Students of the Women in management Club of IIM Bangalore successfully hosted the 5th Annual Women Leadership Summit on campus on January 27 (Sunday). Themed ‘Leading and Inspiring Change’, the summit was inaugurated by Dr. Tessy Thomas, Director General of Aeronautical Systems, DRDO.
“I never let stereotypes come in my way,” Dr. Thomas said, adding that she has always strived to be true to herself. Recounting her stint as project manager for Agni-IV, she cited team work and efficient stress management as factors contributing to her career success.
The first keynote speaker, Anjana Vivek, Founder, Venture Bean Capital, spoke about importance of thoughts and dreams in creating one’s destiny. She urged students to build their own identity, independent of what others might say. “Focus on the importance of networking, maintain friendships and relationships, nurture yourself, and work on your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health,” she advised. Quoting from the poem, Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann, she said: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”.
The second keynote speaker for the day, Vaishnavi Reddy, Co-Founder and Head of Design, Brandstory, spoke about the importance of clarity, purpose and intention in decision making for leaders.
The third keynote speaker, Anuradha Aggarwal, an IIMB alumna and Ex-CMO, Marico, raised thought-provoking questions on barriers women face in their careers. “Guilt and self-doubt are the real roadblocks to success, and guilt is most often imposed by the external world. You should not feel guilty about dedicating time for yourself. Rediscover yourself, time and again. It’s never too late to pursue a hobby. Network and update your skills. Treat your career like a marathon, not a sprint. Half the battle about gender diversity is to be fought in the mind,” she explained.
The discussion on ‘What’s Next: Sustaining Efforts After a Breakthrough’ was moderated by Prof. Pearl Malhotra, faculty from the OBHRM area at IIM Bangalore, and included Nirupama Kaushik, Consulting Partner, Head – Innovation & Qualitative Practice, Brandscapes Worldwide, Revathy Ashok, Startup Evangelist, Public Policy Advocate, Indian Angel Network, and Bhavjot Kaur, Co-Founder at Clinikk Healthcare. All of them elaborated on their career breakthroughs and the challenges they had surmounted. Revathy Ashok shared her experience of being the only woman in a team of 1000 to work on an oil field project in pre-war Iraq.
Although Kiran Bedi, Governor of Puducherry, couldn’t be present physically, she interacted with the audience via tele-conference. She listed lessons pertaining to change leadership using anecdotes from her experience in making Puducherry water rich by employing efficient water management techniques. “The project resulted in enrichment of 164 villages and 6398 hectares of land,” she said. She emphasized that nothing was impossible even if one had few resources. “Partnerships are the key to transformational leadership,” she added.
D Roopa Moudgil, IGP Bengaluru, who was Guest of Honor at the event, attributed her success to the ‘call of duty’. “Moral courage, the ability to stand my ground and develop a strong sense of right and wrong have helped me,” she said.
Sonakshi Hota, Secretary, Women in Management Club at IIMB, said: “It is necessary to learn from the experiences of women who have succeeded, examine the obstacles they faced, and analyze the concrete steps they took that led them to success. This edition of the Women Leadership Summit celebrates these lessons.”