The Women in My Life – and What I Can Give Back
I consider myself a lucky man, who’s lived an exceptionally fortunate life. I say this because my life has been filled with many women in different roles who have contributed towards making me the person I am today. In fact, women have been a major influence in my life, all through, at practically every stage that could have made me or broken me.
The first, obviously, is my mother. She is a very strong lady with high determination who would never give up, come what may. Think about what you would define as a “failure.” When I was in college, I was one of the biggest failures as per that definition. My grades were low, I’d lost a lot of weight, I didn’t have any friends. “A total failure” was what people called me. In time, I began to think of myself as being worthless. I didn’t believe that I could do anything with my life.
My mother stepped in then. “Come home for some time,” she said. They were simple words, unostentatious, but they made all the difference in the world to a boy who had no faith left in himself. Those few months I spent with my mother were life-changing for me. She stood by me like a rock. She had belief in me and in turn made me believe that I could conquer the world. From then on I’ve not looked back.
I also have two sisters, who are amazing in their own way. They have taught me how to work in a group and share responsibilities. They’re younger than me, but I honestly don’t think they’d hesitate to give me a piece of their mind if they thought I was not moving in the right direction, or if I was not giving women enough respect.
Moving on, I got married. My wife is an amazingly intelligent woman, so sharp that nothing escapes her. She has taken up the role of being my chief support. She taught me to accept change, to take it head on and not worry about what happens next.
Any man would be lucky to have such wonderful women in his life, but I did say that God has been amazingly kind to me in this respect. I have two beautiful daughters. The kind of love I receive from my daughters is all that a father could ask for. My daughters are ever-changing. Sometimes they are like friends to me, and sometimes they act like my mother! At the same time, they have their own style of communicating with me. They keep me up to date on what’s new and exciting in the world. Of course, this is punctuated by them telling me that I’ve gotten old-fashioned! I keep getting advice from them, tips on how to be more “hep” and how to dress and exude my own style. Exchanging ideas with them keeps my mind sharp, and my communication skills up to par.
My Commitment as a CEO
I’ve received so much from the women in my life. As a CEO, I have always felt it’s my responsibility to give something back. It’s the same old story in many companies. The women start early. They work very hard; they build up a solid career. But somewhere along that line, they get torn between their family responsibilities and their jobs. Inevitably most of them drop out, which is sad, because the kind of contribution that women bring to an organisation is unique.
I want the women in my company to feel that they are taken care of. I want them to continue their careers and feel happy about coming to work. I want them to feel empowered, so that they can move up the ladders to become some of the most critical assets of the organisation in the future.
To this end, I and my human resources team have come up with some ideas. We are thinking of identifying the top-performing women in the company, so that they are groomed for higher responsibilities and higher roles. We also want to provide them with flexible hours of working, and the facility of working from home for some periods of time. We are also thinking of opening crèches in all the new offices we are setting up.
We are doing this because we believe that any place where women are not respected or provided enough opportunities to grow and develop, cannot be a progressive place. Once upon a time,India was one of the most progressive nations in the world and women had a very important role to play in the Indian society. That has to be recreated, for the country, for the society, and even for the company.
I’ll be very happy and proud to make a difference in my company, where women feel happy to work, more empowered and more powerful. As a CEO, this is my commitment to them.