Introducing Rhonda Vetere

Rhonda Vetere

1. Tell us something about your childhood. What values had been instilled in you that helped you excel in multiple fields later in your life?

I’ve never really done things the easy way. It’s something my mother trained into me back when I was just a kid. If I wanted something, I had to work for it – nothing was handed to me.

2. When did you discover your passion for technology?

For me, the tech industry was something I fell into because a manager earlier in my career saw some attributes in me – I was granted an opportunity, and I took it. I often speak to girls and women, sharing my story and acknowledging that I did not come from a technology background. One of my many goals now is to continue with STEM and promote greater female representation by showcasing that technology is fun and cool. Female representation is a pressing issue in the technology sector. It’s a challenge, but I’m focused on thoughtful conversations that can bridge the gender divide. 

3. How did you get into running?

I have always been an athlete. At a young age, I started off in the pool as a swimmer and was touted heavily by my coaches as a future ‘Olympic Team hopeful.’ In my adult years, life got in the way, and turning back to swimming which I loved so much was not feasible, so I turned to running as a way to clear my head. I call it my active meditation time.

4. What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life and how that has shaped you?

As a leader, I overcame being one of the youngest, female Managing Directors in the Finance Sector in my career. I didn’t know it at the time but in hindsight, it prepared me to have grit in many industries that were historically male-dominated and to have empathy for all walks of life. That’s why it’s my life mission to be a competitive, team-focused leader, mentor a diverse group of executives from all lines of business and to continue to use my platform to inspire others (most importantly women).

5. Could you share with us some interesting lessons you’ve learned while traveling?

One of the most interesting lessons that I’ve learned while traveling was the result of a precarious situation in which I was almost kidnapped that I put myself in my twenties when I was young, naïve, and unprepared. Long story short, I was given a dream-come-true opportunity to live and work overseas in Mumbai and was almost abducted after I didn’t take the proper precautions to keep myself safe in an unfamiliar environment.

I find myself revisiting that situation often as a reminder that overpreparation is extremely important to success in all aspects of life; whether it’s going to live and work in a foreign land, logging onto your next client call on Zoom, or training for your next race.

6. Tell us something about the social causes that you support.

One of the most important causes that I support is the BRAVE-Singita Grumeti Fund for All-Women Run Across the Serengeti. There’s a beautiful backstory to why they are the closest to my heart. It started with a year-long of planning for a birthday trip to South Africa that fell right in the middle of my training for the Eagleman 70.3-mile Triathlon. As someone who hates the mundane constraints of a treadmill, I prefer to run outside and what better scenery than the 350K acre Singita Grumeti Reserve. Unbeknownst to me, the Serengeti can be extremely dangerous, and the resort was not going to take any chances, so they provided me with armed security guards in a Jeep to trail me as I ran through the savannah of the African Wild. In must have been a really strange sight – one white woman running through a wildlife reserve being escorted by a small convoy of armed soldiers.

What was most amazing is that all these men who worked at the resort were waiting for me when I came out of my hotel the next day for another run. They wanted to join me in my training along with local women and children. Born out of this girl trip to South Africa and my necessity to continue my training was a run that would later become a 5-day, 55-mile run that raises money for the Singita Grumeti Fund for Women’s empowerment. 

7. How would you define success?

I would define success as the completion of a task to a desired result, but there’s long-running list of these milestones that will continue in perpetuity. In business and in life, you have to be ready with the next thing, so when you meet a goal, don’t just stop and rest. You must continue on in the journey to the next goal, keep growing, learning, and finding more successes.

8. Looking back on your journey and knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself along the way?

The best advice that I’ve ever received was “You will never be so smart, so accomplished, or so advanced that you won’t benefit from learning from someone ahead of you.” This is why I place such a big emphasis on person-to-person mentorship and mentor so many. I am blessed with the opportunity to have so many experiences in my lifetime so far and it’s my goal to help others learn from those experiences.

9. In your opinion, what is the ideal way to lead in a crisis?

The most important tip that I can give any leader managing in a time of crisis is to stop and ‘listen’. It is vital to your success as an effective leader to learn to ‘problem solve’ under complex and rapidly changing situations, especially when definitive information isn’t readily available. I’ve developed a 3 step process that not only makes others feel understood and validated, but also helps me to process and react wisely.

Step 1, get the facts. The first thing you must do is not act, but gather all the available information so you must put yourself in ‘listen’ mode in order to do so.

Step 2, process the information. This includes everything that you are being briefed on, but also includes very important contextual visual and audio cues as well as the setting and any background information. Most importantly in step 2 is that you must ask questions to clarify.

Step 3, react. When you react, handle the most urgent matter first, and then work your way down the list, listening to hear and understand, process and pivot/tackle as you go.

10. What advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career in STEM or management?

First, learn how to play golf. That has been huge for my career and something that I wish I learned earlier on. So many important conversations and negotiations happen on the golf course. Golf is a game of strategy, intelligence, tactical approach and is very humbling. You can learn a lot about a person and how they approach life/business from how they approach the game.

Second, know your elevator pitch. You may find yourself with the opportunity to connect with a senior executive in passing and having that information at the tip of your tongue is key to be able to impress.

Finally, know that STEM is cool and puts you at the cutting edge of all technology which is a huge advantage in the digital first world that we live in. It is a fast-paced industry that is forever changing which makes every day excited.  

11. How can more women shatter the glass ceiling at work?

I believe that the world is filled with distraction more than ever for aspiring leaders, and I suggest guarding against it. It is of utmost importance that the next generation of female leaders focus more on tangible business outcomes and value than getting tied into the social media/digital vortex. Instant gratification in one’s career does not happen overnight and it’s something that you have to work for day in and day out. For any professional, in order to succeed, the most important thing is to find a strong role model and a mentor who has a proven track record. Young leaders should have courage, speak up, take risks, take hard assignments outside of their homeland and find a mentor.

About Rhonda Vetere –

Recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Technology and a two-time author, Rhonda is an active leader — whether she’s spearheading corporate initiatives around the world, competing in another IRONMAN 70.3 mile triathlon, or mentoring students & athletes globally in STEM through sports.



Introducing Jane Aboyoun, CIO, SCO Family of Services

Jane Aboyoun

1. Tell us something about your childhood. What values had been instilled in you that helped you excel later in your life?

My parents are first generation Americans – both their parents were born elsewhere and emigrated to the US.  My mother is in her 80s now and she was amongst the first of her generation to go to college and work full time while raising a family. My mom loved her job as an elementary school teacher, and she taught me that helping others is the key to finding joy in a career.  My father grew up poor and in a foster home, but he managed to earn a full academic scholarship to college.  He went on to have a successful career in sales management.  In my family, education was highly prized and through my parents’ example, I learned that life-long learning and hard work was a way to advance oneself.  I was raised to be independent, to rely on myself, to value being able to support myself, to work hard, to focus, to be proactive and to always say “yes, we can”.  

2. When did you discover your passion for technology?

I found my passion for technology in my first job as a production planner at Nestle Foods.  Production planning is all about efficiency and process.  Computers are essential in delivering that and it was impossible to do my job without them. While studying engineering in college, I had to take a programming class.  Of all the courses that I took, that one was the most challenging for me and I barely passed the course. I vowed to never go near a computer and that stood until I was faced with tracking millions of dollars in WIP (work-in-process) inventory in one of Nestle’s production facilities. To do that, I developed a barcode data collection system to track inventory as it moved around the production floor.  The system was so successful that Corporate noticed and asked me to join their Information Systems team.  I started writing code for an MRP system and all at once, with practical application in real life, it suddenly made sense. My career in IT was launched.

3. What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life and how that has shaped you?

I always wanted to have both a career and have a family, and that is a tough balancing act.  Early in my career, I found working in a global C-suite job and raising young children at the same time to be extremely challenging. I’ve had to create boundaries in order to give 100% to each.  It is much easier now that my children are older, and as a result of my experience, I have huge respect for working parents who are trying to make it all happen. It’s not easy!

4. Tell us something about the social causes that you support.

I am passionate about fighting for equality and equity, protecting the environment, and animal welfare. We have so many challenges at this time in human history and how we navigate the next ten years together will be critical in so many ways.  

5. How would you define success?

What I have learned through my life experience is that success is a journey, rather than an end game, as the world is of course a dynamic place and the bar is always being raised.  Good ideas can come from anywhere and it’s critical to stay flexible and open-minded.  As a leader success is measured by the impact one has on others, and it’s often found in tiny actions that multiply across a team to impact an organization – the butterfly effect at work.  

6. How would you describe your leadership style?

I would liken it to a conductor of an orchestra…having a vision for what could be, selecting the players, empowering the musicians, directing the various piece parts so that together, we achieve an incredible outcome.  The fun part though, is that we are playing jazz music rather than the classics and sometimes the players just need to jam, and trust that we’ve got this, as there isn’t always a playbook for what’s next.

7. Looking back on your journey and knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself along the way?

To not lose sight of the big picture. In the rough and tumble of the day-to-day work, it is easy to get distracted and buried in the details.  It takes discipline to stay focused on the end game and keep your eyes above the tree-line.  This is where I feel I provide most value to the team, as in my role, I have the opportunity to see many pieces of the puzzle and how they fit together. I can help bring that insight back to the team, so that we can recalibrate if necessary and link those day-to-day tasks to achieving business objectives.

8. What advice would you give those who want to pursue a career in STEM?

There has never been a better time to pursue a career in STEM.  As I mentioned, the next few decades are critical to the future of the planet.  There are numerous exciting new fields emerging that can help address the issues in the world today.  These solutions are no doubt rooted in science, technology, engineering, and math.  I would encourage those interested to move forward earnestly. I believe the reward would be a satisfying and worthy career that might just change the world!

About Jane Aboyoun –

Jane Aboyoun is the Chief Information Officer at SCO Family of Services, a non-profit agency that helps New Yorkers build a strong foundation for the future. In this role, Jane is responsible for leading SCO’s technology strategy, and managing the agency’s technology services to support business applications, architecture, data, engineering, and computing infrastructure.

As an accomplished CIO / CTO, Jane has spent 20 years in the C-suite in a variety of senior technology leadership roles for global, world-class brands such as Nestlé Foods, KPMG, Estēe Lauder Companies, Walt Disney Company, and the New York Public Library.

Celebrating Inspirational Women

Rajeswari S

“Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.”  – Maya Angelou

Yet another International Women’s Day is around the corner! Every year, our strength, perseverance, and glory reach newer heights. I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate some inspirational women.

The Prestigious Firsts!

All-women crew

Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akansha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas of the all-female pilot crew of Air India made history by completing the longest non-stop commercial flight ever. They covered more than 8,600 miles and flew over the North Pole.

Kamala Harris

She is the United States’ first female vice president, the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, the first African American vice president, and the first Asian American vice president. Kamala Harris became the Vice President upon inauguration in 2021 alongside President Joe Biden in the 2020 US election.

Women with Amazing Minds and Hearts

Shalini Saraswathi

  • A modern-day woman, balancing her corporate job, blogging, and fitness.
  • A blade marathon runner and an adventure enthusiast.
  • Lost both her arms and legs to a rare form of bacterial infection. Hard work, focus, and perseverance became a pole of strength. She soon completed a 10k marathon with an outstanding record of 1 hour and 35 minutes!
  • Awarded several times with the ‘Iconic Woman Award’. 

Vandana Shah

  • At 28, abused by in-laws and thrown out of her marital home at 2 am; had little money, nowhere to go, and no one to turn to.
  • Today, a leading divorce lawyer and the founder of India’s first non-judgemental divorce support group that provides a positive perspective and focuses on rebuilding life even while going through a divorce.
  • Author of 360 Degrees Back to Life – a Litigant’s Humorous Perspective on Divorce.
  • Launched the world’s and India’s first legal app, DivorceKart, which aims to answer all legal queries regarding divorce instantly.

Daniela Rus

  • Romanian-American roboticist, an MIT professor and the first female head of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), one of the largest and most prestigious AI research labs in the world.
  • Rus’ ground-breaking research has contributed immensely to networked collaborative robots (robots that can work together and communicate with one another), self-reconfigurable robots (robots that can autonomously change their structure to adapt to their environment), and soft robots (robots without rigid bodies).

Leila Jana

  • A social entrepreneur and a great young Indian origin humanitarian.
  • Pioneer in the field of impact sourcing.
  • Leila founded Samasource in 2008 with the mission of giving work, not aid, by hiring workers in impoverished areas, training them in AI data annotation, and providing the technology to plug their skills into the global digital economy where they could earn living wages. 

Pappammal

  • 105-year-old Pappamal, a centenarian from Tamil Nadu, India, was conferred the Padma Shri (fourth-highest civilian award in India) for her work in organic farming for the past 70 years!
  • Does organic farming in about 2.5 acres of her land; cultivates a variety of crops including millets, bananas, and okra.
  • A part of the TN Agricultural University’s advisory committee, and keeps abreast of the latest developments in organic farming by taking part in conferences.

Why Women make Great Leaders

While we see men and women leaders run several successful businesses, does the word “leadership” mean the same to them? A survey conducted by a US talent management solutions company says, 65% of women (versus 56% of men) said they view leaders as those who share their knowledge and connect with their colleagues to help the team and business. When women bring this attitude into managerial roles, it makes them more effective as leaders.

Emily He, Oracle’s Sr. VP of the Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group says “In contrast to men, who tend to be career-centric and want to maximize their financial return from work, women view work more holistically, as a component of their overall life plan. They’re more likely to approach their careers in a self-reflective way and value factors such as meaning, purpose, connection with co-workers and work-life integration.”

Hear it from other women leaders too.

On being nurturing

“One of the key aspects of leadership is the ability to help your team members develop their own skills and strengths. Women are naturally nurturing, which in the best scenarios can translate to helping those around you succeed.” – Marilyn Heywood Paige, VP Marketing, FiG Advertising

On valuing work-life balance“We are able to balance professional and personal leadership skills. It’s easier to approach a women leader with a personal request, or a sensitive question. I care about my team and their well-being. I also find women more proactive in becoming mentors, and sometimes it’s already such an open and communicative relationship that the transition to mentor is easy.” – Amy Killoran, Creative Manager, I Love Travel

On wearing many hats

“They often balance careers, households and even aging parents, among other things. Women pivot, adjust and focus on solutions. Resting in the doom and gloom can be time-consuming, so many shift to find positive solutions to life and work problems.” – Gretchen Halpin, Chief Strategy Officer, Hewins Financial Advisors

We’re Tough, We’re Ambitious, We’re Different!

References:

About the Author –

Rajeswari is part of the IP team at GAVS. She has been involved in technical and creative content development for the past 13 years. She is passionate about music and writing and spends her free time watching movies or going for a highway drive.

Gender Microaggressions: Invisible Discrimination at Workplace

Priyanka Pandey

A 2020 headline read, ‘The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 hits an all-time record’. It sounds like a great news until you start reading further. Only 37 of the 500 companies on the list were led by female CEOs which is just 7.4%. But it also marks a considerable jump from its preceding years’ rates which were 6.6% in 2019 and just 4.8% in 2018, i.e., 33 and 24 companies respectively. Another report by McKinsey & Co. on the advancing of women’s equality in the Asia-Pacific region, tells us that just around 25% of India’s workforce is female, and only 5% of them make it to the top. This decline in percentage is due to many women dropping out of their jobs. One of the major factors for women to take this decision is ‘sexism at the workplace’.

It has made its way into the ‘work-from-home’ world as well. Imagine this scenario: In a discussion about hiring employees for a new project, a male committee member says, “I think we should hire more men as this project requires spending extra time and effort“. In this case, it is not very difficult to identify the prejudice. But let’s consider another scenario- there is a need to move some machines for which a person asks for help saying, “I need a few strong men to help me lift this“. Most of the time people will not realize how problematic this statement is. This is an example of ‘gender microaggression’. But what exactly is a microaggression? Microaggression is verbal or nonverbal behavior that, intentionally or unintentionally, can communicate denigratory behavior towards the members of a minority/oppressed group which often goes unnoticed and unreported. In simple words, it is a form of discrimination that is subtle yet harmful. There are mainly 3 forms of Microaggressions: microassaults (purposeful discriminatory actions), microinsults (communicate a covert insulting message), and microinvalidations (dismiss the thoughts of certain groups). Different kinds of gender microaggressions are sexual objectification, second-class citizenship, use of sexist language, assumption of inferiority, restrictive gender roles, invisibility, sexist humor/jokes. According to Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, people typically don’t raise their voice against everyday sexism because it can be seen as too small to make a fuss about, but it matters. As the Women in the Workplace report also reflects, “Microaggressions can seem small when dealt with one by one. But when repeated over time, they can have a major impact.”

Let’s go back to the above example for people who could not identify what was wrong in that statement. When people use phrases like ‘strong men’, it tells that only men are strong and conversely, that women are weak. This statement does not have to be focused on gender at all. It can be rephrased as “I need a few strong people to help me lift this“, and people around can determine for themselves who the strong helpers will be. Few other examples of common gender-related microaggressions are:

  • Mansplaining – Explaining a subject to a woman in a condescending, overconfident, and often oversimplified manner with a presumption that she wouldn’t know about it.
  • Manterrupting – Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man whenever she is trying to convey her ideas or thoughts.
  • Bropropriating – A man taking a woman’s idea and showing it as his own hence, taking all the credit for it.
  •  ‘Boys will be boys’ – A phrase used to dismiss any traditionally masculine behavior and not holding men accountable for their wrong deeds.
  • Using differentiated words when describing women and men, such as ‘Bossy’ versus ‘Leader’, ‘Annoying’ versus ‘Passionate’.

The pandemic has given way to a new surge of microaggressions for working women. A law firm Slater and Gordon conducted a poll of 2,000 remote workers and found that 35% of women reported experiencing at least one sexist demand from their employer since the lockdown started. For video conferences, some women were asked to wear more make-up or do something to their hair, while others were asked to dress more provocatively. Their bosses also tried to justify this by saying it could ‘help win business’, or it was important to ‘look nice for the team’. Nearly 40% said these demands were targeted at women, rather than equally with their male peers. Also, a lot of women are being micromanaged by their managers while their male colleagues are not. This sends a message of distrust towards them. Researches have indicated that experiences with these microaggressions, and many others not mentioned above, are related to a negative impact on the standard of living, physical health as well as psychological health, such as unequal wages, migraines, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and body image dissatisfaction. As a result, women who experience such insidious, everyday forms of sexist discrimination, are three times more likely to regularly think about leaving the organization. Hence, sexism can not only impact the individual but also the overall performance and working culture of the organization. Eliminating such behavior at the physical and virtual workplace is extremely important and will enable the organization to break down the barriers for equal access to different career opportunities for leadership for women and will help include diverse thinking, perspectives, and experiences in the workplace at every level. As an individual, the most basic yet effective thing to do would be to develop an honest awareness of our own biases and stereotypes.

Unless we tackle everyday sexism, the most innovative policies and initiatives designed to advance gender equality and inclusive and effective organisations will not deliver the change we need.” – Kate Jenkins

Here’s a small story of grace and grit which might inspire some, to take a stand against such gender-related microaggressions. Back in the 1970s, when feminism was a word unheard of, an incident took place. A woman saw a job advertisement by a telecom company, which said it required only male engineers. On seeing this requirement, she wrote back a postcard to the company’s Chairman questioning the gender biases. She was then called for a special interview, where they told her their side of the story – “We haven’t hired any women so far”. To which she replied, “You must start from somewhere.” Her name was Sudha Murty, who is now Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

So, the next time when conversing with a colleague, consider all of this and be kind!

About the Author –

Priyanka is an ardent feminist and a dog-lover. She spends her free time cooking, reading poetry, and exploring new ways to conserve the environment.

Challenges Enable Change and Success

Vijayalakshmi Rajesh

In this hyper-connected digital age, one may misconceive a ‘challenge’ to be a deadlock and associate it with negativity. To me a challenge always implies an opportunity. Opportunity to explore newer ways of reaching success. I strongly believe that without challenges life would be mundane. The rapid improvements and progress we see today were challenges overcome by someone.

To solve any problem, we need to accept its existence and understand its dynamics. Only then can we come up with solutions. When I started my career as a marketing professional, I was the only lady in my team and a fresher too. I had to overcome many challenges. I always had the attitude to keep fighting. At times, I had no support as I was the only one swimming against the tide. But I never gave up!

I salute my mother for raising me to never shy away from challenges. I would like to share my memories of the wonderful days I spent with her. My mother had a charming personality. I admired her patience. She was a multitasker. To me, no one could match her skills at embroidery and knitting. Her zeal and enthusiasm towards life inspire me even today. I remember during my school days, I often found her immersed in her handiwork, which she also taught many women who subsequently started their businesses. After school, I would look at the work she had done that day. While she was busy in the kitchen, I would hold the cloth in my hand and closely examine the artwork. While the front side was beautiful, the backside attracted me more because it would reveal the effort put in to create the masterpiece. For my wedding, my mother gifted me a beautifully embroidered handkerchief. I immediately flipped it to look at the techniques used to keep the backside neat. My mother said something beautiful then. She said, “I noticed how you always check the work behind before looking at the actual finished product on the front. This goes on to show that you are a person who will view challenges first and learn through them. Never give up your attitude to fight and your eye for detail.”

My mother’s values have led me onto a successful path in CSR. I get immense satisfaction whenever I complete projects. I remember a child, about 6 years old, from the school where I built a library. She came to me with a flower in her hand which she had picked on her way to school and told me, “Ma’am we are grateful for all these books. I am going to read all the books and become a doctor one day.” I could feel my mother patting me on my back and my eyes welling up because only I knew the challenges I had to face in delivering the project. But these little things mean a lot to me.

I have recently noticed an interesting paradigm, especially among the younger generation. Some are not only fighting their own problems, but they are also trying to resolve the problems faced by others.

To quote an example. I read about Jayalakshmi from Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, India, in a leading daily. She was selected to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in the US after winning a competition. Through her plea for financial support, she secured excess funding. She then channelized the surplus funds to build public toilets in her village. She also convinced her fellow villagers who were hesitant about the idea to build toilets. To me, this is extraordinary because she has challenged the status quo and won the battle for many!

To everyone out there I would say – Challenges are just as difficult as we perceive them to be. We can overcome them if we view them as opportunities. Explore the world of endless possibilities with a fighting spirit. Today we have a vaccine for COVID, created in the shortest span of time by scientists. No vaccine has been readied from scratch in less than a year. The days of “It has always been done this way” are long gone!

About the Author –

Vijayalakshmi comes with 20 years of Marketing and Academic experience. She is the Founder and Managing Trustee at ZRII TRUST. ZRII was formed as a platform to deliver high-impact social projects through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.

Her work includes raising awareness about modern-day issues that women and children face. She is actively involved in ensuring safer and improved workspaces for women. Some of her trophy programs are under women empowerment which includes a year-long training program for women of southern Tamil Nadu, a driver training program for women to drive app-based cabs, and placement of women in factories.

Vijayalakshmi is an ombudsperson at GAVS and guides GAVS in our endeavor to be a gender-balanced and respectful workplace.

Work Life Balance is Passé – Five Atomic Habits of Women who #ChooseToChallenge

Padma Ravichandran

The goal is not to read a book; the goal is to become a reader. The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner, says James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits. When your identity emerges out of habits, it made me ponder on the atomic habits of working women, especially the ones who say, it is not difficult to have it all.  With the onset of the pandemic, social media saw a surge of people sharing a typical workday in a pandemic – and organizations started recognizing the power of authentic self –what we had attempted to fathom for years, happened seamlessly – work-life integration. But for those, who know how to Lean In and #ChooseToChallenge, have cracked that work-life balance is passé, and have been focusing on atomic habits to create Work-Life Harmony.

As we march into the month of International Women’s Day with this year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge, here are some conscious habits that I have observed, and got inspired by in Women who Lean In –

  1. Have a vision of what you want to be – and align it with your purpose and values.

Thinking long term to stay in the game, needs focus on values. With the power of visualization, hurdles are easier to surmount, and your mind is aligned to our vision and crosses the challenges that come in the way. Women who #ChooseToChallenge, focus on the traits that make them successful at work, such as organizing skills, team collaboration, transparency, which also helps them be a ‘successful’ parent! Sometimes we must find the model that is aligned with our purpose with some innovation and ask for specifics. This not only helps build trust but also enables one to create an impact.

  1. Know how to focus, when at work.

Women who #ChooseToChallenge always strive to have an internal positive monologue where work brings intrinsic joy. When we structure our day for success, prioritizing automatically falls in place. Knowing how not to take a bad day home, or vice versa takes endurance and unwavering focus. One of the key tips to staying focused is to recharge oneself. Despite the structured rituals and planning, ensuring there are pockets of freedom, where you can invest in your personal development, kindles more innovation.

  1. Understand the power of relationships.

It is not just about understanding and investing in the power of relationships at work – but in all spheres of life. Purpose-driven organizations do not have a command and control approach to work, but focus more on nurturing relationships at work, and encourage everyone to bring one’s most authentic self to work and enable you to find the right anchors and mentors. This allows oneself to ask for direction and keep rebalancing. It can even be collaborating with teachers of the kids, setting meaningful expectations with partners, or having honest conversations with co-workers, in the spirit of respect, and trust, which in turn builds a valued community of support.

  1. Define self-care, more broadly.

When one chooses to challenge, the buck doesn’t stop in taking care of health and fitness, it transcends to emotions, environment, relationships, time, resources, as self-care attributes to enhanced creativity, faster learning, a sharper memory, and of course elevates moods, which has an implication on workplace performance. Self-care at work could be surrounding ourselves with inspiring and supporting people or updating our workspace with inspiring artwork.

  1. Present yourself authentically.

When choosing to challenge, perhaps the status quo, women are mindful that it is not possible to achieve a perfect equilibrium– and know-how and where to get help when one aspect takes the center stage. We all intuitively know our authentic self but sometimes we shield it even from our own selves; it needs the courage to be authentic. Learn to say no respectfully and step away if something is veering you off your authentic self. When we are our authentic selves, it is easy to have conversations with the key stakeholders on where we need help and navigate forward to pursue what we care about the most in every aspect of our life. 

Work, Self, Home, and Community are not separate chambers with different identities. Attempting to integrate the aspects and the different roles we play in each, by focusing on the larger purpose helps us to be more engaged and productive in all the segments of life.

Reference 

www.hbr.org

About the Author –

Padma Ravichandran is part of the Talent Management Team is intrigued by Organization Culture and Behaviours at the workplace that impact employee experience. She is also passionate about driving meaningful initiatives for enabling women to Lean In, along with her fellow Sheroes. She enjoys reading books, journaling, yoga, and learning more about life through the eyes of her 8-year-old son.