Name: Prerna Singh
Prerna Singh, a founder and business leader, an expert in Product Marketing, Saas and design strategy, and user experience design. As the Founder of Gretxp, she has been instrumental in developing a product marketing platform for creators aiming to craft immersive websites and social media content. Her tenure as CEO at GruBox, showcases her leadership in transforming workplace cafeterias by offering a range of on-demand healthy F&B services. Prerna's skills encompass Product Design, Online Product Launches, SaaS, Digital Marketing, P&L Management, and Entrepreneurship and her career includes impactful roles at Honeywell and DuPont, highlighting her proficiency in product marketing leadership.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Prerna's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Being an entrepreneur is a complex and multifaceted task. It requires a balance between demanding tough decisions while considering their impact on others. As a leader, one must often adopt an aggressive stance to drive progress and achieve goals, yet this approach can be demanding or even harsh on those involved. This balancing act is a delicate one, necessitating a deep understanding of the situation, the team, and the broader business landscape.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My tenure at DuPont was a turning point in my life. Leading the India Acceleration projects, I learned a great deal from some of the best leaders and marketing strategists. Dupont had great history and knowledge accumulation of executing transformative ideas across the globe. It was here that I got transformed as a leader, ready to disrupt and set new trends.
Grubox wasn't just a business idea; it was a revolution born out of a frustration – the monotony of office cafeterias. When we started in 2017, people couldn’t believe in the idea of app only vending machines. But this completely transformed the user experience and has proven to be a milestone in the industry. Now, everyone is doing it.
Gretxp, it's not just a new venture but a new chapter in my quest of transforming the user experience. Digital shoppers need more than just images and videos, ecommerce has been this way for decades now. But users need an interactive feel of the brand persona. The music, videos, brand colours, store design - immersive experience can encapsulate these elements and completely transform the online brand experience. Now, the question is how easy we can make it so that more and more brands can offer this to their customers.
Leadership for me is a quest to transform an industry and set new trends for years to come.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Structuring my workday: My days aren't exactly routine, but there's a flow that works for me. I rise early, around 6 am, and start with some tea then light exercise and meditation to clear my head. Then, catching up on emails and news, and staying current with industry trends and potential partnerships.
When I get to office its 2-3 stand up meetings with my team members, to align and update on our priorities, and planning for upcoming launches, new features or presentations. The afternoon shifts to execution mode, with meetings, calls, and pushing projects forward. I try to block out focused time for deep work, where I can get into a flow state without distractions.
Evenings are reserved for new connections and creativity. I often have networking events or talks to attend, which keeps me inspired and plugged into the community. Late evening is family time, especially with my son and I wind down with some book or netflix before sleep, aiming for around 11 pm.
The key is staying flexible, prioritising effectively, and making sure I carve out time for both focus and connection.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leaders must possess agility and a readiness to embrace change, adapting swiftly as circumstances transform, particularly in response to rapid technological advancements and market dynamics. This period should be leveraged to strengthen teams and prepare for future growth.
Also, a culture of innovation and encouraging creative, unconventional thinking within teams is vital. Such an environment not only drives progress and keeps the organisation at the forefront of industry developments but also helps in navigating through challenging times with novel solutions and strategies. This approach ensures that leaders and their teams remain resilient, resourceful, and well-positioned to capitalise on emerging opportunities in an ever-changing business landscape.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Certainly! "Rework" is a business book by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of Basecamp (formerly 37signals). The book offers a fresh perspective on entrepreneurship and business, challenging conventional wisdom with a more straightforward, no-nonsense approach to building and running a company. Many of the ideas in the book have inspired me to change the work culture at my startup. I still keep in touch and subscribe to Jason’s podcasts and newsletters. Entrepreneurs can carve a niche and perform well in their space while maintaining a balanced sustainable work culture. Also, bootstrapping the idea helps focus more on users and developing stuff that they are willing to pay for.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
The concept of experimentation and adaptation is crucial for thriving in an ever-evolving landscape, particularly in the face of rapid technological advancements and significant societal shifts, such as those brought about by the recent pandemic. This period has not only altered technology and lifestyles but also reshaped priorities and values. The full impact of these changes is still unravelling, underscoring the necessity for continuous learning, unlearning, and innovative thinking.
In this context, it becomes imperative to foster a mindset that embraces change rather than resists it. This means actively seeking new knowledge, questioning established norms, and being willing to discard outdated practices. Cultivating an environment that encourages creative problem-solving and values diverse perspectives is also key.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Recently, I had to address the challenge of disjointed priorities and communication gaps within my team. By initiating open discussions and aligning team members on challenges, I guided the team towards exploring various options for improving collaboration. Open approach cultivates a cohesive and supportive team environment.