It may be true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus but August 25th 2007 was all about bringing both sexes down to the same planet. The SWIM (Successful Women in Management) event, an inspiring initiative by the Great Lakes Institute of Management showcased the need for equality between men and women. The support of our Hon. Dean Uncle Bala and an enthusiastic SWIM team ensured that the show was more than a huge success. The second edition of this initiative, SWIM 2007-2008 was held amidst much fanfare at the Tidel Park Auditorium, Chennai on 25th Aug 2007.
The theme for this year’s event was
“The New Age Woman: Redefining Power, Success and Compassion” and the tagline
“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world” was apt for the event.
After the traditional invocation and lighting the lamp, the event was kicked off by Uncle Bala’s welcome address. A tribute to Uncle’s Mother, Mother Teresa and Mata Amritanandamayi were highlights of his address. They were the people who inspired Uncle to start SWIM.
From L to R: Prof. Sriram, Ms. Jeyasree Ravi, Ms. Indra Subramanyam, Dr. Kiran Bedi, Ms. Mallika Srinivasan and Uncle Bala
Dr. Kiran Bedi was the keynote speaker and this was no surprise. She symbolized the strength and courage of women that is still largely untapped in India. Her passion to communicate the importance of leadership to the soon-to-be MBA graduates was simply inspiring. Dr Bedi told the next generation business leaders that women must aspire to acquire the 3M’s (muscle, mobility, and money) of men and nurture their own three H’s (Humanity, Healing touch and Compassionate heart) in order to be equal to men if not surpass them in today’s society. Apart from Dr. Kiran Bedi, we also had power talks by eminent women personalities including Mallika Srinivasan, Director, TAFE, Jeyashree RAvi, propreitor, Palam Silks and Ms. Indra Subramanyam, Managing Director of Ehlrich Laboratories, Chennai. They epitomized the fact that the true woman of substance was here to stay. Ms. Mallika Srinivasan had inaugurated the SWIM initiative of Great Lakes in 1995 and has been actively associated with it ever since. We also had with us, Padma Shri Dr. Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetty who along with his family has been a staunch pillar of support to the Great Lakes Family since its beginning.
The SWIM magazine was also released during the event by our four guests of honour. The magazine created in line with the SWIM theme, contains articles by successful women from various walks of life including Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chanda Kochchar, Mrinalini Sarabhai among others.
Lunch was followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion which focused on the theme “Women – How free? How Equal?”
moderated by Mr Kiruba Shankar. Kiruba is India’s No. 1 Blogger and a celebrity in his own right. He hosts the “Kiruba Show” a podcast with interviews of eminent personalities. For more on him, visit his blog @ http://www.kiruba.com/.
The panel comprised of women who are leaders in their own right and who have fought their way up the corporate ladder. The panel comprised of:
Ms. Sathya Shankar – Senior Manager ,Life Sciences Vertical, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai.
Ms. Sree Vidhya – Managing Director, D Group Securities, Chennai.
Ms. Susmita Dasgupta – Assistant Vice President, Asipac, Bangalore.
Ms. Asha Mathen – Regional Head & Vice President – South and East, Deutsche Bank.
With tremendous participation from the audience, their thoughts brought a whole new perspective to the idea of a truly free and equal woman.
Panelists: From L to R: Ms. Sathya Shankar, Ms. Sree Vidhya, Ms. Susmita Das Gupta, Ms. Asha Mathen
The need for self-confidence, work-life balance, emotional strength, dedication and the constant hunger for success were some of the key highlights of the discussion. Ms Asha Mathen made an assertive point that while a woman has to work doubly hard to make a mark in today’s corporate world; performance is what makes the difference irrespective of gender. The discussion ended on a contemplative note with speakers agreeing that despite the significant strides taken in the race to reach “equality” with their male counterparts, women today have to work doubly harder to sustain the work done by women generations before them.
The much awaited quiz conducted by “The Landmark Quiz” Quizmaster Dr. Navin Jayakumar was the other crowd-puller for the day. The six teams qualifying for the finals put on a great show as they battled it out in a four-round quiz special focussing on Women. With prizes worth Rs 20,000 for the winning team and Rs 15,000 for the runner-up the stakes were quite high! Team “Citi citi bank bank” (no prizes for guessing that they represented Citibank) turned out the clear winners. Team “Mahila-pore” from Irevna was runners up.
Dr. Navin Jayakumar with the winners “Citi Citi Bank Bank”
Overall, the SWIM event was inspiring and entertaining. With powerful and courageous women taking center-stage the event promised much and delivered much more. For all youngsters and aspiring business leaders, especially women the lessons from the SWIM event are obvious. Comparisons between men and women are only for those belonging to the old school of thought.Today, success comes from learning to co-exist harmoniously with each other. More importantly, women must always be one step ahead and strive for excellence along with equality.
-With inputs from Roopa, Shriram, Nandhini and Ashutosh