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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.
Lucille DeHart is an accomplished, results-driven marketing and communications professional who held the role of Director of CRM, Marketing Strategy & Business Development at Bed Bath & Beyond from 2017 to 2020. Bed Bath & Beyond is a leading omnichannel retailer that sells a wide assortment of merchandise in the home, baby, beauty and wellness markets. In her role, Lucille led the company’s integrated marketing efforts for multiple markets and audience segments, including product curation, site UX, digital and store services, CRM, database/data flow, and omnichannel communications and campaigns. She also oversaw all content creation, print and direct-to-consumer efforts and email/social platforms. Her prior roles included senior-level leadership positions at Tristar Products, Maidenform and Polo Ralph Lauren, among other organizations.
Lucille is also a seasoned speaker and professional writer. She serves as an advisor for BOTASCI and is an active member of WIRLC, CO-LAB and The Fourth Floor. Her latest project is the creation of a digitally native brand called Yogassists. She is a yoga enthusiast and lives with her husband and household of rescue animals.
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?
I have studied and followed women as a market segment for decades. Their movement from being considered as property to securing voting rights to gaining post-war employment and recently rising to the top of the business and political world has shown how “minorities” can create a voice and pave their own path forward.
I have been fortunate in my own career to not have experienced serious gender discrimination but have seen how a woman’s professional position is still defined by her family status. Hiring agents still consider whether a woman is married, or will she be and then be distracted by wedding planning and possibly move soon after; is she in her childbearing years and will she return after maternity leave; does she have eldercare commitments and is her career contingent on her husband’s/partner’s? Fair? No. Legal? No. Still happening? Yes. Women carry the weight of childbirth. As such, they are physically at a disadvantage to attend to their medical needs. The burden of the household still falls mostly on the woman in the home. This imbalance forces choices and limits an “all-in” mentality that many executives command.
Similar to wage disparity, titles and executive positions for women have been unfairly tainted by the necessity to also manage their families and households. In effect, even the most successful women have two jobs. I have known female CEOs who do hire help but it is still they who are responsible for finding the help, overseeing the help, dealing with family medical and educational needs, and coordinating social engagements.
Sheryl Sandberg shed some light on this problem with her book “Lean In” but most women are not wealthy Facebook executives with equal partners. In order for women to break the glass ceiling, they must prioritize their commitments to stay in the fragile C-suite.
Of course, the bigger objective is for enough women to gain access to and become seasoned at the executive level so that they can affect significant and sustainable change in corporate culture. We do see some of these changes happening but they are the exceptions and are considered “perks.” Services like childcare, flexible hours, family leave and the like are still benefits mostly for women. Until we reach equality in life responsibilities, women will continue to struggle to “have it all.”
// What steps can organizations take to improve gender diversity across all levels at the workplace?
I am not a fan of manually tipping the scale to balance the workforce. I still believe that the best candidates should be chosen and rewarded so as not to compromise the collective growth and talent in an organization. That said, there is a great deal of work necessary to provide leadership on overall diversity through education. The age-old “walk in my shoes” approach is very valuable, regardless of disparity. Young workers need to understand the value of older workers even if they have different skillsets, female workers need to understand the paradigms within which their male counterparts are operating, different ethnicities should be aware of various holidays and topics of sensitivity. The fix lies in honesty, accountability and open communication. Being constantly offended is not the solution – being an active partner in moving an organization forward is how we can lift each other up.
// Is there anything you would like to bring to the attention of your male counterparts in the corporate world?
Yes, women are different. Sounds obvious but if the bar/baseline is always measured through a male lens, women will always be at a disadvantage. Men are usually taller/bigger; men are usually stronger; men have been more advantaged in mathematics and sciences (due to outdated stereotypes and prior generational focus); men have been rewarded for solving conflicts more aggressively; men have more favorable adjectives when describing themselves as assertive and outspoken; men tend to be less “hormonal/emotional;” men do not have monthly cycles that can routinely impact their overall mental and physical health; men tend to be less sensitive with their personal space; men tend to have less of an issue traveling at night, in different cities, parking further away; men don’t have to worry about necklines in fashion or heel heights in shoes; grey hair on men is not deemed unkempt – the list goes on. The point is that we are different – not better, not worse – different. Genders need to approach one another from a central point, not from their corner of the ring. Unless we meet each other halfway, one side will always be unfairly judged.
// Do you feel the gender gap is more prevalent in certain industries compared to others? If so, which ones and why?
Yes, the “boys' club” still exists more in certain industries like banking/finance/investment. Creative fields have fared much better, with progress having been made in fashion, retail, hospitality and art/design. While there are examples and exemptions across the board, a good piece of advice for career seekers is to review corporate boards of directors and industry organization advisory panels. If there is a balance there, the company will most likely reflect that mix.
// How has COVID-19 affected your work-life balance?
COVID-19 has definitely impacted work-life balance. Work has become less defined and more fluid. Colleagues consistently report that they can’t turn work off, especially in international organizations where time zones run together.
Flexibility is not about balance. If you have to work 12-hour days, does it matter if they are spread out throughout the day or clustered in the am/pm? The novelty of not having boundaries has worn off. Workers need to be able to feel comfortable with defining non-work time. Taking time off from work is still important, even if they are just spent reading and binge-watching TV shows.
Some effective tips I have found include
// What are your thoughts on remote work processes in your organization? Will this trend continue even after the pandemic is over?
Overall, I do see remote work staying post-pandemic. Organizations have seen how employees have adapted and how employees’ productivity has sustained. There are quite a few benefits:
// If you could share one piece of advice with other women in the corporate world, what would it be?
Don’t expect people or organizations to change for you. Cultural shifts are and will happen over time. But it is a collective effort. Companies are hiring you to do a job – they must be respectful and fair but they don’t owe you anything beyond your salary and hopefully recognition and support. If you accept a position and knowingly understand the benefits and what is expected of you, you should not expect the rules to change when you want them to for your own benefit. Yes, companies make exceptions all the time, but that is from a place of trust and built-up equity. Be more discriminating before you accept a position. If employees work late or over weekends, don’t be surprised if you are required to do so as well. If the management team lacks diversity, don’t be upset to discover that there are no change agents at the top. If you notice the employee pool is young, be suspect of ageism. Be intentional and mindful in your choices and you will have more options down the road.
Also, as an aside, find out about and negotiate your severance. No one goes into a role wanting to leave or is hired with the intention of being let go. However, it is a smart business practice to consider your out clause when you join a company
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.
Eliminating gender bias starts with children
Nicole Summitt, Vice President, Field Marketing & Events, Sprinklr
Women need to be forthright about their achievements
Danita Belcher, VP of Global Contact Center Sales, RingCentral. Inc