Embrace what makes you different
A priority for Mukherjee as an industry leader is uncovering the unique strengths in all her employees and mentees.
“Most people don't even know their own gift,” she said. “So for me, my life's purpose became about working with anyone I met to understand their gift and to give it back to them.”
Mukherjee is no stranger to micro-aggressions and discrimination being a woman of color in the workplace but she got through them by embracing her differences.
“I’ve faced ignorance since I was young,” she said. “I decided very early, I'm going to own who I am. When I first worked at Kraft, every Monday morning the brand team would sit down, go around the table and talk about what they did that weekend. You got some, ‘we went golfing at the club.’ They got to me and that's where my choice was. Either I could try to assimilate and make up something or I can be me. So, I said, ‘well, I had some friends over and I made goat.’ [They responded] ‘what did you just say?’ I said, ‘yeah, I make a mean goat curry.’”
She continued, “What was really interesting was people got curious, people wanted to know. Rather than hiding it, I dial it up. I have no issues talking about my experiences that may be different from someone else's just to help people have perspective.”
She said the best thing you can do for yourself is love every part of who you are and that will help you grow as a professional.
“I have never seen employees as employees,” Mukherjee said. “I see them as human beings. The hardest thing about human beings is to unconditionally love and accept yourself. And I mean all the stuff; the crappy stuff, the ugly stuff.
And the reason this is so important is look, your strengths are your strengths. That's what differentiates you.”
But, she advised, focus on the good. “Don’t work on the weaknesses. You are who you are. Get over it.”