learned was resilience. “I was willing to go to places where few of my colleagues would go,” she said. Her advice to others? “If you have an opportunity to learn how growth happens in your business, this may be the break that could make the difference in advancing your career,” she says. Every voice mattersMs Nair believes that everyone’s voice matters, no matter what level they are at. In an Instagram video, she explained that inclusion is at the heart of everything she does. “In fact, I would not be standing where I am today if I had not questioned and challenged hierarchy and social norms!” she wrote, encouraging other managers and bosses to listen to their team members and treat everyone as equals. It’s clear that she practices what she preaches. Working towards her goal of being inclusive, Ms Nair includes a footnote at the end of most of her posts. This footnote, which begins with the words “ID”, describes the content of her photographs in a bid to make them more accessible to visually-challenged Instagram users. Feedback is a giftAn important piece of advice from Ms Nair is to accept feedback and learn from it. In an Instagram post from August, the Chanel CEO said she used to dread reading critical things about herself until she realised that feedback is a gift. “We need to embrace feedback and learn from it as much as we can,” she said. “If people give feedback, it’s because they care and because you’ve made an impact on them, one way or another. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t bother to tell you anything at all,” Ms Nair added. “So this is my advice to you; treat comments and feedback as a gift. Embrace it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t see it as criticism,” she concluded. According to news agency PTI, Ms Nair, an alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, had joined HUL, Unilever’s Indian subsidiary in 1992 and worked for 30 years. In her new role as global chief executive of Chanel, she will be based out of London.Click for more trending news



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