5th August, 2022
XLRI’s Placement Committee hosted its annual Women Round Table Conclave – INSPIRUS on the 4th of August. Our esteemed panelists for the event were Ms. Aradhana Khaitan, Founder & Managing Director, Manya Education Pvt. Ltd., Ms. Anuranjita Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, We-Ace, Masterchef Shipra Khanna, Indian Celebrity Chef, Author, Restauranteur, TV Personality and Ms. Shalini Pillay, Office Managing Partner Bangalore & India Leader- Global Capability Centers, KPMG India.
The roundtable was held online on the media platform Zoom with XLRI’s Human Resource Management & General Management Area Faculty, Dr. Tina K. Stephan moderating the session. Members of the placement committee Ms. Urvashi Kaul & Ms. Divya Enamandra – both from the Placement Committee – were host and co-host for the event.
The talk was centred on how important it is to have empathy – especially when it comes to women in the workforce. The central idea of the INSPIRUS event was to discuss the success stories of women in positions of power and how they achieved their ambitions despite multiple hurdles. Our speakers discussed that it is essential for both men and women to support each other and coalesce into a unit to excel in this journey called life. Women empowerment is not a gender-focused job. While both men and women have their own set of challenges, the situation gets ideal when both works together as a team.
Speakers Ms. Anuranjita Kumar and Ms. Shalini Pillay shared the opinion that their success stories were also enabled with the help of their spouses who understood & supported throughout their professional and personal journey.
Ms. Aradhana Khaitan seconded this thought and further added that it is also equally crucial to not restrain your ambitions based on the restrictive opinions and thoughts of the society around you. She spoke from her various personal experiences regarding the difficulties she had to face in order to pursue an education and the subsequent successful business venture she launched. While the most rebuttal came from her immediate family, she advised continuing to move forward without the worry or fear of the unknown outcomes holding you back. When you continue to follow your instincts relentlessly, things have a way of falling in the right place at the right time.
Ms. Shalini focused on women high on the corporate ladder and how they are subjected to sometimes question their full potential due to societal conditioning. She advised to never stop believing in oneself even when things get tricky and how the path ahead becomes narrower but clearer. In such situations helping and trusting each other to be able to nurture a better future leader is vital. Ms. Anuranjita added that the fear of failure is much higher in women, especially for the women who get promoted to higher ranks. Self-doubt and self-criticism are innate in women because of the way women are socially conditioned while they are young. Women get conditioned into vicariously living through someone else’s perspective of an ideal woman. She further expresses to corner those prejudices and take a bet on oneself.
Seamlessly fitting into it, Chef Shipra Khanna reiterated the importance of believing in yourself, especially once you are successful. She spoke of how difficult it is to maneuverer a male-dominated culinary industry and how resilience and self-reliance can help women come out of their shells to reclaim one’s worth in society. Emphasizing the contradiction of the industry for chefs – Ms. Shipra states that a career in this industry is always tricky considering women are seen as the obvious option when it comes to cooking in the household, whereas the industry is predominantly led by men as professional chefs.
Ms. Anuranjita stressed how love, respect and security can shape a woman’s thinking, converting them into better leaders without the external pressures of living up to the roles that society expects them to. She talked about how leadership programmes in industries can help add to their leadership skills. Additionally, Ms. Shalini talked about the KPMG women leadership network that facilitates a better, more encouraging workplace for women.
At the end of the day, one needs to prove their worth and claim their value irrespective of their gender. After all, when performance is appreciated it should not matter who the achiever is. A wider ecosystem is required to accommodate the changing patterns of the world. Intersectional feminism is the call of the hour and men need to step up to counter the challenges of the patriarchal world.
The grand event was concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Urvashi Kaul summarising the whole session & bringing it to a delightful close.