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Women achievers of India - 2

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Tamildownunder, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear ILites,

    In ' Women achievers of India-1' , I am bringing the life sketches of women who have excelled against all odds in personal and social life. It will be continuing.

    In ' Women achievers of India-2', I am bringing the achievements of women enterprenuers, professionals, scientists etc.

    First, I am bringing the excerpts from interviews with somen achievers in the business and professional areas, courtesy Times of India, Mumbai.

    PREETHA REDDY

    49, MD, Apollo Hospitals Group

    As a young girl she was devoted to dancing and was a disciple of Rukmini Arundale at Kalakshetra. A power to reckon with in the organised healthcare business, she got into it quite by accident. Preetha did not join family-owned Apollo Hospitals till 1989 – some 10 years after having stayed home. From Rs 110 crore when she took over, she has steered the business close to Rs 1,000 crore last year. A hands-on person, she attributes her learning to the workplace and takes care to listen and learn from people 'senior' in experience.
    [​IMG]

    Interview:

    ME, MYSELF: I was lucky to be born at the right time, at the right place. But I did not let that get into my head. I am where I am today because of my willpower and focus. Healthcare delivery is my vision, but I don't lose focus that I am also running a business.

    CHALLENGES: It takes time to build trust. When I started working, the hospital business was purely male-dominated. Bringing any kind of change or a new set of ideas was a tough call for me. I faced great difficulties in bringing a professional approach to healthcare. But I realised earlier in life that winds of change can only be brought about by patience and firmness.

    SECRET TIPS: There are no shortcuts to success. Take a complete approach to whatever you do. Learn to prioritise; it makes juggling work and home easier. Moreover, stay committed to your goals and make a difference!

    Once you start something, you've to nurture it till the end. Don't predict because there's very little you can do about the future. So, keep delivering till you convince yourself that your future is secure.

    I TELL MYSELF: When I visit hospitals, I see so much pain and suffering around me that I tell myself –I don't have the business to feel sad about myself.

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: There are millions of others who'd like to be in my shoes. I should count myself lucky that I have the power to bring a change in the world, however miniscule that might be.

    KEEP WALKING: Many times I feel like throwing up my hands in the air and giving it all up. But I tell myself, I'll do that only when the time is right and the business is in safe hands. I am not hooked to anything, but at the same time, I won't give up just for the sake of giving up

    contd...
     
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  2. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    SULAJJA FIRODIA MOTWANI

    36, MD, Kinetic Engineering

    There's something about Sulajja and bikes! It was while zooming down the streets of California in a Ducati that she met her husband, Manish. It was motorcycles again that helped her turn around the fortunes of a worn-out moped manufacturer, Kinetic Engineering. The turning point of her life came when she gave a totally new image to the humble scooter. Stylish and slick, she is as good as her 'kick-ass bikes'. When not doing business, she goes scuba diving or kickboxing. And this MBA from Carnegie Mellon University still loves to test ride her bikes!

    [​IMG]

    Interview Excerpts:

    ME, MYSELF: I am just another hardworking professional. My life revolves around my work and family. CHALLENGES I There are misconceptions that as an owner, I can decide when to work and when not to, or perhaps that it is glamorous to be a business tycoon; but in reality, I face the same challenges as others do. One deals with many challenges in general, but not any particular one based on my gender really.

    SECRET TIPS: Stay fit. As working women, many priorities and responsibilities demand our attention, energy and time. Have a positive attitude and always wear a smile – the most important accessory for a professional. When at the top, the buck stops at you. When you work for others, you can play the blame game, but when you are heading an organisation, you are responsible for finding solutions to all problems, and that can be nervewracking!

    I TELL MYSELF: I must lose a couple of more pounds! (Seriously) I thank God for the opportunities He has given me.

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: I think your source of motivation has to be from within and it changes with time. For me, in the beginning, it was my entrepreneurial spirit, which got me going. Later, I loved the fact that I lived by my own choices and wanted to rule the world! I think now, it is all of this and also a large sense of responsibility as a leader that motivates me.

    KEEP WALKING: My motto is – tomorrow will be a better day! I grab a nice book or watch a feel-good movie and go to bed. Then I always wake up feeling better the next day. To tell you the truth, there are many challenging days, but one learns to deal with them eventually.
     
  3. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    KALPANA MORPARIA

    57, Joint MD, ICICI Bank

    A happy married life is what she dreamt of as a little girl. Despite being a bright student, her sole aim in life was to complete matriculation and get on with life with a man by her side. But life had other plans. While studying law, the B.Sc graduate did get married but to her dismay found her husband insisting that she complete her studies. Today, through sheer hard work this once marriage-obsessed young girl is now the Joint MD of India's second-largest bank, and has made it to the 'most powerful women in business' lists of leading publications, including Forbes. Her only regret is not having a management background.
    [​IMG]

    Interview excerpts:

    ME, MYSELF: Whatever success I have today would have been mine anyway. Life's a hard taskmaster, but I can beat it at its own game if I am steadfast in my goals.

    CHALLENGES: You've got to tune it out. If someone has an issue that I'm a woman, that's their issue. You are an entrepreneur before anything else. Sometimes I get a kick that I sit there in these big strategy sessions and there's a bunch of men and me. It's kind of flattering. I just wish there were more women doing this and it wasn't an anomaly.

    SECRET TIPS: You have to be passionate about the product or service you're offering. You also have to make sure it's a product other people either need or really want. Then you have to figure out how to let people know about it. There's a lot of learning and mistakes in anything you do. Make sure you have the foundation built before you build the house. Try to boil down what you're doing to one very simple idea. And ask a lot of questions. That's the nature of being an entrepreneur. It doesn't matter if you come from a farm or if you went to Harvard Business School. The fact is, you don't know anything until you're doing it.

    I TELL MYSELF: No position I am in can be attributed to the fact that I am a woman! For the male CEO, do not underestimate the women at work. You never know, when she'll pull the ground beneath your feet!

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: At the helm of affairs at the bank, even today, I am proud to say that I've remained the same person. My interaction with colleagues still has that human and emotional touch. Stereotypes are myths. If you are a good entrepreneur, your entrepreneurship will show the way you run your household as a housewife.

    KEEP WALKING: I know I am not married to the bank and would have to retire one day, but even then I'll not hang up my boots.
     
  4. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Great thread, TDU Sir, helping us to know 'women achievers' in our country!
    Keep posting!

    sriniketan
     
  5. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Thanks, Sriniketan for visiting the thread and posting your appreciation.

    Regards,

    TDU
     
  6. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    SWATI PIRAMAL

    50, Director, Strategic Alliances and Communications, Nicholas Piramal

    In an age when Indian women were cajoled into opting for science in college by over-ambitious parents, Swati was already in the midst of her test tubes and Bunsen burners, dreaming of a biotech empire. She married into one of Mumbai's oldest textile business families. Passionate about research, this geneology-gifted doctor knew that converting a century-old textile business house into healthcare business was a tough call when she and husband, Ajay Piramal, bought Nicholas Laboratories in 1988 for $4 million. But deliver she did. Today with her stamp on every company decision, Nicholas Piramal India has become one of the leading life sciences and pharmaceutical companies in India, with over $350 million turnover.

    [​IMG]

    Interview Excerpts:

    ME, MYSELF: My self-esteem, confidence and strong belief in myself have helped me to be where I am today.

    CHALLENGES: Sometimes, due to situations, sticking to your conviction and beliefs may be a challenge. You may have bouts of self-doubt, but you have to work to overcome the "I don't know how to do that because I wasn't taught that in school" mentality. You just have to take a deep breath and go beyond that and rely on your personality and strength.

    SECRET TIPS: Being at the top is not enough, because you'll soon realise it's so lonely up there. Therefore, it's better if you try and utilise your position to bring a difference to the world. Success is like manna from heaven. It falls on the lap of those who are lucky to seek it out. Don't blame the situation or circumstances you are in. Try and squeeze every bit out of your circumstances and make the most out of it.

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: The Upanishad says: "Whatever you dream you have to will, whatever you will is your deed and whatever your deed is your destiny." Dream big and try and find out means and ways to turn it into reality.

    KEEP WALKING: Dreams come from within you. So don't stop dreaming
     
  7. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    PREETI VYAS GIANNETTI

    40, Creative Director & CEO, Vyas Giannetti Creative

    It was in 1997 when Preeti started her firm with one computer and one person. At that time she was the only woman boss in the Indian ad world. Ten years later, she's still the queen of the Indian ad world - the only woman CEO who is also the creative head of an ad firm. The brain behind the most expensive advertisement ever made for an Indian company, the commercial for the Aditya Birla Group, the global footprint of the ad tells a lot about its creator. The Economic Times Rankings 2005, placed her at No.7 in the 'creative directors' ranking. Today, her firm has an enviable blue-chip client list with capitalised billings of over $40 million.

    [​IMG]

    Interview Excerpts:

    ME, MYSELF: I don't mind working hard, the endgame is more important for me. I am proud that I have dumped my pin-striped pants and have achieved the heights, comfortable with my bejewelled self and chiffon blouses!

    CHALLENGES: What's been a challenge for me is to try and not think like a man. I am in a workspace, which is a man's playground and I tend to act like a man. At times, I stop myself short of behaving like them out of fear that I'd be an outcast. I've learnt to overcome that. You just have to take a deep breath and go beyond the gender play and rely on your personality and strength.

    SECRET TIPS: We all have the potential within us. It's just a matter of unleashing it. A creative person never has any problems – be it a man or a woman. In my field though, a woman's touch is more appreciated as she has this innate capability of relating to a client's ideas and delivering them.

    I TELL MYSELF: There's enough occupying your energy, your space and your objectives to worry about and focus on. I've just never thought of myself as a woman. I think of myself as a businessperson at work.

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: My turning point in life came the day I removed my pin-striped suit. The more I thought like a man, the more I messed up things. Now I am much better when it comes to integrating the organisation or my people.

    KEEP WALKING: I believe in karma yog. I do things by checking out with my inner self. Once I am happy with what I've done, I surrender it. It relieves me of stress and anxiety and helps me move on to the next project.
     
  8. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    NEELAM DHAWAN

    Mid-40s, MD, Microsoft India

    Don't be beguiled by her mom's-best-friend look. Just a look at her résumé and those hung-in-theair jaws will refuse to snap into place. HP, IBM, HCL and Microsoft - she's worked for them all! Neelam is a true blue Delhiite. Not only was this business management graduate born and raised in Delhi, she even completed her studies and embarked on her career here. She chucked up a cushy job with HCL's foreign operations in the US and returned to India as she "missed home". This crossword-solving, music lover is not only a pioneering figure in the IT industry but is also counted as one of the world's most powerful women in business.

    [​IMG]

    Interview Excerpts:

    ME, MYSELF: I've always thought ahead and outside the box, pushed the envelope, worked sincerely and very hard. I don't think there is any other route to success.

    CHALLENGES: No challenges really on account of my being a woman. I have always considered myself a professional first and a woman second, and I think that makes a difference. If you don't ask to be treated differently, you get treated professionally and at par with your male colleagues. I think being an entrepreneur is as challenging for a man as it is for a woman so there are no gender issues.

    SECRET TIPS: Always prioritise and never compromise for anything less than the best. People respect you if you "walk the talk " and empathise with them and respect them for their abilities. To be successful you have to be ambitious, have great staying power, risk-taking ability, combined with good organising and management skills. And of course, be self-motivated.

    I TELL MYSELF: Let's go out and win them!

    MOTIVATING MANTRA: A challenging assignment, which taxes my skills

    KEEP WALKING: This too will pass. Tomorrow is another day.
     
  9. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Jayashree Vaidhyanathan

    34 Director, HCL Technologies, Chennai

    Director, unit head of business consulting services, HCL Technologies
    Even in the brave new wired world, managers are mostly male. But things are changing. The 34-year-old Jayashree Vaidhyanathan, director and unit head of business consulting services at HCL Technologies in Chennai is setting new trends in this otherwise conservative city.

    [​IMG]

    Always at the top of he class, Vaidhyanathan was also a keen debater, excelled at music, essay writing and other cultural pursuits. "From six to 16; those were my musical years," she muses. Her mother, Sundari, is from Thiruvaiyaru and one of her forefathers had started the Thiagaraja Aradana there. It was natural that Vaidhyanathan should learn Carnatic classical music. She was always asked to sing at school functions. After Std 12, she decided to do her graduation in computer science. Her ultimate aim was to get a management degree.

    With her engineering degree in hand, Vaidhyanathan joined Visakapatanam Steel Plant as a management trainee in 1992. "I wanted to get at least three years work experience, so that I could get into an Ivy League business school in America, she says." A year later she flew to US to join the Household Finance Corporation; one step closer to her dream.

    Soon, she joined Cornell University's management institute, majoring in finance and strategy in 1996. She also completed a chartered financial analyst's course. Her dream of becoming a Wall Street investment banker came true with an offer from CIBC World Markets to join the company as an associate. She was assigned to scout and execute merger and acquisition (M&A) deals and, within six months of joining the company, got her first promotion.

    In U.S she met and married Venkatraman, in 1994 and later "We both got our US citizenship, while our son Pranav was a naturalised American," she explains.

    It was then that she met HCL Technologies CFO Arun Duggal in London. She sold him her idea that HCL Technologies should get into the business consulting space. He was impressed by her credentials and her plans and, when others in the company also bought into the idea, she was hired.

    Jayashree Vaidhyanathan's ultimate personal goal is to make it to the Forbes list of women achievers. If that happens, she will be the first madisar mami to figure in the list.
     
  10. So Sure

    So Sure Senior IL'ite

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    hi Tamizha,
    Thank you for all the great information.
    Please keep posting!
    regards,
    Sharada
     

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