THE FUTURE OF RETAIL & LEADERSHIP – SPJ ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT WITH HARMEET SINGH CHOPRA

SP JAIN ALUMNI - HARMEET SINGH CHOPRA

“Retail will be completely different 5 years from now. The shift to a digital, mobile and connected world has been a paradigm shift for retail as well as supply chains. The maturity and applicability of certain technologies offer a unique opportunity to rethink and shape retail of the future. There cannot be a better time to be in retail and digital space.”


HARMEET SINGH CHOPRA
Director – Product Management, Global Logistics
Nike, Portland

Q. Could you give us a brief introduction of your personal, educational, and professional backgrounds?

Harmeet: I was born and brought up in Delhi, India. I have extensively travelled the world and choose to call Portland, Oregon my home now for more than 12 years. 

With over 11 years at Nike, I have played several leadership roles across Global Logistics, Connected Products (think IoT), Enterprise Architecture & Platforms (EAP), DSM Technology, Nike Direct and Data & Analytics. I am passionate about supply chain, retail and digital transformation by building industry-leading products and teams.

Before Nike, I was a Senior Business Analytics Consulting Manager for Retail, CPG and Technology domains in North America & Europe and worked with several brands, including Neiman Marcus, Gap, Levi’s, Best Buy, Home Depot, MGM Resorts, Apple, Microsoft, & Carnival.  Passionate about creating high-performing and diverse teams, I also lead Nike’s South Asia association, as part of Ascend network.

I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, travelling and exploring new cuisines with my lovely wife, Harsimran, our 2.5-year-old son, Sidak and our 7-month-old daughter, Rubani. I love Bollywood dancing (Bhangra) and am always ready to share a step or two. Motivated by my colleagues & friends, I have also become an avid runner & have run numerous full & half marathons, including world majors, Chicago & New York. 

Q. You graduated from SP Jain back in 2007. Are there any fond memories from your time at school that you still remember?

Harmeet: Absolutely! I vividly remember our spectacular campuses, amazing professors, daring batch mates, my crazy roommates, our capstone project and all the fun we had throughout the MBA. 

Q. You are currently working at Nike – one of the biggest brands in the world today. According to you, what does it take for a brand to be so successful?

Harmeet: Being the best brand in the world can be simple, yet complicated. I feel the following ethos are at the heart of transcending generations –

  • Being fiercely passionate about your purpose 
  • Striving to be the best for your consumers
  • Ability to evolve with time and stay relevant
  • Doing the right thing. Using your voice and platform to stand up for what you feel is right

Q. Why do you think disruption in retail is required and how did you become passionate about it?

Harmeet: Retail will be completely different 5 years from now. The shift to a digital, mobile and connected world has been a paradigm shift for retail as well as supply chains. I have been a technologist, with a sharp focus on data, insights and analytics throughout my career. The maturity and applicability of certain technologies offer a unique opportunity to rethink and shape retail of the future. There cannot be a better time to be in retail and digital space. 

Q. You’ve previously spoken about following the ideologies of servant leadership in your life. Could you tell us what it is all about? When did you assimilate it as a virtue?

Harmeet: A leader is only as strong as his team. Servant leadership is a philosophy where leaders focus on holistic growth and service of their teams – their profession, knowledge, autonomy and even their health and physical development. In the knowledge economy, you lead teammates with specialised skill sets and knowledge and servant leadership helps you lead with empathy, build genuine bonds, be a conduit to their growth and help reach your team’s peak performance.

In my career journey, I’ve got the opportunity to learn from some amazing leaders and witness different leadership styles. I strongly feel a leader’s role in the knowledge economy is to build a safe and inclusive environment where everyone can bring their full selves to work and grow as a team!

Q. What are your values and strategies for developing belongingness in a team?

Harmeet:

  • Being a good listener and leading with empathy
  • Valuing everyone’s unique perspective 
  • Truly knowing your teammates at an individual level and supporting them
  • Building a culture where everyone is celebrated and holds each other accountable

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