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June 12, 2016

Let us Women Make More Leaders

Posted by Shamita Chatterjee (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:42 AM

You know that the world is changing for the better when we find females who are senior-level executives no longer described first by their gender, but instead by the accomplishments, education, talent, and experience that got them to the top. ( Else, just a decade or so ago, we still practiced something no different and as ridiculous as describing a man as one of the top male executives in his industry.)

That's not to say women have achieved parity with men in the corporate world. There remain a lot of glass ceilings to break. But the women who have emerged as business leaders offer amazing stories of how they got to where they did. Their lessons on determination and achievement are valuable for just about anyone interested in advancing his or her career. For instance, Caroline Ghosn is the founder and CEO of Levo, which is an ingenious digital platform that hosts the Levo League. It's a way for women to network and help each other to achieve their goals in what is still a male-dominated corporate world.

In a recent interview, Ghosn said how amazed she was early on in her career when she observed how her male colleagues advanced up the corporate ladder faster than females. She noticed that men had an informal network of mentors in place who helped each other with their careers. That network was an old and established one; a kind of cultural norm within her company. Women in the workplace tended to be more isolated. Why not form a network where women executives (and executives-to-be) could ask each other about work-related issues and develop solutions for each other? The result, Levo League, is all about fostering tomorrow's corporate leaders. And many of them happen to be women.

Leadership is an interesting trait. Some of it is inborn, but a lot of it is learned through life's experiences. As more women take senior roles in companies, there's a kind of snowball effect we're witnessing today: an increase in female executives means there are exponentially more mentors to support and help advance the careers of even more women.

Our own industry - the world of technology - has so often been described as a male bastion. But at the grassroots level there is a change that's in the making, with more females entering this hitherto male-dominated realm. thanks largely to the emphasis society has placed on making the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as accessible and fun for girls as they have traditionally been for boys. In fact, this is a cause that we at Infosys actively support through the Infosys Foundation.

Undoubtedly, the road to workplace success is a long and hard-fought one almost anyone who chooses to walk it - and especially so for women.. What might we as women leaders do - things big and small - in our own work places and outside to advance the cause of other women aspiring to be like us? I'd love to hear from you, so we can all build upon each other's ideas and  make something big by way of a difference - something bigger than all our challenges.

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