Superwomen Series in the Fire Safety Mfg. Segment

Q. Please tell us about yourself including people who’ve influenced your career in some shape or form!

The concept of safety was first launched in India by my father Joseph Leslie Vaz. He was the founder of PPE Safety in India and started off as a trader. Gradually, he got involved with manufacturing PPE. He worked closely with his peers to bring about safety awareness within the country. He believed that hard working labourers should have the right to good quality equipment to work with. Thus, our contribution to safety started way back in the form of a legacy. My father taught us all, to always do the right thing, because of which the Leslico brand name has a great repute in the market till date!

I’d also attribute a portion of my success to my husband, Mr. Cyril Pereira, who’s proven to be a fabulous mentor to me. Having studied & worked abroad with multinationals, his knowledge, methods of working & professionalism have helped in my journey, inspiring me to do better each day! I’ve worked hard to reach where I’m at today, and thoroughly enjoy what I do even during this phase of my life! Even now, I enjoy taking on challenges that come my way. Our main aim is to elevate the standards of safety in India & continue to contribute to safety & it’s awareness more than we already are! That’s about safety.

On a personal level, (I’ve been told) I’m a strong-headed, disciplined and encouraging individual with a deep-rooted belief system that helps me strike a balance on all ends. I like to stay physically & mentally fit and active and am passionate about what I do.

Q. What have been “Joseph Leslie” & Unicare’s major achievements till date? What has been your Success mantra?

JLC & Unicare together have participated in various events, exhibitions etc nationally and internationally. As industry stalwarts, we’ve contributed majorly to the cause of Safety in India through a number of tie ups and associations such as SAMA, BIS, NSC, IITA. We’ve also managed to aid standardisation of product codes in liaison with SAMA teams and government bodies! We are on the BIS Advisory Committee formulating certain standards.

Largely speaking, over the years we’ve built a certain goodwill and repute within the industry and are a brand on our own, a class apart! The branding we’ve established for ourselves creates a conducive environment for buyers to confidently purchase our products without any reservations about the quality, even though our products come at a price. We only manufacture high quality products.

Success hasn’t come easy and is a direct output of sheer dedication and toil, day in & day out, every day, every year, by each and every employee in the JLC & Unicare family!

Q. What are your views and opinions on the gender gap in leadership positions within/outside the industry? Does the glass ceiling really exist?

I do believe that the glass ceiling exists in some pockets of the industry and/or corporate world! In the initial phases of my career, people found it difficult to adjust to me as a woman leader. As time went by, though, people understood the knowledge and capabilities that I possessed which brought respect to my role & to me as an individual! I look up to my peers, certain other women leaders within my industry and do admire how courageous and dedicated they were during their early days. They would travel across India for work and I only wish I’d done similar kind of travel too, back then! With such sacrifices made by working mothers, wives, daughters as nurturers by nature, it’s quite unfortunate that the glass ceiling is still a reality!

Q. Could you brief us about the overall business activities of your company (tie-ups, associations, reach, network)?

Our prime affiliations & other such information you’re looking for is listed on our websites:

http://www.josephleslie.com/ http://unicaresafety.com/

Feel free to take a look, all the details are available there!

Q. Please tell us about your pioneering products that you introduced in the market recently or new Products in pipeline.

We as an organization have always been the front runner in providing state of art and innovative products for increasing the safety compliance of the organizations across India. In addition to being pioneers for EWSS and formulating this standard for BIS in 1982, we’re also, the first company to have BIS Licence for EWSS.  As part of our endeavour we have recently entered the safety footwear market, where in we have tied up with Cortina- Safety Jogger for safety shoes. In India the local manufacturers are majorly providing the S1 category safety shoes to our industrial work force but, for complete user protection, the S3 category of products is used in the footwear which provides anti-penetration mid sole along with high comfort and water repellent leathers. The ergonomics and foot safety of the user is also completely taken care of. Thus Joseph Leslie Co. takes pride in providing the complete solution for safety footwear as per global benchmarks and make the Indian user, experience the same degree of comfort and safety, as being used globally. Apart from this, our latest additions boast of Faucet EW, Chiller Shower, Portable Decontamination Units, etc.

Q. Do you mind sharing some information about the R&D activities in your company, with us?

Research & Development has always been at the heart of what we do. Our research teams actively study and explore what goes into the manufacturing of supreme quality safety products such as ours!

Q. How do you see “India” as a potential market, what are the prospects?

As one of the fastest emerging economies today, India offers huge potential to investors (domestic & foreign), entrepreneurs, buyers etc., especially within the manufacturing & infrastructure industries. Lately, the demand for fire & safety equipment in India has risen considerably. Manufacturing & infrastructure industries offer huge potential. Indian entrepreneurs can definitely explore the market to its fullest. The huge potential of India lies in its very large customer base.

Pace of work related to safety awareness has picked up in recent years & the outcome is pretty evident in certain pockets of the country & industry. I know for a fact that The Government of India & its various ministries, in collaboration with multiple associations & agencies (e.g. SAMA, BIS, IITA, NSC etc.) are striving towards the formulation, amendment & execution of policies beneficial to the Industry. With the government now encouraging foreign investment and collaborations it has become easier for foreign companies to foray into the Indian markets.

Thus, India offers huge potential for businesses, and a great plus is that there are still more areas that are to be explored and that can be gained from. Especially as the average Indian keeps vying to reach higher, India is the country to look to for your future endeavours.

Q. What are your strategies to improve your company’s position in the Indian as well as global markets?

While increasing Safety Awareness is part of our marketing strategy  our focus is towards the well-being of the users of safety products. Our organization is committed to increase awareness of safety across the country and as part of strategy we would continue to invest in training, seminars and roadshows adhering to the stringent Indian and Global standards for all the products we sell under our brand umbrella. We have observed a direct correlation between knowledge sharing and improved safety compliance and have invested heavily in grass root level contact programs with users to understand their challenges and help them with appropriate solutions. We have also upgraded our supply chain management modules and are using technology for improving our customer experience across. We are sure all in, to make every effort needed, for contribution towards saving lives of millions of people engaged in different occupations across the country.

Q. Lastly, is there a message you’d like send across to aspiring women who have just initiated their professional journeys or are midway along the path and trying to carve their own niche in the industry?

I’m proud to be a woman in this particular industry as should other women be! I’ve always encouraged my staff to get the best out of them. I’ve also shared a decent rapport with them and some of them are around for 20 plus years and are at responsible positions within our companies. My efforts are continually directed at making them realise they are capable of doing much more than they think they can. Sometimes they can even do the job better than the men. Of course, healthy competition always helps. Just believe in yourself and you can achieve anything you want! Know your self-worth and go after what’s rightfully yours without underestimating or self-depreciating your set of skills and knowledge. Stay abreast of situations around you to give you that upper hand in conversations, you’re set!

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