By | Neha Bagaria | Founder & CEO | JobsforHer
After all the build up, anticipation and months of hard work, RestartHer – JobsForHer’s first big offline event for women to restart their careers – was all we could have hoped for, and then some.
The energy and inspiration at the event was truly an experience, for all of us at JobsForHer as well as for the 3,000+ women returnees, who showed up energised and raring to go. More than 50 companies participated in the event as well as speakers, mentors and career experts.
The conference was packed with amazing insights from corporate leaders across industries, through three diverse panel discussions featuring speakers from Accenture, Epsilon, EY GDS, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Manipal Hospitals, Thomson Reuters, Dell; and talks from three inspiring working women – Tracy Barnes, MD, Diageo; Vaishali Kasture, Managing Director and India Country Head, Experian; and Lakshmi Pratury, Founder and CEO of INK Talks.
After Neha Bagaria’s opening address about Piecing Together the Restart Puzzle, the panel discussions kicked off with a lively conversation about how companies in India are welcoming women back to work.
The panelists who discussed Corporate India: Welcoming Women Back to Work were:
- Jaya Virwani, Diversity and Inclusiveness Head at EY Global Delivery Services;
- Girish Sharma, Senior Manager at Accenture;
- Ashish Sinha, Country Head, Epsilon and
- Kamna Prasad, Senior Professional in Human Resources/ SVP and Site HR Lead, Citi
And it was moderated by Shachi Irde, Executive Director, Catalyst, the most trusted resource for knowledge on gender, leadership, and inclusive leadership in the world.
Watch what they had to say, and what the companies that they represent are doing to bring more women back to work.
Accenture – Career Reboot Champion at RestartHer – has led the way in recognising that gender diversity in the workforce leads to innovation, and Girish Sharma urged women in the audience to be authentic and themselves when restarting their careers. Companies appreciate honesty, and there is no reason to be ashamed of taking a career break.
Ashish – India Country Head of Epsilon – reinforced this when he said that when women decide to return to work from breaks, many a time they choose a different area of work so they have greater flexibility and a work-life balance. Ashish’s advice on these lines was to be honest about one’s priorities, and why you want to change career paths after taking a break.
Jaya Virwani – Head of Diversity & Inclusiveness at EY GDS – had these words of advice for our women in the audience, on what they need to restart their careers:
Harbour the intention and build the drive within yourself to bounce back;
Learn how to sell yourself and the value you can bring to the table and
Learn how to be agile, to adapt to different situations and fast changing work environments.
Corporate India has definitely upped its game in bringing women back to work from career breaks, as was evident from this all-star panel of corporate leaders. Companies across the board are recognising that flexibility is key to providing an enabling environment for women returning to work after career breaks – and this is not being offered as charity for this talent pool.
Companies are taking greater strides than ever before in understanding what women need to return to work, and are meeting women half way – so it’s equally important that women commit to giving their very best in return.
An interesting question was posed to the panel, on whether it’s as easy for senior women, with 20+ years of experience, to restart their careers after a break. Kamna Prasad from CITI was of the opinion that such experienced candidates should find roles even after taking a break.
While there is much research on the waning number of women in higher management positions, Kamna advised women to not take no for an answer, if they felt they were being sidelined because of their age. Companies are actually not supposed to discriminate based on age, let alone gender, and the west is already moving towards doing away with a retirement age.
All in all, it was a vibrant discussion to kick off RestartHer 2017, and immensely insightful for the women restarters in the audience.
If your company would like to get on board and gain access to this amazing talent pool, write to email@example.com TODAY!