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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
Purna Chandra Mahato
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Nicole Summitt is Vice President, Field Marketing & Events at Sprinklr. In this role, she focuses on strategic, practical guidance that drives relationships and business impact through connected marketing engagements, digital experiences, and events. Nicole has 25 years of experience in marketing, advertising and communications, with a proven track record of working in highly complex organizations and entrepreneurial, fast-moving environments. A creative, goal-oriented, people-first leader, she is passionate about blazing new trails and tackling the impossible.
Interviewed by Ritu Josan
// In a recent research study conducted by Grant Thornton, it was reported that only 29% of senior management positions in companies are occupied by women. What are your thoughts on the gender gap in the corporate world?
We still have such a long way to go when it comes to gender equality in the corporate world, and while progress is being made, it's not happening fast enough. The proportion of women in senior management positions was flat from last year to this year; however, it is promising to learn that there are pockets of improvement over the last year in regions like Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Diversity and inclusion, in all dimensions and at all levels, is not only the right thing to do, but studies show that both business impact and company cultures benefit from a more balanced workforce.
In order for women to catch up in the workplace, I believe we need to start with young children. Schools should fight practices that reinforce gender bias because they set a precedent for how people treat one another, and this impacts how people view themselves later in life. My middle school daughter came home one day and complained about her gym teacher giving more points to the girls when they scored in a game. I suppose the teacher thought he was making the game "even", but it made the girls feel unequal to the boys. They didn't need the extra points to have a fair game — and they didn't want them. It messaged to both the girls and the boys that even from an early age they are not seen by those in charge as equal.
In the corporate world, it is just as necessary for men to appreciate the value of women's contributions as it is for women to stand up for the value they offer. It’s as necessary for women to raise their hand as it is for them to be asked. For women to take a seat at the table as it is for them to be invited to sit.
Given the impact COVID-19 has had on our lives over the past year, I am very worried about the progress, however slow and small, we've made up until this point. Many women were torn between their caretaker role in the home versus their obligations and opportunities in their workplace. I fear many may have left their jobs or put their ambitions aside. We need to find more ways to share the extra burden women take on outside the home in order to help even the playing field in the office. Within the office, we need to offer more pathways to career progression for women that don't measure just time spent in the office but the impact of time spent. We need to recognize and welcome different leadership styles that value cooperation and participation over direct orders. We need to recognize the benefits diversity offers all of us and our society.
// Have you faced any challenges as a woman in a senior leadership position? How did you overcome them?
Yes, I’ve definitely had challenging moments at various points in my career. It seems kind of absurd now, but I remember participating in a female-focused presentation class that was really all about how we could show up more "male”. It focused on our voices, how we stood and what we wore, but not on the substance of our content; it didn't teach us how to show up and lean in with the capabilities, strengths and expertise we could offer. The positive outcome of the training is that I did become more self-aware of how I presented myself and how to better read situations to show up the best way possible — regardless of my gender.
As a senior leader, I've been in situations where I was the only female leader, which can be a bit daunting and isolating. There is a noticeable shift in the dynamic and the tone of the conversation when there isn't a mixed group. However, I like to approach every opportunity with an open mind and look for ways to find commonality, alignment and value. I'm not afraid to be vocal, and if I feel like I'm not being heard, I try again. I believe it is as much about how you decide to show up as it is how others expect you to show up. My advice in overcoming challenges is to face them head-on and don't back down. My favorite quote is by Mahatma Gandhi, and I try to live it every day, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
// What steps can organizations take to improve gender diversity across all levels at the workplace?
The first step is to see the reality that exists in their own organization. They need to measure diversity, in its many forms, at every level of the company. Then, they need to see how they feel about the results. They need to ask themselves if they are happy with their numbers based on their culture and values. If they're unhappy, then they need to be deliberate about change to set goals and to share those goals company-wide in order to hold everyone accountable. Then, the organization needs to provide the tools to improve. All employees need training, and managers need extra training, in order to understand the value of diversity and how to recognize discrimination of any kind. If employees are unable to make these changes, there need to be consequences. Gender diversity is everyone's responsibility.
// Is there anything you would like to bring to the attention of your male counterparts in the corporate world?
What I would like to tell my male counterparts in the corporate world is to be aware of unconscious bias. For the most part, I do not believe anyone intentionally means to hold back an individual or group of individuals. However, it's unconscious bias that can be the biggest obstacle to overcoming diversity issues at all levels. Equality happens when we consciously provide equal opportunities. This starts with hiring practices and recruiting from different sources to allow for a diverse interview pool. It continues by ensuring all voices are heard in meetings and different points of view are included in projects; by managers encouraging different contributors to take on stretch assignments and being open to alternative ways of connecting with team members. It's being a vocal and active advocate for diversity in every way possible.
// How has COVID-19 affected your work-life balance?
COVID-19 has had both positive and negative effects on my work-life balance. As the leader of a global field marketing and events team, I expected to travel considerably this year. Once the pandemic hit, all in-person events were canceled or moved to virtual, and all business travel was put on hold. The benefit of that is that it's kept me home with my family longer than I have been in 15 years. However, I’ve missed meeting in person with my team and seeing customers and partners at events. I've worked remotely for a number of years now, so my day-to-day work environment didn't change much. I’ve had to get used to a much busier household during the workday, with my husband working alongside me in the same office space and my kids doing school from home. It's been a bit more noisy and crowded, but we're all getting along (for the most part), and I enjoy us all being together as much as we are. It's also been fun to meet and see my team's families. To know them more by seeing where they live on video calls and having the occasional little person or animal guest make an appearance. We've definitely brought in more casual conversation to our weekly team meetings. The lines between work and home have never been so blurry, so we try to embrace that along the way.
// What are your thoughts on remote work processes in your organization? Will this trend continue even after the pandemic is over?
I expect this pandemic will have long-term effects on remote work. We've seen how much work can get done in a remote setting as well as the cost savings of those changes. I expect we will have office space and keep a global footprint, but I anticipate the office will have more temporary or "touchdown" space with few permanent desks and then larger gathering areas for customer engagements and team meetings. I also expect there to be less travel except for team offsites and essential customer engagement.
Sprinklr has done a great job adapting policies and making us feel more comfortable and connected in a remote setting with community engagements and resources. We’re going to continue these programs as the company helps employees adapt to a new way of working.
// If you could share one piece of advice with other women in the corporate world, what would it be?
Don’t wait for change to happen; make it happen. Raise your voice to bring a new idea forward in a meeting or with your manager. Raise your hand to take on a new stretch assignment that will take you out of your comfort zone and teach you a new skill. And most of all, raise up other women along the way. Speak well of each other. Mentor each other. Look for opportunities to bring other women into senior management positions alongside you.
Acknowledge the problem and be open to learning
Roopal Shah, Vice President of Distribution Enablement, Salesforce.org
Equality needs to become a pillar of company culture
Michelle Chiantera, Vice President of Americas Growth Marketing, Global Segments and Industries, and Global Partner Marketing, Cisco Systems
Building professional relationships is key to growth
Linda Palus, Former Global Vice President, Digital Marketing & Ecommerce, NewAge Inc.
Facilitating gender equality in the workplace
Lucille DeHart, Former Director (CRM, Marketing Strategy & Business Development), Bed Bath & Beyond
Women need to be forthright about their achievements
Danita Belcher, VP of Global Contact Center Sales, RingCentral. Inc