Entrepreneur cum CEO
At 50 years of age, Beena Vyas loves being a grandmother. But behind all that affection lies a sharp mind befitting a CEO. After all simple and homely Beena is also the CEO of the Indian Ion Exchange and Chemicals Ltd. (IIECL)
Born in 1971, Beena completed her B.Com, M.Com and ICWA to begin her journey as an accountant. When she was 17, she also used to run tuition classes for poor students after her school hours. Following her passion for finance, she joined IIECL as Finance Director in 1993.
A family run firm, IIECL are leading manufacturers, exporters and service providers of a wide variety of water treatment plants and services such as mineral water turnkey projects, water treatment plants, industrial water purification machines, and mineral water plants.
Today, their high quality and global reach has enabled them to carve a niche in this competitive market. Their products are widely appreciated for high-quality effluence, minimal maintenance, maximum efficiency, low operating costs, easy installation and operation. 40-60% of their products are exported to countries such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia. And their domestic clients include Vodafone, Indian Oil, Tata Nano, Kingfisher and Neer Ganga, among other big companies.
Beena’s career grew parallel to her family, and she had to face her share of challenges to reach the top slot. “My biggest challenge was achieving a work life balance in the early stages of my career to be able to go on. Another was to make my decisions count in a male dominant corporate setup, but I persevered,” recalls Beena.
Fortunately, she had her family to egg her on, especially her husband who inspired and supported her in equal measure. Her other role models include inspirational personalities like Indra Nooyi Of PepsiCo and Sudha Murthy for her humility.
The changes across the corporate sector in the past couple of decades have been vast, and Beena feels glad that women today are given equal opportunities as men. She says they can further improve their position with “honesty, empathy, domain knowledge, and being a good team player.”
She herself feels that knowledge of domain has been her biggest strength at work. “I’m also open to new developments and learning. However my biggest weakness is overindulgence in work. I often take work home and get stressed for issues that don’t really matter in the larger scheme of things. Thankfully, time is a good healer,” says Beena.
A mother to two children and grandmother to one, Beena says being in a joint family has been instrumental in being able to care for family. “Due to excessive work in the early growth years, I spent a lot of time in the office and missed out on some family time, but after establishing ourselves, the work life balance has become easier,” adds Beena.
Nowadays, she spends most of her free time with her family, especially her two-year-old granddaughter. However she does take out time for her reading and writing. “I write everyday. I also love to do social work and fulfill my social responsibilities,” she says.
What are her other passions, we ask her. “Not to look at the clock, for one. I love to work more rather than leave office, and that is the benchmark of my passion. This attitude has helped me to achieve all my goals in life,” she answers.
It indeed has, for Beena has received innumerable awards and honours all throughout her journey. Among others, their company won the Naroda Industrial Association Best Company Award in 2001, and the National Excellence Award in 2016. In 2017, Beena herself was honoured with the Gujarat Chambers Best Women Entrepreneur Garima Award.
A true women’s leader for all those who know her, we ask Beena her mantra for success. “Work hard and stay true to yourself. And don’t forget to follow your passion,” she says.