Into The Unknown with Nitin Govila · ShiftWorkPlace

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E75 Into The Unknown with Nitin Govila


Balance of the heart and mind: An International Indian talks about what today’s professionals need to succeed.

Bio for Nitin Govila

Nitin Govila, a global business executive, has an extensive background in building and growing regions and organizations across multiple industries, channels and cultures. Presently, as the Senior Vice-President for Serge-Ferrari, headquartered in France, Nitin manages 7 independently-operated territories across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Serving on the executive leadership team, Nitin is directly accountable for all business operations and M&A activities across the region.

Episode highlight

A North Indian raised in West India who went to France to study without knowing French, Nitin Govila can share a thing or two about absorbing cultures and springboarding from them to success. Listen in on how this meditative engineer is changing the world, one heart at a time.



  • “The more… you try to understand the logic of the language, the better you are able to understand the people.”
  • “Meditation helps to listen to the voice of your heart.”
  • “There’s nothing you can say is the perfect one or the worst one.”
  • “Different cultures have a different way of processing information.”
  • “Understand that nobody is perfect for any job.”
  • “Not only the mind, but the heart will play a very key role in any profession.”
  • “In the end, you can never say, this is right or this is bad.”


Childhood Incidents

Nitin was born in Pune and lived there till the age of 8. His family hails from North India and was close to another family, which came from South India, who had a son close in age to Nitin. The father of that family was a disciplinarian, but Nitin cherishes being treated equitably when the father would tutor both the boys and looks back fondly over his memories with his childhood friend. This has helped him establish a shared purpose, wellness, fairness and equity with his diverse colleagues.

Nitin’s family moved to Delhi when he was 8, and he moved further north for his undergraduate studies. Leaving home for the first time gave him a taste of being independent and becoming mature. His experience with that mix of fear and surprise enabled him to take an even bigger leap later in life when he took a huge loan to move to France without knowing French, unsure of being able to find employment after his course, at age 30, newly married with a 7-month daughter in tow!

Influential groups

Nitin describes Pune as a “very young city”, with many colleges and universities. Since his extended family lived in North India, the people he was surrounded with brought different cultures, food, values and languages which nurtured his young spirit. He is still inspired to keep that youthful energy alive when he leads at work, to help make work enjoyable and to fuel team spirit. He has also grown to be tolerant of and appreciative of the many differences of the people he comes across now.

In India, cricket is a religion, and Nitin was passionate about sports. However, since playing professional sports was not encouraged back then, Nitin never considered pursuing it as a career. He now supports his children when they show an interest in sports. He was introduced to meditation by one of his colleagues in India, and found peace, freedom and community in this non-transactional, selfless practice, helping him through major decisions in his life. He is now also a meditation trainer.

His parents were independent and encouraged Nitin’s and his siblings’ education. When they moved back to live with the extended family in Delhi, he craved the freedom of Pune. His parents are religious, and he admires the sincerity and effort they put into their practice. He has felt guided to share the gifts of meditation with the world, and finds spiritual solace in the practice of meditation, in any country he finds himself in. He encourages others to give meditation a sincere shot!

Temperament and Personality Influences

Nitin has always been a curious observer, which has helped him ask the right questions to get to know the world around him. This is complemented by his good listening skills, and his exploration of the meaning behind someone’s words, no matter which language they are in. He has always had “the attitude of ‘never give up’”, and is able to invest deeply into a situation while still maintaining a “helicopter view” on it.

Cultural Epiphanies

Nitin is touched by the French way of finding an alternative to letting an employee go, by providing opportunities to share their unique skillset and coaching them to do better, which he has now adopted. The education system in France is also different, where children are encouraged to debate and challenge ideas for a deeper understanding, which can be viewed as argumentative by other cultures. His multicultural work experience has given him a nuanced cultural understanding.

Advice to an Employer

Christine needs to be well-rested, nourished and in touch with her internal environment to show up “ready to face hard truths and to be challenged”. She also enjoys working with people who expand beyond check boxes to see what’s possible, willing to be playful around tough concepts.

She also loves when she can provide space for deconstructing and regeneration, “when things are falling apart and reconstructing and you are trying to figure out the resources left behind”. She thrives when she can work with the sensibility of exploring what can come from the ashes.

More Great Insights!

Nitin believes that the professionals of the future will learn to balance their hearts and minds, to listen to the voice of their hearts and use their thinking to execute those commands. He envisions meditation and neuroscience unearthing the role of the heart beyond pumping blood as a way to be a mindful leader of a workforce that is adept at being connected with their inner selves.


Nitin Govila is a profound thinker who had many multicultural experiences throughout his childhood and adulthood. Moving to France to do his MBA, he discovered a new world of practices, values and possibilities, which inspired him to create a mindful workplace of the future.


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