“Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory.”
– Mahatma Gandhi.
We Greatlakers chose this path full of efforts and challenges to strive towards another accomplishment – SWIM 2012 (Successful Women in Management) – a platform to interact with women who have made a mark in their respective fields. SWIM an annual event of Great Lakes since 2005 strives to develop, encourage and felicitate women leaders in various walks of life with the changing times and enhance their contributions to the society at large.
Great Lakes always had eminent speakers, influential personalities and moderators for the event, to name a few – Dr Kiranmai Pendyala, Head HR AMD and former Associate Business Director of center of leadership and excellence at ISB – 2011, Ms. Sheela Rani Chunkath, IAS, Chairperson, TamilNadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC), T.N. Seshan 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India, Ms, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD Biocon India, Ms. Anu Aga of Thermax and many others. The Might Mamallas were all set to carry the legacy of this exuberant event at campus today. Guest speakers, their welcome, stage set-up, co-ordination, arrangements were on the cards since the last week. This bright Sunday morning we left our rooms dressed up in formals to commence the day which was supposed to be “full of inspiration and real-time learning”. The theme “DO YOU HAVE TO BE AN IRON LADY TO BE SUCCESSFUL?” had already built-up lot of excitement and curiosity amongst all of us to discern the speakers’ outlook.
It raised our expectations even higher to have the opportunity to be an audience to the chief speakers Dr. Mallika Sarabhai, Padmabhushan Laureat, Dancer, choreographer, and activist and Ms. Nisaba Godrej, President, Human Capital & Innovation for Godrej Industries and associate companies. Panel of speakers consisted of Ms. Mangalam Srinivasan, Distinguished Professor Management and Director, China Study Center, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, Ms. Mubina Ansari, Director, Marketing, Walt Disney Company India, Ms. Ruzan Khambatta, Director, N Wave Tech Pvt. Ltd – a Software, Mobile applications and Cloud Computing, Augmented Reality company – and a proprietor of many such internet based firms, Ms.Latha Rajan, Director, Ma Foi Strategic Consultants, also a fellow member of the Chartered Accountants of India and Ms.Susmita Das Gupta, Founder and Chief Ideator Smart ideas, a boutique market research and market advisory company; also an alumna of Great Lakes Institute of Management.
The welcome note was presented by Dr. S.K. Shanthi, Professor at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, and also the Chair Professor of the Union Bank Center for Banking Excellence, introducing the event as the “Can do” ability of women in today’s scenario. Uncle Bala also welcomed the speakers and the audience by sharing his experiences and wisdom on importance of women in the society and highlighting the feminine characteristics of cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life in a person. He invited our very first chief speaker, Dr. Mallika Sarabhai to enlighten us with her views and experiences.
With her speech she invoked in us Atmamanthan, which in her words means to introspect “What you really want from life” and make your own definition of success. Be true to yourself to avoid the guilt trap anytime later in your life. She encouraged us to look beyond the inevitable cycle of family – responsibilities – marriage – kids, to break down the pre-conceived notions of the society and challenge the existing prejudices to achieve satisfaction. Her speech left us spellbound with the following end note – “I am willing to be hanged for what I believe in and not what I am expected to believe”.What else could you expect than a standing ovation !!!!!
The whole amphitheater swarmed with applause and we were awestruck with the next speaker coming to the podium Ms. Nisaba Godrej. Her charming presence and charismatic personality was enduring in the place and she inspired us with her advices – Equality starts with yourself, don’t act special it hinders your own growth, Pursue your passion, Work hard – women should be ready to roll up their sleeves, self-control, striking a balance, prove yourself and be real. With these thought-provoking advices she set benchmarks for the budding women managers present out there. We look up to her as a role model.
This was not all, we had some eminent personalities from various walks of life, women who travelled the hard way to make their mark and become achievers.
Dr. Mangalam Srinivasan who has been an Adviser to the Dean of Engineering at Tufts, The World Bank, and an adviser to former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi and recently joined Great Lakes as Distinguished Professor of International Management and Director, China Study Center was the moderator for the event. She also shared some of her experiences on equality and the need to be strong enough to make yourself heard. She highlighted, being submissive is no more a women’s cadre.
She invited the other panelists to throw some light on the topic and leave the discussion open.
One of the panelists Ms. Ruzan Khambatta, an enchanting, vibrant, enthusiastic lady shared her equations and thoughts with us. Some of them were, “Women is a go giver, it is in her DNA”; “Failure is the fertilizer for success”; “Failure is postponed success”; “Do what you like, like what you do”.
Ms. Mubina Ansari made us contemplate the notions of the society through her wonderful thoughts on honoring the female advantage being participatory and democratic through teamwork and creativity. She said Women are seen as timid so flaunt your strength, flaunt your skills, flaunt your sexuality. Differentiate. “Don’t leave till you have left, give it your best, give it all you have”.
Ms. Latha Rajan, coined a new term “Steel Lady” to enhance the theme and gave us insight of the treatment of women in the Indian society. She showered tremendous statistics to showcase the state of women currently but also showed us the ray of hope towards their development and advancement, concluding with “Create the ambience of success for yourself”, no one will provide you anything on platter.
Ms. Susmita Das Gupta, a Great Lakes Alumnus shared her journey so far as an entrepreneur and how Great Lakes helped her achieve her goals. She motivated us to work hard, give it your best shot as she said the “Game should be fair” to achieve the real success.
We were all mesmerized with this introspecting session which let us think over the evolution of women and the mark that they have made for themselves. We realized that it isn’t just about women; it is about society as a whole as women form an integral part of it and shouldn’t be sidelined.
Photo credits: Kishore Kumar, PGPM student