In Focus

‘Putting purpose, passion before profit’

Manu Shrivastava | Mumbai

CII’s network for women, Indian Women Network (IWN) hosted the 3rd WomeNation Summit - Celebrating Success at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai on Friday 5 October 2018. CII IWN Western Region Chairperson and Tata Capital Head-Business Development and Chief Ethics Counselor Kashmira Mewawala addressed the inaugural session by welcoming all the speakers and attendees. “This summit is a celebration of women who put purpose and passion before profit,” she remarked.

Kashmira Mewawala addressing the inaugural session

The Power Panel discussion on Celebrating Success witnessed power women from across industries. Aptech India Director Ninad Karpe moderated the session and said the number of women in the Indian workplace has increased substantially but there is still a lot of catching up to do as compared to global, even Asian trends. HDFC Life Managing Director and CEO Vibha Padalkar said the first step for a woman to be successful in her workplace is to choose the right life-partner. She added that women should not try to conform to pre-conceived notions and instead be perseverant in their endeavours and ambitions.

Star India Strategy and Incubation President Ipsita Dasgupta had a few tips for women – be nice to people and make sure to network with colleagues, always deliver and be willing to take risks. Her magic mantra for working women is “Create your own space, be unapologetic and know what you want, define it and go after it.”

Dale Carnegie Training India Chairperson and Managing Director Pallavi Jha defined a woman’s success as a journey and not a destination. She strongly advocated for women to take up leadership roles and write their own success stories. She advised budding entrepreneurs to be willing to work 24x7 and be flexible to adapt to the new demands of business as it shapes up.

From left: Vibha Padalkar, Renu Basu, Ninad Karpe, Pallavi Jha, Richa Arora and Ipsita Dasgupta

Indian Hotels Company Limited Global Sales Senior Vice President Renu Basu, on her part, said it’s fine for women to take a break from their careers and pay heed to biological demands of having children but what ensures path recovery is how much one contributes to the organisation. She also advised women to network aggressively, know how to leverage connections and build a strong reputation.

Tata Chemicals Consumer Products Business Chief Operating Officer Richa Arora pointed out that women hesitate to speak up which is their biggest drawback and often do not accept the opportunities given out to them. She also advised working mothers to not nurture the ‘guilt’ gene as it’s a deterrent to their growth.

After the power panel discussion, CII IWN Maharashtra Chapter Vice Chairperson and Open Spaces Consulting Ltd Managing Director Aneeta Madhok unveiled the IWN report on ‘Success Strategies of Women Leaders’.

Aneeta Madhok (second from left) unveiling the IWN report

AZB & Partners Founder and Managing Partner Zia Mody addressed a special session where she spoke about her professional journey. She reaffirmed that a woman cannot have it all and professional success comes at huge emotional costs and each must find her own balance. She pointed out that 48 per cent of women drop out from the workforce and constitute India’s ‘leaky pipeline’.

Zia Mody addressing a special session

The panel discussion on ‘Shaping a Better India’ was moderated by KPMG Performance and Culture Partner and Head of People Unmesh Pawar. “Women must follow their passion to make societal change and contribute to nation building,” he said.

Independent Legal Services Professional Sonal Mattoo spoke about how her feminist father raised her as a strong and independent woman. She pointed out that many women leave their jobs because of sexual harassment at workplace and often lack the support and strength needed to report such instances. Artison Agrotech Pvt Ltd Director Bhoomika Kalam, on her part, narrated her journey as a journalist and her gradual inclination towards farmers who are often left out of the development debate.

From left: Sonal Mattoo, Roshika Kumari Singh, Unmesh Pawar, Meghana Reddy, Anita Ranjan and Bhoomika Kalam

The following sessions witnessed an address by Padma Shri Awardee Premlata Agrawal, the first Indian woman to scale the seven summits and singer Monali Thakur who spoke about their journeys, struggles and how they overcame the barriers.

This report was first published in The Draft.