The passion for human resource management, especially in empowering women, was the driving force for Sonica Aron, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, to set up her company, Marching Sheep in 2013, with a vision of delivering skilled and trained human resource interventions that truly move the needle.
As an HR specialist with an experience of 18 years, both in industry and consulting, she has designed one of the most evolved and D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) frameworks in India with exclusive programmes like – women@Work , Unleash and diversity@work!.
Sharing her journey to The Hans India – Womenia, she says, “I am an HR professional with nearly 20 years of experience. An XLRI alumnus, certified executive coach. After a tryst with Muotinational Companies like Pepsico, Vodafone, AkzoNobel and Philips where I was heading HR for their consumer lifestyle business, I started Marching Sheep in 2013.
At Marching Sheep, we offer HR consulting in areas of diversity and inclusion, employee experience, health and wellness, and people and process capability. I am passionate about what we do at Marching Sheep, women empowerment, the wider narrative of diversity and our impact on organisations and society.”
The mother of two, states that she started her career with a sound understanding of business where she went route-riding with Pepsico and was part of the team that launched Pepsi 200 ml at Rs 5. She was the first lady HR Manager stationed at a factory in upcountry UP and there the seeds for diversity practice were born.
Describing her success story, she says, “Our success hinges on the fact that all our clients come back and we have client relationships spanning over several years. Engagements don’t end with one project but given our wide portfolio, we engage with clients on multiple projects.
We take pride in being “trusted advisors” to our clients. I believe the market is big enough for all firms to exist, even collaborate. Having said that, I feel each of us is one’s own competitor because if we do not adapt to the evolving needs of the market, we shall perish.
For us, every new assignment is an inspiration and a chance to innovate. No single solution works across clients with different needs and the challenge to meet the client’s unique needs challenges and inspires us to think out of the box.”
Seen as a thought leader, her opinions on motherhood penalty, unpaid work, generational diversity, inclusion of the LGBT community have been published by leading publications.
Having been a woman professional, Sonica has both experienced and observed gender-based bias closely. Every woman in the workspace experiences this at some time or the other. This prompted her to launch her diversity practice. Talking about her role model, she says, “It will be difficult to name one person.
There are so many people around us who are leading by example, from the first woman combat pilot, to the Supreme Court judgment on women officers, to people from the LGBTQ community who are making a name for themselves in diverse fields.
Some of these people are making news and then there are people in our daily lives, who are breaking gender norms every day. I recently visited a wedding where there were women photographers, a female pandit carrying out the ceremony, and “kanyadan” was done in the most unconventional manner. All of them, and many others are role models.
My message to this generation and upcoming entrepreneurs is continue to learn, take risks. It’s ok to fail, as long as you learn from your failure, pick yourself up and move on.”
“Organisations need to move ahead of the curve and drive inclusive teams and mindsets, gender sensitive processes and mentor and coach women”, she believes and advocates.