TalentNomics India Fourth Annual Conference

Leading a World where Uncertainty is the only Certainty: Talent Agility 2025

TalentNomics India successfully hosted its fourth annual conference “Leading a World where Uncertainty is the only Certainty: Talent Agility 2025’ on 15th Feb, 2019 in WelcomHotel Sheraton, Saket, New Delhi. There were over 150 participants in attendance from various national and international organizations, corporate houses, public sectors units, academic institutions and not for profit organizations. The diversity of the participants profile-leaders and potential leaders, young professionals and budding entrepreneurs from urban and rural sectors, students and passionate change makers- led to interesting and candid discussions and innovative ideas and solutions.

A brief summary:

OPENING REMARKS: IPSITA KATHURIA, FOUNDER & CEO, TALENTNOMICS INDIA

  • Today’s world requires Leadership that will lead a world where Change is the only given
  • Change is an opportunity for unlearning, learning and being agile and its the only way to survive and prosper in the world.
  • Agility and Innovation are the differentiator between success and getting wiped out. The leadership today needs to understand this and the potential leaders of tomorrow need to prepare for it.
  • If the world economy stands to gain by $12 trillion, if female labour force participation equaled men and Indian GDP can grow by 27%, if we equal the best in our region, we need to reflect on what is holding us back in fully leveraging the female talent.
  • Diversity fosters innovation. Today’s eminent speakers and diverse participants will help come out with innovative ideas to make a difference.
  • To start a wave, each of us needs to go back with just two new ideas about building leadership talent that is inclusive and can effectively lead in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DEBJANI GHOSH, PRESIDENT, NASSCOM

  • The one who does not fit in a roomful of people is the one who has the potential to be the strongest leader, and, this person can turn this fact to his/her advantage.
  • In this era of constant change we must all learn to be comfortable in being uncomfortable.
  • Pace of change is no more Incremental but is Exponential. We are used to the dealing with incremental change, but leaders of tomorrow need to now build capacity to manage exponential change.
  • There is no harm in thinking that you have a game plan. But for sure, adhering to that game plan could be your loss. Constant scanning of the environment and adapting the game plan is the need of the day.
  • A key need for leaders is to build trust. Every single thing that you say, you have to be trusted. Authenticity today is the most valuable tool of leadership.
  • In today’s world it’s not the big fish but the fast fish that eats all other fish. How fast you move will determine your success.  How quickly you are able to get insights from technology matters.

SESSION 1: RIDE THE WAVES

(From left to right)

PRABHA CHANDRAN, Sr. Journalist, Consultant with Economic Times and World Bank
(Moderator)

OONA STOCK, Chief Human Resources Officer, CDPQ

ROHIT THAKUR, MD – India Geographic Unit HR Lead, Accenture

RAJAT KATHURIA, Director and CEO, ICRIER

MANISH KUMAR, MD & CEO, National Skills Development Corporation

  • Leadership will mean team work. There will be no one leader who knows it all and takes all decisions.
  • To succeed in this world, we need more agility, out of the box thinking, less rigidity, more collaboration, more diversity of thoughts and ideas.
  • Very Bold Leadership is the need of the day- leadership which is not nervous of setting innovative policies, implementing them for women workforce.
  • For encouraging more women to come to leadership roles we need Career Reboot Plans. Setting up role models and mentoring are also very important.
  • Organizations need to consciously hire more women.
  • It is essential for initiatives and policies to move from being ‘only for women’ to ‘along with men’. The partnering must happen.
  • An environment of trust and authenticity for engaging and encouraging bottoms up conversations is required, which allows leadership to evolve from ground below.
  • Peer mentoring would help women. To get more women into the workforce, ‘Carrot and Stick’ strategy to be followed. Carrot in terms of policy changes and incentives to hire and retain more women and sticks in terms of measurements and consequences for not meeting the set targets.
  • 50% participants of the NSDC’s programs are women and in times to come the women in the workforce will increase.

SESSION 2: SHED AND ADAPT

(From left to right)

ANIL PADMANABHAN, Managing Editor, MINT

(Moderator)

SANGEETA SINGH, Partner, Sanguine Consultant, Independent Director

ANNIE KOSHI, Principal, St. Mary’s School, New Delhi

NEHARIKA VOHRA, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

DILIP CHENOY, Secretary General, FICCI

  • VUCA leaders today need to: Anticipate and respond to the change, Navigate complexity and confusion and manage communication.
  • Find yourself a mentor and someone who can sponsor you. Also, you be a mentor and sponsor someone.
  • VUCA means volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. And it could also mean excitement, mystery, adventure and diversity of perception.
  • Development happens when investment happens in education, safety and transportation. The basic reason for not sending women too far is because there is no safety and no safe ways to travel.
  • There are assumptions such as women can cooperate more and hence, they are better VUCA leaders. There is a need to question such assumptions.
  • There is something happening at the grass root level. For example, the number of SHGs is growing at the rate of 20-30% every year and with this, the number of women leaders are growing at these local settings.

SESSION 3: EVOLVE AND EMPOWER

(From Left to right)

SRIKANT SASTRI, Board/CEO Advisor, Entrepreneur, Startup evangelizer

SUDHA SASTRI, Coach-Mentor; Connector; Organization culture evangelist; Brand-builder

AANCHAL SETHI, Project Promoter, MVV Water Utility and Co-Founder, Nahi means NO.

NEETA BOOCHRA, Entrepreneur, Former President, FICCI- FLO

NIRMALA MENON, Founder and CEO, Interweave Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

(Moderator)

  • Being brought up by parents who defied gender stereotypes helps in how we bring up our children
  • Creating equal partnership at home should be the responsibility of both parents. However, sometimes we women take on the full responsibility of running the home and bringing up children because of circumstances. This is fine as long as we women get our chance to focus on what we want to do and the men/family support us.
  • Fathers can be nurturing parents too where children feel closer to them for advice. “Role reversed at home. Kids come and tell me in tears after breaking the car, and insist not to tell it to mother”
  • I advice my two sons that, “men have made this world unsafe, now you have to make it safe for girls”
  • Even within more traditional families, we women can create space for growing and meeting our aspirations and giving our girl child the freedom to meet theirs.
  • We should resolve to support our daughters get the best education and opportunities to meet their aspirations.
  • “Log kya kahenge” – Noooo!! Please don’t bother with this
  • I don’t tell my son that “boys don’t cry” instead sit with him and know what has happened. And these childhood memories are embedded when they grow.
  • I taught my son, Nahi means NO. It may be strong or polite, but it needs to be said.
  • We need to teach the next generations that “It not about being gender neutral. It’s about being gender sensitive.”

SESSION 4: REIMAGINING THE LEADERSHIP LANDSCAPE

(From left to right)

BINOO WADHWA, COO, TalentNomics India, Former CPO of Sapient and Yum! India

SHRAVANI PRAKASH, Founder, Ellenomics

SURBHI GHAI, Research Associate, ICRIER

RITVIK LUKOSE, Co- Founder and CEO, Vahura- Legal Talent Management Pvt. Ltd

SHWETA RAO, Head, Vahura OnBoard

ANITA GEORGE, Executive Vice President, Growth Markets, CDPQ

  • TalentNomics was borne out of passion to bring about gender parity at leadership and reimagine the leadership canvas.
  • One of its flagship program is CruciBOLD which focuses on the 4 C’s -Confidence, Capability, Credibility and Connection that women need to develop in their journey to leadership. Sharing of experiences and insights of global leaders on issues of challenge for women to become leaders of tomorrow and one to one Mentoring are key components of the program. These programs help to expand the pipeline of women leaders. More than 50+ women have gone through this program successfully creating a ripple effect
  • TalentNomics conferences provide a platform to learn from world class experts and progressive organizations and exchange ideas between those who care for a more inclusive world. More than 1000 change makers have participated in these discussions.
  • Leaders need to break stereotype that women are high maintenance.
  • Women professionals and non-professionals face similar problems, therefore important thing is to understand each other
  • TalentNomics’s Perception Survey How Women Friendly is your Organization” is important to understand the needs to women and to modify policies and plans accordingly in future. The pilot has thrown up many interesting results.

This Survey will help to bridge the gap between Employer’s point of view and Employee’s point of view and therefore needs to be extended.

SESSION 5: PATRIARCHY AND EMPOWERED WOMEN

INDU BALACHANDRAN, Travel Writer, Humour Columnist for Leading Magazines, Creative Workshop Director

  • The Pond’s talcum powder- This is the example of making women conscious of their color complexion.
  • The Usha sewing machine – This advertisement used housewives as the subject reflecting the cause as making any housewife a powerful housewife by giving her sewing machine.
  • The origin of patriarchy, God- A sarcastic comment on the society that has assumed God as a man. She says God made man as a rough draft of the final version, woman.
  • Women, if given a chance – Pointed on the famous example of punctuation, “woman, without her, man is nothing”, concluded that if women were given chance back in time, history would have been different.
  • Conclusion- A women’s place is in the house, the White House.

SESSION 6: EMPOWERMENT, A STATE OF MIND?

(From Left to right)

ARCHANA HINGORANI, Founder, Siana Capital

(Moderator)

SAURABH SRIVASTAVA, Entrepreneur, Investment Professional and Institution Builder

SHILPA AJWANI, CEO, Unomantra, Former MD, Tupperware India Ltd.

ZAREEN MAHMUD HOSEIN, Partner, Snehasish Mahmud & CO-Founder, HerStory Foundation

PADMAJA RUPAREL, Co – Founder, Indian Angel Network, Founder Partner of IAN Fund

  • Empowerment is a state of mind, Yes . But mindset is only the first stage. What it requires is a platform to make it sustainable and an enabling ecosystem to drive it through. Sustainable empowerment should grow.
  • An Empowered Tupperware Woman’s Story: A model for sustainable Empowerment She came from a small village who wore a burqa and believed that being a girl meant not being able to do anything and felt very bad about it. After marriage on coming to a city , she got an opportunity to become a Tupperware distributor. She worked very hard and was ably supported , encouraged and recognized by the Organization. Her husband is proud of how she has been able to raise the status of the whole family- she has bought Land, home , Car , AC. She has travelled abroad through Tupperware. She is committed to help women who have similar stories like her to become successful.
  • When you make a Difference in the life of one woman, it definitely creates a ripple effect. It not only changes the woman’s life for the better, but the lives of many others in the process.
  • Empowerment needs to be weaved in the DNA of an organization.
  • The more Confident the women leaders are, the more productive will be the women in their organization.
  • Women and Men, please extend a hand- when you are successful, make it possible for others to succeed too.
  • Literature and creative narratives of women empowered leaders through stories and comic books are very powerful forms of changing the stereotypes around Women. It helps to open up conversations for children to review, reflect assumptions around gendered roles. It is a great way of creating a positive environment for empowered role modelling.
  • Working with Teachers at elementary education, creating curriculum and using these to sensitize children to become respectful, empathetic to gender and other diversities has been found to be very useful.
  • As a Mentee, I was pushed by my Mentor to ask what’s the next milestone. The growth was in being asked the questions that made me look for answers. And it remains a lifelong challenge. I have been encouraged to believe in the path of continuous improvement. I never realized the potential within and would have never been empowered to walk this path without the mentoring I received. Learning and being a student all your life is a joy and a challenge.
  • Mentors taught me not WHAT to think , but HOW to think.
  • To dare to dream big. Charting a new path, where no one has ventured before.
  • One can empower oneself by challenging assumptions. It should become a habit.
  • A leader is actually one who has a followership. As a leader , the most important contribution is to create more leaders. To identify potential leaders with the aspirations and then providing them with the right mentorship and sponsorship is key.
  • Mentoring means providing an opportunity and to equip them with capabilities. We need to give credibility, authority and responsibility publicly and critical feedback personally. Women are comfortable leading from behind, challenge is to bring them to front.
  • Men overestimate their capabilities and women underestimate theirs. Women overjudge themselves, while men rarely do. To get a fine balance to ensure that the right capability is leveraged fully.
  • Inspire women to cultivate the confidence. They need to enrich their lives, nourish their families and fuel communities in the world.

Session 7: BOOK RELEASE FUNCTION For ‘Bold & Untold – Life & Leadership Lessons from Women who Dared to Dream’

IPSITA KATHURIA, Founder & CEO, TalentNomics India
(LEAD AUTHOR)

JUDIT ALGUERÓ  LLOP, International Communications Coordinator, Rural Development Trust Vicente Ferrer Foundation

REEMA NANAVATY, Head, SEWA

SAKHI BEN AHIR, Artisan and shareholder of SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (STFC)

RADHA MUKHERJI, Leadership Coach, former CEO, DDB, Oman

  • The inspiration for writing the book came from visiting SEWA women in Ahmedabad. With so little they had achieved so much for themselves and their communities
  • It was inspired by stories like Sakhiben. Sakhi Ben holds a Post Graduate degree and yet she chose to pursue and revive the traditional embroidery craft of her community. It has empowered not only her but her entire women’s group. It has economically sustained them and given them an identity. Stories such as Sakhi Ben are admirable case studies for the urban and corporate sector on how, with purpose and resilience, one can raise oneself and collectively raise the entire community.
  • Stories from this book can inspire each of us to find a Mayaben in our lives whose dreams we can help meet.
  • The book should be published in local languages and also should be the first of the series, a platform to share such powerful stories
  • This book has global applicability; the sisterhood concept is catching on strongly all over the world

SESSION 8: RACE TO THE TIPPING POINT!

TABLE DISCUSSIONS & SHARING INSIGHTS ON : EXPONENTIALLY EXPANDING THE LEADERSHIP TALENT POOL :

Three things we should stop, start and continue doing for racing towards the tipping point

The tables presented on their conclusions on the four topics below:

Topic 1: Parenting with a Difference : What behaviors and actions need to change at home to create equal opportunity environment/mindset that empowers girls and engages boys?

Start Doing : Watch our language and actions. Start relooking at gender stereotypes in choices of Color, Toys, Professions, Words

Continue Doing : Learn from Reverse parenting. Each learns from each other.

Race to the Tipping Point: Children don’t do what you say. They do what you do. Be the Role model for your child.  Lead by example

Topic 2: Paradigm Shifts in Educational Institutions: What can educational institution do differently to build inclusive leadership for tomorrow?

Stop Doing : Perpetuating the stereotypes and perceptions of roles and relationships. Example in school education, mostly women teachers. Similarly , in higher education, more men found in Technical and STEM areas. Similarly even in medical fields women are found more in Obstetrics and Gynecology and men in more niche, challenging, cutting edge areas of Neurosciences and Surgery.

Just as there is no fee differential for academic courses for women or men, so should there not be wage differences for men and women which is very apparent in the private sectors.

Start Doing : Change in policies and practices to attract influx of young people into academia. This a big lacunae. Will bring fresh thinking and break down existing stereotypes. Attitudinal shift required and older generation needs to let go of past paradigms and relook at the present and future with a fresh set of eyes.

Continue Doing : To have affirmative actions like quota to correct the gendered skew at entry level in higher education institutions.

Race to the Tipping Point: To make the world gender neutral – where gender as a concept is no more an issue.

Topic 3: Creating Modern Workplaces: What can modern organization do consciously to promote gender diversity at leadership levels?

Stop Doing: Don’t think I can’t do. I can do anything, everything. This attitude must be inculcated in women.

Having rigid hierarchies- hampers communication, trust, team-work, ideas and innovations.

Start Doing: When you start your own venture, first step is to prioritize your dreams. Distinguish and discriminate between personal and professional. Bring a zeal and hunger to learn new things. Keep abreast with the latest policies.

Prioritize your employees and provide space for their ideas to align with your dreams.

Bring Positive Leadership & Diversity in Leadership- multigenerational, gender, different abilities.

Have a Purpose and the will and ability to manifest the Purpose.

Continue Doing: Don’t stop on your dreams. Keep changing the goalposts for higher and bigger milestones. Always have a backup plan

Collaborate. Have teams that work with each other, Role Modelling, Mentorship.

Make work Fun.  Health and Well Being should be priority.

HR should be the fulcrum of organizations. It is not somewhere isolated, but within all functions and activities.

Eco friendly workplaces are required that do not harm our environment. Sustainable practices at the workplace that address the climate issues.

Topic 4: Building an ecosystem for gender balance leadership: Key Requirements, Actions and Legislations

Stop Doing: Using stereotyped language that assumes Pilot as a Man. From Chairman , it changed to Chairperson but not to Chairwomen. We should have women specific terms as well

Stop doing the differentiation between girl and boy from birth.

Start Doing: We women musk ask for ourselves, which we don’t do often. No one will do it for us.

Change has to begin from the basic unit of family and home.  From ONE SELF, in our mindset. Make a Commitment to Oneself to make that change, and  change  is bound to happen for self, home and family.

Value your Self Worth.  Value Capability over Gender or any other Diversity parameter .

Continue Doing : Women should continuously work towards evolving themselves to become successful entrepreneurs/professionals.

At SEWA we have already begun the changes a year ago and are seeing significant positive changes already

Race to the Tipping Point: Stop differentiating boys and girls within our households. No separate rules for boys and girls.

Having Gender Sensitivity and respect for each other’s challenges and requirements.

COMMITMENT AND CLOSING SESSION

(From Left to right)

NEERU ABROL, Independent Director, former Chairperson, National Fertilizer Limited

NEETA BOOCHRA, Entrepreneur, Former President, FICCI- FLO

  • Juhee Sinha – “I will provide communication training to RDT Girls”
  • Ritvik Lukose – “Going home and Cooking”
  • One of the RDT Girls – “I will think everything is possible”
  • Suhasini Rao – “ I will give professional email communication training”
  • Noopur Jain – “I will work on sensitization amongst men at workplace”
  • Shilpa Ajwani – “ I will mentor at least two men”
  • Rajat Kathuria – “We will raise funds to expand the perception survey”