Q. What is your view on gender diversity in the work place? A. I believe gender diversity in the work place is important as it not only diffuses the male dominated environment which tends to be ego driven but also fosters diversity of views, approach and hence overall performance and growth.
The organizational culture and top management mindset however plays a key role on whether this diversity is encouraged on not
Airtel as an Organization recognizes and values gender diversity that is why you see many women in the senior leadership team
Q. What do you consider your success factors to getting you to senior management role amidst the immense competition especially from the men? A. Early in my career, I had been recruited by one of the corporate companies as Network Administrator with a couple of my friends from college. We were all fresh graduates; with same qualifications and experience (in fact we were in the same class together). In the IT office of five staff, I was the only woman. We did the same work schedules and support. A couple of months later, I got to know from my friends that I was being paid half what my colleagues were getting. I had a discussion with our HR partner, who intimated that management had decided that I would be paid the full amount after my probation (while the rest received their full pay from the start)
What that means is that as a woman, you always have to prove yourself; you have to put in extra effort; you have to learn fast; develop a strong will to drive yourself and most importantly have a vision. My vision in life is striving for excellence in whatever I do.
I may not have the charm that most men I have worked with possess, but I work towards building workable win-win relationships because I know excellence is not achieved as single person.
Q. How do you manage to have a work life balance? (Predominantly many women’s careers are limited by family responsibilities) A. In all this, as an individual you need draw inner strength from somewhere. Mine comes from God and the support of my family. I have three lovely daughters and one husband.
For any working parent it is sometimes difficult to balance work with one’s home/social life, however I try not to carry work home. Also, I have a challenge of leaving work late; however a friend once told me, I should decide “what is that one thing that I would like to do at home at a certain time every day and I should purpose to follow that routine”. I decided I should pray with my girls every night before they sleep, so I try to get home before they sleep, though sometimes I miss.
For social life, I’m still working on it.
Q. What are your thoughts to the women out there? A. For women out there, I would like to say that you can be whatever you put your mind to be. It might take a little more effort and a little more convincing.
The good news is many companies and even countries are now opening up to women in leadership.