Article: Driving the changes: 9 women achievers share their inspirations


Driving the changes: 9 women achievers share their inspirations

People Matters asked these top women leaders about their inspirations and the messages they want to share on account of International Women’s Day.
Driving the changes: 9 women achievers share their inspirations

The Universe never meant to distinguish between men and women – but society did. And such was the differentiation that it has taken women some thousands of years to reach where a few of them are right now. We still have a long way to go, but slowly and steadily a lot of us are waking up to recognise the efforts women put in at their work.

On March 8, we have asked a few women achievers on International Women’s Day about their inspirations and messages they want to share.

Who has been your inspiration (women or woman across sectors) who have/has helped you to be where you are today? 

Ritu Anand, TCS Deputy Head Global HR - Born and brought up in a small town with limited opportunities somehow propelled me to aspire and dream big. The backing of a highly educated and academically inclined family background gave me the confidence to stretch myself and to never say never in whatever task I undertook. 

Gowri Mukherjee, CMO, Creditmantri – V Shantha of the Adyar Cancer Institute is someone I admire for her quiet, unwavering pursuit of what she believes in. Her simplicity and humility despite the tremendous impact she has had on so many lives is something to learn from. Closer home, my mother Rajeswari Thyagarajan with her generous, “no lame excuses” personality has been a strong influencer.

Ruchira Bhardwaja, CHRO, Future Generali Life Insurance – In my 20 year career, I have mostly had women reporting managers... For me, they epitomised strong leadership – their opinion mattered, their business sense was exemplary... But it would be unfair to say that I have not been inspired by male role-models too. I also get inspired by youngsters – especially girls from small pockets of the country who fight against all odds to live their dreams.

Shalini Pillai, Head of People, Performance & Culture, KPMG -- I have found my inspiration in not one but in so many women. My Mother- who inspires me with her dedication and passion to look out for her family and give her life to just that. The many successful Corporate leaders- who have made it big through sheer focus, hard work and determination. The fearless young women today- who are ready to soar to new heights and tread new paths. My domestic help who braves it all, and smiles through the most difficult of adversities. My daughter- who does not shy away from challenging, questioning status quo every day and in everyway. 

Lina Nair, VP- Operations, Wells Fargo India Solutions – It’s always inspiring to meet senior leaders of the Bank who started their careers at a time when it was not easy to be a woman in the corporate world. It is equally inspiring to meet the young women of today who are strong and confident and know what they want to do with their lives. I have been fortunate to be born into a matri-lineal family where the women inherit the family name. But most of all, life inspires me. I have had curve balls thrown at me that forced me into taking a good hard look at myself and change when needed.

Neeta Mohla, Director & Head of Leadership Practice, TMI India, and also Author of the book Human Drama Inc – Many of my colleagues have inspired and helped me reach where I am today...Often, they added a different perspective to my thinking, which created a lot of value – especially  the times I needed to take a difficult decision or a call. Another person that I have admired as a political leader is Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a wonderful combination of elegance, grit, courage and a leader who has resolutely fought for her cause. 

Ritu Kapoor, Co-founder, The Quint – I have been blessed with two exceptionally inspirational women in my life, my mother and my mother-in-law. Without their support I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what I have. They are two feisty and spirited women who literally took care of my children and of the running of my house while I was too busy with my career. 

Dr. Suruchi Mittar, Director-Learning & Development, Appster – I have never met Indra Nooyi, but her photograph on the cover of Business World made tremendous impact on me while I was a teenager...Furthermore, my mother has been a great source of inspiration. From her I learned that no quantum of work is worthy if it lacks humility. My daughter has been my recent most teacher. Explaining to me the difficult concept of Eric Berne’s ‘Transactional Analysis’, where the ego state is altered to get things done your way just as a child does. She is a large inspiration to me.

Varsha Khullar, Director – Retail, Time Inc. India – Growing up and even now, my Mom has been my greatest inspiration...Her resilience in the face of struggle is something that keeps me going even now and I owe all my success to her. Apart from my Mom, through my career, I have been very lucky to have crossed paths and worked with amazing women who have been kind enough to mentor me and guide me. They are Energetic, Awe Inspiring Leaders who have defined leadership for me and shaped my vision of the kind of leader I want to be. Thanks to the information age, everyday there are stories that inspire you to strive a little harder and grow a little more. I hope one day I will be that woman to my daughter.

Since you are at the helm of affairs, you are also inspiration to many women professionals in the community. What is your message that you would like to give them on International Women's Day? 

Ritu Anand – As women, we needn’t be apologetic about the choices we have made, we needn’t be afraid of the fact that there are bridges to cross and sacrifices to be made, we needn’t be insecure about the fact that we are different, but rather celebrate this and proceed without fear, enjoying our achievements and success, be it at home or at work.

Gowri Mukherjee – Recently, I read a Mary Agnelou quote which struck a chord - “ You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.  

Ruchira Bharadwaj – It doesn’t matter if you are a woman. I want to tell women that in your career, gender shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. Only your work will matter. If people take your assertiveness for aggressiveness just because you happen to be a woman, you need not change. Instead, we need to educate people to alter such views. Such changes will take time to happen but things have started moving now.

Shalini Pillai – I will help our women unleash their full potential as they continue to progress in their careers here, working shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues.   Given my own experiences and learnings , I would like to help them successfully steer their careers by building on their individual strengths, by staying focused , while adeptly balancing personal commitments and hence truly living their purpose here. Given my role, I will strive to ensure we provide the enabling platform and the supporting ecosystem.

Lina Nair – I think women of today have a responsibility to the society as we strive to make this world more equal. But that does not mean we have to walk the path alone. Your family and home is your true sanctuary. Your team is your strength. And your friends are the rainbow. Keep them all close. And let your light shine. I will leave you with my favourite quote from Ayn Rand: “The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.”  

Neeta Mohla – Believe in yourself. There is a lot that we contribute and bring to the table. Lets not try and be the best others determine for us. Equality is about being the best person, the best woman you can be, and getting valued for that. 

Ritu Kapoor – My message to every woman is simple: “Just don’t quit”. The odds aren’t going away anytime soon but you can’t give up. Don’t assume that there are things that you can’t do because of your gender. Push the limits of achievement and be an inspiration to the rest of us! 

Dr Suruchi Mittar – Stay humble, stay kind. This is how a woman has been designed by nature. So, keeping it simple - stay true to womanhood! Also, it is important to realize that ultimate success is the outcome of success of each individual working with you. So, give due credit. Offer praise and recognition generously.

Varsha Khullar -- To all the girls and women out there my advice would be: Don’t forget your Individuality.  Nature has given us an inherent advantage in the form of our unshakable mental strength, deep patience and empathy. With these strengths in your armor you can take on every battle. Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and be yourself.

Read full story

Topics: Diversity, #PowerWomen

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?

Be Heard: Share Your Feedback and Recommend Our Content!

Selected Score :