2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Akila Narayanan (Q&A)

Rising Star
Kristin Laird
Akila Narayanan
Akila Narayanan

Akila Narayanan

Senior Director, Retail and Merchandising Data Products & Services
Loblaw Technology & Analytics/Loblaw

How did you get your start in the grocery business?

A statement that truly resonates with me is, when opportunity knocks, always be willing to take a chance, because you never know what that could turn out to be! I immigrated to Canada with my family in 2001 and started my job search. A temporary admin assistant role came my way at Loblaw. I grabbed the opportunity, marking my first steps in this wonderful grocery business and career journey.  

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

I strongly believe that challenges are opportunities in disguise. Over my many years at Loblaw, I’ve consciously tried to tell myself that my career goals are well within my grasp if I set my mind to accomplishing it. Making that paradigm shift, and taking a more active role in self-development and self-advocating has been one of my biggest growth opportunities stemming from what previously was a personal challenge. 

What keeps you motivated at work?

I’m passionate about people and relationships. I love finding efficiencies, solving problems, and making sure the team I am working with feels valued and empowered. It gives me great fulfilment when I can bring a group of individuals together to solve a problem or achieve a united goal. Ensuring the people around me are happy to come to work and be a part of my team, is an integral part of why I come to work every day.

What is your best quality?

I have coached myself over the years to ensure I am empathetic, while working to achieve business objectives. I am a strong proponent of positive intent, as it is a powerful tool in helping anyone. This allows me to try and understand where someone is coming from, and ensure I can support and enable them to do their best work, while feeling unencumbered in doing so.  

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love all forms of art. Music and dance have been a substantial part of my life since my childhood. I’m also a craft hobbyist, and I look to constantly explore and experiment with what I can create. Most of all, I love spending time with my family (my husband and two sons) and friends. 

What is a fun fact about you?

I have only ever worked for Loblaw since landing in Canada and have held around 12 different roles in the company since joining in 2001! I am truly grateful that Loblaw has given me the opportunity to learn skills that I never thought I would get to learn, and to also accomplish career milestones I am so proud of.

Click here for the full list of 2023 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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