ISB Updates

ISB Celebrates Women Leaders

This International Women’s Day, the Women in Business Club at ISB hosted the inaugural edition of RISE – Celebrating Women Leaders. RISE aimed to recount and share the stories of women leaders across industries and professions. The panellists and speakers included Actor Aditi Rao Hydari, Air Marshal (Dr) Padmavathy Bandopadhyay – the first woman Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Chhavi Rajawat – the first elected woman sarpanch of the Village Soda, Lavanya Nalli – Vice Chairperson, Nalli Group of Companies and Priti Rathi Gupta – Founder of LXME and MD, Anand Rathi Shares and Stockbrokers.

RISE commenced with a welcome note by Professor Deepa Mani, who then set the stage for the Fireside Chat between Aditi Rao Hydari and Akshaye Rathi. Aditi’s words motivated the audience to introspect their perception of themselves. She said, “The day you accept yourself with your flaws, with your strengths, with your fears, with your joys, and the day you understand that who are you, that is the reason you shine, and nobody can take that shine away from you”.

The event progressed into critical discussions about the struggles women face, despite changes in the levels of education, income and awareness. The panel unravelled the journey of three strong women – Air Marshal (Dr) Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, Lavanya Nalli and Priti Rathi Gupta. In their narration, they shared how they broke away from traditions and pursued their passion.

Padmavathy Bandopadhyay was the first woman in the history of Indian Air Force to be promoted to the rank of Air Marshal. Not only this but she is also the second woman ever to gain a three-star rank in the tri-services.

Priti Rathi Gupta took to completing her education and working full time after parking her dreams at a young age of 19 when she was married. She believes that you can’t stop a person who wishes to aspire for greater things even later in life.

Ex-McKinsey and Harvard graduate, Lavanya Nalli, joined her family business and worked hard to earn her place in the company. She brought the corporate mindset in their functioning and retained ‘employees first’ belief of the company. She believes that the right amalgamation of business techniques and our core values is the key to run any empire successfully.

Following the panel discussion, Chavvi Rajawat, India’s youngest and first women sarpanch with an MBA degree, delivered an inspiring keynote. She motivated the students to work in villages to truly understand the problems that existed in our society and do their bit to solve the issues as business leaders. She shared her journey with the audience and explained what drove her towards working as sarpanch of a village in India.

The event concluded with a lively debate among ISB’s PGP students on whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far. The debate brought about interesting facts – some known, some unknown. The participants, however, came to a consensus towards the end. We hope that the initiation of such a dialogue helped not only the women to understand that they need to challenge themselves and push their boundaries, but also helped the men to realise their roles as catalysts to enable our society to move towards gender equality and achieve its potential.

RISE – Celebrating Women Leaders was the first of its kind event at ISB and was necessary to bridge the gap between industry stalwarts and the students as they step out and start their post-MBA journeys.