Bala Sathyanarayanan’s story is one of hope, passion, and global dominion.

In a journey spanning from the city of Chennai in India to the global corporate pinnacle in the US, Bala has emerged as a recognized Thought Leader, sought after Speaker, and a respected Fortune 500 C-Suite Executive. Regularly voted among the Top Global Business Leaders, his ability to innovate, communicate, and mentor individuals and teams, has made him a guiding light for the next generation.

Passionate about pursuing knowledge and progress, he says, “Few things ignite my enthusiasm as much as the opportunity to cultivate the potential of individuals and instigate a profound influence within the organizations we are a part of. Driven by an unwavering aspiration to leave behind a legacy of triumph and eminence, my ultimate objective hinges upon fostering a culture that champions growth and development.

Whether utilizing coaching, mentoring, or serving as an exemplar, witnessing the prosperity and personal fulfillment of those with whom I collaborate is the ultimate reward.”

With a passion for excellence, Bala did his BE in Electronics & Communications from SVCE, MBA from University of Madras, Master of Human Resources Management (MHRM) from Rutgers University, and Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School.

Recalling how his parents shaped his achievements, he tells us, “My parents have been my greatest inspiration. They would bring up interesting topics during our meals and teach us to think critically and set achievable goals. They instilled in us the values of hard work and dedication, and their coaching style always made me feel like I could conquer anything.”

Bala worked in United Technologies – Otis Elevator company, Coca-Cola, Polaris Software, and Avaya Inc., before rising to Executive Leadership positions at Hewlett-Packard and Xerox. Presently, he’s the Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at Greif, Inc., a 145-year-old Fortune 500 size global leader in industrial packaging products and services, operating over 220 locations in 40 countries across 4 continents. He is focused on delivering a world-class, diverse, and engaged workforce that can execute on Greif’s vision to be the best performing customer service company in the world.

He is also an NACD Certified Corporate Director with a passion to advancing highest standards of boardroom excellence. He serves as Chairman and Board Director for Balmer Lawrie – Van Leer Ltd., a public industrial manufacturer in India; Board Director of Columbus Council for World Affairs, an education-driven Columbus, USA based organization; and on the Board of Center for Executive Compensation at Washington D.C.

Even with his growing influence, Bala has faced his fair share of challenges, which have honed him into a well-rounded leader. Sharing how he achieves the elusive balance between professional and personal lives, he lists:

  • Time Management: Setting boundaries between work and personal life.
  • Delegation: To avoid taking on too much and instead focus on high-priority tasks.
  • Support System: Relying on family, friends, and professional networks for support during challenging times. Without the support of my family, nothing would have been possible.
  • Self-care and Wellness: Engaging in activities that promote physical and mental health, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Staying updated on industry trends and best practices while also being open to adapting to changes.

His unwavering commitment, attention-to-detail, and sheer business acumen, have seen Bala bag many global honours:

  • Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business by AABDC.
  • Executive of the Year by Columbus CEO Magazine.
  • Top Inspiring Business Leaders of the Year 2020 by Industry Wired Magazine.
  • 10 Most Influential Business Leaders to Follow in 2021 by CIO Insights Magazine.
  • High Flyers 50 Global Indians in 2022.

“Despite these accomplishments, I consider my greatest achievement to be the ability to inspire my peers and the next generation. I achieve this by coaching and mentoring individuals from diverse backgrounds to become CXOs in major global firms, and by sponsoring future talent, providing them with hope and opportunities for growth.”

In his journey within the management domain, a few strategies have helped Bala stand out with aplomb:

  • Expertise in key areas.
  • Adapting to change.
  • A global mindset. Communication is at the heart of what we do; I focus on communicating effectively to bridge gaps between different stakeholders.
  • Leadership is about guiding teams through change and ensuring strategies align with organization goals.
  • In the age of digital transformation, embracing innovation is not an option but a necessity. I strive to stay ahead by implementing cutting-edge HR technologies and methodologies.
  • Finally, networking and building relationships have been the pillars of my career growth.

“Remember, in business, we are not just managing resources; we are shaping the very core of the organization through its people.”

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