“The women of today are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied, and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. They have one thousand generations to back them up… Millions of women; dead and gone are speaking through us today. ”
These were the exact sentiments reverberating across the auditorium yesterday during SWIM 2012.
“We must be the change we wish to see”, said our beloved Bapu once and SWIM (Successful Women in Management), I believe, is Great Lakes’ way of being the change agent rather than being a mere bystander commenting on how there are not enough women in Management!
What an experience it was! Replete with quotes like Harriet Harman’s “If only it had been Lehmann sisters” to Bono’s “As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.” to our own Uncle Bala’s, “Wake up Men! Otherwise, we have to organize SMIM – Successful Men in Management”; the event had awesomeness written all over it right from start.
Oh, and not to forget the ‘Successful’ Women and their thoughts which kept us absolutely spellbound and mesmerized during the event. The emotions and feelings one experienced is simply impossible to put down on paper (or Msword!) but since Great Lakes has made me realize “Impossible is nothing” (take a look at our curriculum and a day’s schedule and you’ll start believing it too!), I will try putting down some key takeaways from each speaker.
The pragmatic Dr. Mallika Sarabhai began with examples of Kaikeyi and surpanakha from Ramayana and how the story would be different if they were males to make a point about how women wanting power has always been looked down upon and scorned at across ages. Then she went on to say that its our fault too as we women fail to change the paradigms and allow ourselves to blend in with the flow of our lives. It’s our responsibility to do ‘atmamanthan’, decide what we really want from life and then spend our life trying to do exactly that. Only by doing this can we wake up every morning and say “Yes! Another Day!” for the rest of our lives. Being able to do that, my friends, is Success!
Then came the charismatic Nisaba Godrej, President, Human Capital and Innovation for Godrej Industries. She made an instant connection with the audience by being her honest self. And then she went on to speak about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10000-hour rule and how it is our effort that really counts and NOT the gender. She asked us to marry well (to a family with good in-laws!), pursue our passions with grit and determination and to always maintain the balance. Nisaba ended her speech with Bono’s quote to a standing ovation.
After the main speakers, it was time for an interesting Panel discussion by Ms. Mubina Ansari (Director – Marketing, Walt Disney Company India), Ms. Ruzan Khambatta (Director – N Wave Tech Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Latha Rajan (Director – Ma Foi Strategic Consultants) and Ms. Susmita Das Gupta (GL Alumni and Founder – Chief Ideator Smart Ideas) on “Do you have to be an Iron lady to be successful?”
Dr. Mangalam Srinivasan, who moderated the discussion, emphasized on the importance of respecting women for what she is and being strong enough to make oneself heard and set the ball rolling for the panelists. Then came in the live wire Ms. Khambatta who asked us to either ‘do what you like or like what you do’ as either option will make us happy. Next in line was the inspiring Mubina Ansari who asked us to leverage the so-called disadvantage of being a woman to our advantage and asked us to give our best at everything we do! Ms. Latha insisted on being a ‘Steel Woman’ as Iron tends to rust and women should be ‘rust-free’. She asked us to create an ambience of success for ourselves rather than waiting for others to do it for us. And finally, Susmita came onto the dias and asked us to give our best shot at anything and everything we do in order to succeed.
All this aside, the main thing SWIM 2012 did to me was made me realize that “I am strength. I am diligence. I am the fighter. I am a WOMAN and proud to be one!” This is what I will take with me to my grave and for this I must Thank You Great Lakes! J
Written By:- Sushree Panda, PGPM Student