Learn new skills and continuously rethink priorities: CMD at NHRDN webinar on Women at Work

Flagging the need to constantly learn new skills to broaden one’s horizon, ONGC CMD and Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal said that the focus on continuous learning and growth has contributed to her success in career. The CMD was speaking at the NHRD Network’s virtual panel discussion on ‘Decoding Double-bind Dilemmas for Women at Work’ on 14 January 2021. Dr Mittal said that due to their dual role as a working woman & a care-giver at home, women have to continuously re-align priorities between profession and family. She encouraged women to take informed decision during different stages of their career and navigate their careers by giving their best to their job. She further exhorted women to take up tough assignments and challenge stereotypes. Dr. Mittal noted that women are great at problem solving because, “they are always resolving issues, be it at home or offices”.

Sharing her experiences as a professional, Dr Mittal said that women tend to be very sincere in setting goals for themselves and achieving them. “I like to do my work honestly. I believe in living in the present and taking one step at a time, and not worry too much about the future. When I am committed to something, I stick by it,” she said. The CMD said that women have been doing very well in their professions and encouraged them to enjoy their work while maintaining balance between work and personal life.

CMD & Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal sharing her experiences at the webinar
CMD & Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal sharing her experiences at the webinar

Talking about work-life balance, the CMD said that one way to keep the balance is by engaging our families in our professional lives. “When your family understands your job and your organization understands your family, everything becomes easier,” she said. Dr Mittal mentioned that her family has always been supportive of her career and often motivated her to take on more responsibilities and excel at her work.

She shared that when she was applying to become Director (HR) of ONGC, she received full support from her family. “When you come on the board of a company, you realize that your time is not only your own. So, I was a little skeptical. However, my family told me to go for it and supported me in making that decision,” she said. The CMD also acknowledged the tremendous support of  colleagues on the board.

Women leaders deliberate on ‘Decoding Double-bind Dilemmas for Women at Work’
Women leaders deliberate on ‘Decoding Double-bind Dilemmas for Women at Work’

Speaking about building women leaders, CMD shared that ONGC has a leadership development program ‘Urjasvini’, under which 25 senior level hi-potential women are being groomed for leadership positions. She said that the Energy Maharatna has many programs for the welfare & development of women.

Speaking on the occasion, Head HR – APAC & ME The Walt Disney Company Amita Maheshwari said that she was encouraged by her mother to pursue a successful career. She said that she has always encouraged women in her team to take calculated risks. Talking about work-life balance, she said that women have to constantly juggle personal and professional lives, but we have to follow our own journey, and added that the most important thing is to be available to your family when they need you.

Also speaking, MD – PE Everstone Capital Asia Pte Board Member, Persistent Systems & JM Financial Roshini Bakshi said that her father treated her the same as her brothers. She said that she was brought up on the idea that she should learn to be self-reliant and truly independent. “I never thought to follow a linear career. I did anything that came up to me and was interesting to me. I made bold decisions and took up difficult and different jobs to push my boundaries. I have had several doubts over the year, but the joy of working has kept me going,” she said. Ms Bakshi noted that leading by example, she has taught her sons to respect women and treat them as equals.

Vinusto Founder & CEO Anshula Yuvaraj said that her mother was among the first electronic engineers and she was an inspiration for her to pursue a career. She noted that she grew up watching her mother as a professional and had a gender-neutral environment at home. “We were always taught to focus on our careers,” she said. Ms Yuvaraj said that honesty is the most important value for her. She said that life is unpredictable and added that she has always tried to do the right thing in her 23 years of work experience and valued perseverance and commitment.

The session was anchored by Head HR of Esme Consumer Sonal Kapur Sinha.