I never believed in glass ceilings!

Woman Leader

With four decades of audit experience, Bhavani Balasubramanian recently commenced her journey with the Avtar family. A role model for women leaders, Ms Bhavani, has done exemplary works in the industry, parallelly pursuing expertise in the D&I space.

1. A recollection of your leadership journey as a woman – Was your journey any different from the other women leaders who had to break through glass ceilings?

I was one of the first women in my profession to get into national leadership roles at the age of 30. I took up responsibilities which were in enabling areas, where I believed I could add value for the benefit of my organisation. Advancing capabilities of people was an innate passion, and all my roles were in this space and objectives – training, quality, risk, and diversity. This journey was hugely satisfying, as I directly witnessed the difference in people as they progressed. I was different from other women, as I never believed in glass ceilings! I seized all opportunities given to me and continuously volunteered to do more!

2. A couple of memorable accomplishments and a few challenges that you overcame as a leader.

One of the significant achievements was when I was asked to present my work to two overseas visitors for eight hours and was praised with a compliment at the end of our meeting. Little did I know that my work was being evaluated for selecting us into an overseas affiliation, which would grow to be a large brand.

The second one would be my association with the firm by becoming a partner. Another one of my significant achievement was when I was co-opted to serve in the Audit and Assurance Standards Board of India for seven years and wrote seven books for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Another memorable chapter was an invite by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the government of Bhutan to train their auditors for two years. A significant milestone after this was receiving the Women Achiever Award for outstanding service in the CA profession by the Chennai Citizens Forum.

3. If you had a rule book to give to women professionals, what would be the top three rules that you would share?

Those would be:

  • Time management and work-life integration
  • Resilience
  • Focus on career progression

4. How can companies be more D&I compliant?

Companies need to embed diversity into their strategy and processes. This should be followed by enabling diversity through their heightened awareness, attitudes, and actions (3As), to demonstrate their commitment to diversity. Organisations should also enrich diversity by promoting an inclusive culture where each individual could thrive at their true and high potential.

5. Embarking your journey with Avtar – Can you tell us what you are looking forward to?

By engaging with Avtar, the pioneers in diversity, I look forward to nurturing successful D&I efforts and promoting inclusive culture in organisations, through an evaluation process that would have a transformative impact in their future.


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