Indian American Ann Mukherjee CEO and chairman of Pernod Ricard, has been a model for success and women’s empowerment. At 56 years old, she is currently managing the world’s second-largest seller of wine and spirits and is also renowned for top-shelf liquor brands such as Absolut, Jameson, and Malibu. In an industry dominated by men, she is the first woman of color to hold the highest position for alcoholic beverage brands.
As soon as she assumed the position of CEO in 2019, she realized that there was a stereotype rooted in an exaggerated machismo of being a self-confident leader. After giving it some thought, she concluded that those beliefs were not only completely false but also destructive, so she chose to disregard them.
Mukherjee thought the most challenging part of being a CEO was knowing when to ask for help or admit you couldn’t do it alone. She believes it is essential for a leader to accurately understand herself and her people and then learn from them. Although confident in her abilities, she also recognizes the importance of showing humility and honesty.
She also reveals how her failure became the key to her success. She has become more resilient because she has learned to change course when necessary and take advantage of setbacks to advance. And while also acknowledging her drawbacks, she stresses the value of accepting failures.
Her one piece of advice for anyone just starting in their career is, “Do not worry about fitting in, and do not be afraid to speak up, because when you have confidence in yourself, anything is possible,” she shared with CNBC’s Make It.
Mukherjee is well aware that to be an effective leader, she must first be able to love herself without condition, taking into account all of her attributes, including her strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And with that comes the realization that knowing one’s shortcomings can better help one deal with and overcome those. This is the only way for her to achieve genuine personal and professional development.