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Preethi, Commercial management (Consumer), India

Photo of Preethi, FLP

Commercial management (Consumer)


My name is Preethi and I joined GSK in 2014, on the Future Leaders programme in India. Before this, I did an MBA in Marketing and an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology. It's nice working at GSK because they're rooted so much in science and it feels like there's a clear association with what I studied at undergraduate level.

Learning to be a Future Leader

I'm currently on a global rotation working with the Denture Care category team in the UK for a year. I work in oral healthcare as a global marketing associate on Denture Care. We're responsible for the long-term strategy and innovation pipeline for the brand, but also for creating new brand activations across the 4 category levers. Then there are area teams, such as Northern Europe, that work with us to adapt those activations for their regions.

I get to meet a varied group of stakeholders across different business areas. I'm working with R&D and regulatory, multiple agencies and the market teams. On an average day, I touch base with at least four or five different functions. There’s a lot to learn from them and at the same time there's also a lot of openness to the ideas that I bring and the way that I want to run things, so it's very encouraging.

At the moment, I'm handling two product launches, across two different sub-brands, one of which is a pioneering brand launch for the category. It's really great to get this exposure, because it shows me a lot of different aspects of what a marketer does, and also helps me work out where my strengths are and what I can then gravitate towards going forward.

My first role was as a rural sales manager. I led a team of about 40 sales representatives, and was responsible for the rural business of GSK’s portfolio in the biggest state in India. One of the key activations I was involved in was on a brand called Boost[1], which is in our nutrition category. It's a health drink that’s targeted towards kids as it helps to build stamina and energy. The goal was to grow our business by going to local villages and setting up a infrastructure that allows us to get the product out there and talk to the consumer directly. We realised early on that there was a huge need for education in the category, so we partnered with local schools on a programme called Boost Race. We got the kids together for a one-and-a-half-mile race; it was the easiest way to convey the message of the need for stamina. Every school that we went to, sampled the product which helps build a brand resonance, but the more important thing is that we really drove home the message of the brand and how that ties into children’s lives. Through this programme we were able to show how something as simple as having a health drink in your diet can help you to do more and feel better.

What's been very exciting here is the level of trust and responsibility that the business has placed in me.

Why here?

Future Leaders are valued at GSK, and as an FLP, you feel that when you interact with people across the business. People are very open to giving you time, having discussions with you and providing their input and guidance on development.

Although this is new to me, there's still a lot of responsibility placed on me to lead projects. I'm given the space and the trust to really explore and learn along the way. I also think this is an organisation that doesn't just talk about values; it actually embodies them. When we say that we have respect for people, you actually see that every day when you come to work. You're given respect for what you bring to the table irrespective of your background or your level of experience, and that's true everywhere I've been in the organisation.

For me, that’s a great enabler, to be able to work in an environment where people are united by the same belief system and the same values.

Looking ahead…

I’m on my last assignment within the FLP programme. After this I offboard into a permanent role. Knowing that I want to continue within the marketing function and am keen to learn as much as possible and gain experience, the team has been very supportive in aligning my projects in that direction and giving me a wide breadth of experience within the Category Marketing function.

[1] On 1 April 2020, we completed a transaction with Unilever plc to divest Horlicks and other Consumer Healthcare nutrition brands in India and certain other markets.