In early Nov-2014, I was invited to be part of the Sheroes Delhi Summit 2014. It was indeed a pleasure and honor to be part of an event on a topic close to my heart “Indian women at work”. The venue was full of vibrant, positive “feminine” energy – Because majority of the attendees were women! In this post, I’m sharing the LITE (Lessons, Insights, Trivia and Experiences) from one day.
For those who don’t know, Sheroes is a career destination for women professionals, committed to career success and individual work-life fit. For women SHEROES is a gateway to the finest opportunities, resources and conversations. SHEROES welcomes women professional across levels, stages and sectors to pro-actively access the largest OpportunityScape for women. While Sheroes is by design a “social company” and most of their work is online, they conduct events (called Sheroes Summit) all across India every year.
For an overview of Sheroes and the work they do, view Sairee’s (Founder of Sheroes) Introduction below
As of date, it has been a while since the Sheroes Delhi Summit 2014 has elapsed, and I asked myself what were my key takeaways from the event (I believe what you recall days after you attend an event usually stays with you for a long time). So without much ado, sharing the messages which stayed with me.
Thanks Sairee and the team at Sheroes for hosting this event. May there be many more celebrated Sheroes in the years to come. You can only get bigger and grander from here :)
In addition to the above, a few things stood out for me personally:
1) An opportunity to connect, converse, share and hear with women from diverse walks of life and in different phases of their career; No matter what she does / is doing – I recognize that every one of them is trying and striving hard to make it all work – given her context / circumstance / culture and the mind-set of the ecosystem she is part of.
Let’s face the reality | Issues exist. Not one, not two – But aplenty. As a woman after a point you’ve got to recognize and accept it. You’ve got to decide what battles you will fight, and what you will let-go off and make peace with your choices. There is no other “practical” way to live your life – especially if you are a working woman / mother. And I think that message came out in all my conversations with women at the event.
2) A forum for networking (formal / informal) –It is a well-known fact that “(Working) women lose out in more than 1 way because they don’t invest enough in networking”. One because many genuinely don’t have the time / opportunities to connect with women beyond their work. Two, because business networking is not something which is a priority for many women.So the Sheroes event was a wonderful platform for networking – to build new networks and nurture existing ones.
It is also well documented that women are more comfortable networking with other women (even if they are meeting them for the first time), and that was very evident by the camaraderie during the day! The good thing for me was that I got to interact with some women whom I’ve known in the virtual world. So it was cool to see the culmination of the online and offline worlds!
3) Launch of the “Launch of the Big Sister Mentoring Program” as an initiative to look at experienced women professionals mentoring young women who are part the workforce. I do believe that mentors play an important role in shaping the career trajectories of women at work, and had written on the need for mentorship for women at work in this post ” Mentors for working women : Essential but do they exist?” So was personally happy to see and be part of this launch.
4) Sairee in her introductory note mentioned that one of the focus for this year’s event theme is to “bring men into the women at work conversation”. I fully agree. It is indeed high time to bring men into the conversation – not just to listen, but to think, speak and most importantly, act!. There is only so much change women can bring about by talking to and among each other.
From what I see, a lot of men don’t want to be part of this conversation because it is compelling them to move away from their comfort zone, and the way they have been conditioned to think and believe.(And no one really wants / likes to go there!). Here’s the other reality | if men don’t become active participants / contributors to the women at work conversation, long term meaningful change is NOT possible. And it was great to see attendance and participation from several men during the event itself – in terms of sharing their personal stories of / from the women in their life. The fact that they have observed the real issues of ‘women at work’ and are willing to acknowledge and share it in a public forum speaks a lot! So there is hope, and hopefully things will only get better from here!
So as I sign off, I will leave you with the videos of the sessions of the day. Do watch, and share!
Deep Karla’s Session : MD, Founder, Makemytrip.com
James Joseph’s Session : Championing Remote Work, Author God’s Own Office
Fireside Chat with Nikhil and Vidhushi Mehra : Power Couple on Marriage, Parenting and Careers
Tavleen Mehendiratta’s Session : Mobility and Sustainability – Trends we need to know
Natasha Badhwar’s Session : Stories from the Community – of entrepreneurship and transitions
And my friend, Charnita Arora on her take-away’s from the Sheroes Summit 2014