Passion is the key to succeed in life – Lavita Dalgado

Lavita Dalgado - Premium Chicks

Women play a pivotal role in our everyday lives, business, society, education, healthcare, and beyond. On this International Women’s Day, Think Grain Think Feed connected with some of the women leaders who are contributing to the growth of the Indian Poultry Industry.

After completing her MBA from Mumbai, she started her career in the financial sector where she worked for 8 years. But in all these years she kept in touch with her father about the progress Poultry Industry and in 2013 she took the hard decision to join Premium Chick Feeds. Today, after 6 years working in the industry, she feels delighted about her decision to change the industry and shares more about the learning, challenges, and some tips for the young girls who have started to work in the industry or planning to join. Please read the below excerpts.
You are the third generation in the group and have seen your family running the business since your childhood. Would you please share about learning from the family?
Yes, my father Mr. Neil Dalgado started at a tender age and is the 2nd generation of our family in the industry. We had poultry farms in Panvel which were run by my Grandfather Mr. Victor Dalgado, and if I look back it’s been about 50 years of experience that my Father possesses, having seen him work at every level, right from door-to-door delivery of eggs to now looking after all our projects for the company.
I have learned a lot from him, and the other directors of Premium Chick Feeds, however, one common learning is that I have seen them put in a lot of hard work and being driven by passion, which I believe is the key to Succeed and excel in any sphere of life.
Balancing your professional and personal life can be challenging, what is your take on this?
Work-life balance is a concept that describes the ideal situation in which a working person can split his or her time and energy between work and other important aspects of her life. Achieving work-life balance is a daily challenge. It is tough to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, self-care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
Going by my experience, the nature of Work-Life Balance challenges change in different phases of life, like as a daughter, a newly-wed wife/spouse, a daughter in law, a young mother, or a friend.
Some of the work-life balancing techniques

  • Know your Boss/Manager’s schedule
  • Know when to make calls and when to do administrative work
  • Schedule family vacations to minimize work disruption
  • If you telecommute, ensure that your tech tools are state-of-the-art
  • Draw a clear line between your personal and work time
  • If you’re an overachiever, consider cutting back

When you are the Boss

  • If you’re a manager, and you tend to be an overachiever, encourage your staff to take breaks—even if you don’t. (You really should, though)
  • Make sure that you aren’t holding back the reigns when it comes to your employees’ work-life balance. Learning to let go will pay dividends in building a dedicated, motivated staff.

Bottom line

  • Achieving a comfortable work-life balance as a parent doesn’t just happen randomly any more than does a great career. It takes strategy and thought. It’s a give and a take, and it stems from a choice and a sacrifice. You can make work-life balance labour of love—after all, it is about love.

How do you envision the future of the Indian Poultry Industry?
Indian Poultry Industry has come a long way from backyard poultry to integrated farming. As the industry grows, with a current per capita chicken consumption at 3.3 kg in India to the world average of 17 kg, we as an Industry have a great opportunity and a huge gap to fill. However, there are certain India-specific features, like open sheds and small average farm size. But that doesn’t preclude us from adopting the most modern technology, which we have been doing. In fact, we are actually proud of providing widely distributed self-employment across the country.
I visualize the Indian Poultry to be known as one of the most, if not the most, efficient in the world. I can see continued advances and modernization in the Industry in the following key areas:

  • Production Farms: Increasingly efficient machines and equipment including automation.
  • Feed Manufacturing: Increasingly indigenous machinery deployed comparable with the best in the world. Improved Feed Formulation with better Conversion Efficiencies in farms.
  • Branding: Increasing recognition and preference of Chicken consumer and trader for quality reared broilers.
  • Birds Processing – I see a consumer behavior shift (though at a slow pace) from live bird chicken meat to processed chicken. And further moving to frozen, Ready-to-Cook to Ready-to-Eat. I see stiff competition in this space among different brands and survival of the best in quality and service to the customer.

And thus, to provide Microbial free antibiotic free healthy and safe chicken at the lowest cost to every consumer across the country.
What piece of advice would you give to girls who are looking to pursue their careers in the industry?
When I joined, I was one of the only women at various Conferences and Meets. But that is quickly changing. We now see Women at varied levels and pillars of the Poultry Sector be it through Veterinary Services – we see a number of Women Veterinary Doctors, Women in Management, Accounts, and HR. All this is becoming possible as the industry gets more and more organized and business more and more professionally managed.
There is a never-ending scope for this industry, being a part of the Food Industry, and hence it will always stand tall. Women can join Veterinary courses and contribute to the field of Poultry genetics, Poultry microbiology, Poultry nutrition and Food hygiene, and other poultry courses thus leading to the improvement of the quality of chicken, production efficiency and concurrently lowering costs.
At the grass-root level, a significant number of these farms are run by women. Also, backward farming is primarily done by women, as of date comprises of 20% of India’s poultry sector. We have women working at Breeder Farms, Hatcheries, and the Retail stores interacting with customers.
Organized Poultry business is becoming more and more complex and its Management and Monitoring systems getting refined with time, reducing the need for physical field monitoring by Senior Management for operations performance. This, in turn, has also afforded women’s growth in the sector. Premium Chick Feeds alone has about 20 Women Employed in various departments.
While managing the departments, I see there is no falling back or a gap in the performances of women in any of these departments of the company. Also, for an example of myself, the Industry has its harshness and crudeness though my entry to the company was smooth with the experiences I had from my Father, but I had to also find my space and way in it.
I personally believe that women are born with a gift of Multitasking, and hence we have an edge in managing our homes, our families, kids and our work, and if we do put our mind to achieve anything, there is definitely nothing that can stop us.

To read the views of other leading ladies click here