Riya Uppal

Bringing Precision to Every Decision/ Innovating Through Patience and Resilience

Riya Uppal

Vice President,

V.K. Trading Co.

Women’s presence in leadership roles across the manufacturing industry has grown significantly, marking a progressive shift in traditionally maledominated sectors such as automotive. This change reflects a broader acceptance of women’s roles alongside machinery and technology, reshaping the industry landscape. Among the notable leaders in this transformative era is Riya Uppal, Vice President at V. K. Trading Company. Leading an INR 100 million enterprise, she brings a collaborative, empathetic, and inclusive approach to managing challenges posed by Industry 5.0. Her adeptness in time management and her practice of the Art of Living principles enhance her ability to adopt a positive outlook and address challenges in a calm and controlled manner. As a firm advocate of empathy in the workplace, Riya effectively leverages her varied experiences from previous roles at CBRE and Walmart to enable teamwork and align her colleagues towards shared objectives. In her exclusive interview with TradeFlock, Riya shared insights into the significant obstacles she has faced, the strategies she employed to navigate these challenges, and her aspirations to cultivate future leadership.

How has your architectural background influenced your leadership and problem-solving in your current role?

I believe that architecture teaches you to be precise and accurate in whatever you do. It taught me patience and resilience, which proved invaluable when I switched to V. K. Trading Company. Transitioning into these traditionally male-dominated and labour-intensive sectors as a woman added another layer of complexity, as breaking stereotypes to gain acceptance was a significant hurdle. In both architecture and trading, success lies in conveying your vision convincingly and treating the customer as paramount. This blend of experiences has enhanced my leadership and problem-solving abilities, allowing me to navigate diverse challenges effectively with smart people management. “Transitioning from architecture to trading wasn’t just a career shift—it was a transformation into a business leader who thrives on precision and resilience.”

How have you applied your diverse skills as Vice President of V. K. Trading Company, and what adjustments did you face moving from CBRE?

Integrating my diverse skills as Vice President of V. K. Trading Company. involved drawing on experiences from my previous roles at CBRE and as a Customer Service Manager in Canada. Both positions honed my customer and team management skills. The transition to Canada introduced me to new work cultures and challenges, enhancing my leadership abilities and resilience under pressure. These experiences proved crucial in effectively leading V. K. Trading Company. “Leadership is about understanding the pulse of your team and customers alike, guiding both through challenges with empathy and adaptability.” Transitioning from CBRE to V. K. Trading Company. required significant adjustments. Moving from a structured corporate environment to a family-owned business meant stepping into a leadership role almost overnight. This change pushed me to quickly adapt, learn from my mistakes, and make decisive business decisions. Understanding our customers and supply chain was essential before implementing changes, as my role shifted from team member to key decision-maker and leader.

Can you share a career achievement or initiative you are particularly proud of?

One of my proudest achievements is breaking into the male-dominated auto component trading industry. I am grateful to my father for trusting me to advance our family business. Additionally, the teachings of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji and practices from the Art of Living have given me the spiritual and emotional strength to overcome any challenge that life brings in. They have taught me to view situations positively and have given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Practices like Sudarshan Kriya, yoga, and meditation have been instrumental in helping me achieve my goals and manage the industry’s challenges.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work, and how do they enhance your well-being and leadership?

I engage in yoga and meditation, which enhance my well-being and leadership skills by fostering personal growth. I also love travelling to explore new cultures and people, gaining insights into diverse perspectives and management styles. These hobbies sharpen my ability to manage people and situations effectively, boosting my confidence and performance.I engage in yoga and meditation, which enhance my well-being and leadership skills by fostering personal growth. I also love travelling to explore new cultures and people, gaining insights into diverse perspectives and management styles. These hobbies sharpen my ability to manage people and situations effectively, boosting my confidence and performance.

How do you view the importance of mentorship for the next generation of women leaders, and what actions have you taken to mentor others?

My father and mother, who mentored me at V. K. Trading Company, demonstrated the power of effective guidance. I believe that while every woman has the potential to excel in business, the right mentorship can significantly impact their success. Mentorship involves more than supervision; it provides a reliable sounding board for guidance and discussion. Although I’m still early in my leadership role, I encourage my managers and key personnel to make independent decisions and be accountable. I strive to replicate the freedom my father granted me, fostering an environment where my team can grow professionally. We regularly discuss daily challenges and learnings, equipping the team with experiences for making informed decisions in difficult situations.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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