TomorrowMakers

From gender diversity in the workplace to maintaining work-life balance – here’s some advice from some of India’s most successful women bosses.

Career advice
Who doesn’t dream of occupying the corner office someday? But the dream will remain just that – a dream – if you don’t work towards it. Let’s meet some women who worked towards that dream with sheer hard work and resilience. If you’re looking at emulating their success, they have some priceless advice for you – from finding a good mentor to becoming a digital whiz. Read on for more.
 
1. Namita Thapar
Designation: Director and Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Emcure Pharmaceuticals
 
With 13 years of experience, Namita is a champion of the spirit of entrepreneurship. She believes that entrepreneurship begins at the age of 11 and hence it should be at the core of early education, pushing for original and creative thought. She looks after the India franchise of the US-based ‘The Young Entrepreneurs Academy’, which guides and prepares teenagers between the age of 11 and 18 to become tomorrow’s leaders.
While talking about supporting women in the workplace, she says that having a quota for women isn’t going to do the trick. Her suggestion for organisations is to hire competent women and provide flexibility so that they can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Her career advice: Learn the art of guilt management more than time management. Don’t give up on your career and aspirations despite disappointments along the way. Having women mentors is important. [As told to The Economic Times.]
 
2. Kruti Bharucha
Designation: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peepul Foundation
 
When someone asked the 10-year-old Kruti about what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said she wanted to build a school that would provide a great education for unprivileged children. Being the daughter of two economists, it was expected she would want to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
After working for 15 years with organisations such as The World Bank, McKinsey & Co., and CEB Inc., Kruti realised that working in the education sector was her true calling. She then joined Peepul, an education-focused non-profit that works with Delhi’s government schools to transform children’s lives through quality education. She’s very passionate towards this cause and wants every child to reach their true potential, irrespective of their background.
Her career advice: Find good mentors (both men and women) on your journey who can support your dreams and help you build the right skills. Don’t be defensive about being ambitious. [As told to The Economic Times.]
 
3. Virginia Sharma
Designation: Director of Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn India
 
Virginia Sharma’s marketing journey started in 10th grade when she entered an interschool competition to design a campaign for a French perfume company called ‘Un Monde Nouveau’ that was targeting teenagers. She and her friends won the competition and got a chance to pitch their idea to the brand in Paris. No wonder she was hooked, and this incident charted her career path.
A marketing professional with over 18 years of experience, Virginia started her career with IBM and joined LinkedIn in 2014. She thinks that one way to maintain gender diversity in organisations is to have unbiased recruitment.
Her career advice: Pay it forward. Many of us first-generation working women are so busy with our own career goals that we don’t make time to share our journeys with others. [As told to The Economic Times.]
 
4. Gunjan Shah
Designation: Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
 
A cross-border deals ninja, Gunjan Shah always wanted to take part in the development of law and policy in India. After completing her degree from National Law School of India, Bengaluru, Gunjan joined the legal firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. as Partner in 1998.
She’s passionate about corporate law and says her career is built on hard work, honesty, and trust. On gender diversity, she feels that acknowledging we all have prejudices is the first step towards addressing the issue.
Her career advice: Put your head down and work hard. Over time, people will judge you on the basis of your work. [As told to The Economic Times.]
 
Conclusion:
 
While organisations today understand and acknowledge the role of gender diversity in the workforce, they still have a long way to go when it comes to people’s acceptance of women bosses. In this context the stories of these women prove to be even more inspiring. Their outlook stems from their experience of working for many years and handling many crises. Consider their advice and keep working towards your dreams.

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