Born in a small village outside of Delhi, Helen Vaid grew up in a tight knitted family where her parents helped her believe that anything is possible as long as she worked hard. Her father was a professor at a local university, who together with her mother, nurtured her to stand for the quality she put out there, without entitlement for anything. Her upbringing helped Vaid to develop a competitive mindset and to not leave any stones unturned.
Today, Helen Vaid is Global Chief Customer Officer for Pizza Hut, which serves and delivers more pizzas than any other pizza restaurant company in the world. Vaid oversees the transformation of Pizza Hut's in-restaurant and digital customer experience, and her mission is to provide the best customer experience and to make it easier to get a better pizza for her customers. In addition, Vaid also leads the international e-commerce, technology and operations business for Pizza Hut.
The digital ventures team she is building out is based in London, where Vaid splits time with Dallas, where the global leadership of their parent company, Yum! Brands, Inc (NYSE: YUM) is based out of. Vaid shared with me that in her newly created role, her responsibilities are to build out the digital assets for Pizza Hut, including point of sales software, kitchen management, website, and other operational tools. Operating more than 16,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, Pizza Hut is today the biggest pizza restaurant in the world and was founded 58 years old in Wichita, Kanas, when two brothers borrowed $600 from their mother to start a pizzeria.
Before Pizza Hut, Vaid was Vice-President of Digital Store Operations and Experience at Walmart. Based out of San Francisco, Vaid was responsible for the growth, profitability, traffic growth and conversion of the second largest online retailer site in the United States. Before joining Walmart, Vaid was with Hewlett-Packard (HP), where she was responsible for the global business for Snapfish. In his time at Snapfish, Vaid played an entrepreneurial role in which she was responsible for scaling the business and building out Snapfish's global presence, growing the brand from 1 to 13 countries during her nine-year tenure. Prior to joining Snapfish, Vaid was Sales and Marketing Director at Servecast Ltd., the wholly owned streaming media provider, where she served clients including NADAQ, Logica CMG, and EMAP.
In the course of her career, Vaid had the opportunity to work in Russia, United States and the United Kingdom. Despite being an immigrant, Vaid never felt like an outsider, and believe that it is important to earn the right to belong anywhere you go. She shared that things simply evolved in her career, as she tried her best in every opportunity she was provided with. Vaid believes that entrepreneurship in a mindset, in which one got to allow the capacity in your organization to break rules and think differently. She also shared that creating a startup environment is about how you operate and how you take risk.
Author's note: This is a series of articles featuring 1st generation and 2nd generation entrepreneurs in America to showcase their immigrant story and how they worked hard to start their businesses. The author himself is an immigrant entrepreneur who moved to the United States from Singapore.
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