“The whole idea of ‘Power of One to Power of Many’ is the bedrock of D&I (Diversity and Inclusion)”, remarked Ms Shanthi Sundar, Senior People Business Leader, Pega in India, for her opening comments in the exclusive CXO panel discussion during the premier D&I virtual conference, The Power of I. Recollecting an interesting quote, Ms Shanthi said, “Diversity is about inviting somebody to a party. But inclusion is about inviting them to dance! So, this summarizes that it’s not about just bringing people together, but it’s about allowing them to be themselves”, she added. Expressing gratitude to title sponsor Genpact, associate sponsors Capgemini and Walmart Global Tech, and session sponsors HP Inc and Pegasystems, the mega-event organized by Avtar, India’s premier diversity and inclusion solutions firm conducted its pioneer virtual conference on Thursday, the 6th of August 2020. Commencing a first-of-its-kind virtual meeting pertaining to D&I, the event convened over 300 participants, including corporate leaders and HR fraternity. The virtual platform held multiple sessions that covered topics ranging from people management to organizational policy alterations, enabling business leaders across geographies convene and share their journey as D&I successes.
Addressing the panellists and participants in the first panel discussion entitled, ‘From Power of One to Power of Many’, Dr Saundarya Rajesh, Founder-President, Avtar, led the debate posing queries to the panel which hosted renowned inclusion leaders from leading conglomerates. Reiterating the importance of inclusion, and criticality of transferring power from one to many, Dr Saundarya commented on the corporate practices that may need to go for a renewal. “Intersectionality causes disruption. It causes friction. In fact, one of the things I am very fond of saying is that diversity cannot be effective if it didn’t have friction. It has to bring in that friction. And inclusion has to be that lubricant which ensures that that friction is apportioned in a way that gives benefit to the organization” opined Dr Saundarya.
To her question on creating a collective power within the organization, Vice President, Global IT, Qualcomm, Mr Ram Subramaniam replied, “The key aspect or the mantra is to connect, connect and connect. One of the things that we do as an organization is to always look for new models or new ways of working and new ways of engaging with the team because it (the world) is changing. And a lot of inputs from the team is really helping there”.
Having gathered the experiences and visions of the panellists who were inclusive leaders themselves, Dr Saundarya next moved to gain insights from Niraj Parihar, Executive Vice President, Leader – Insights and Data Global Business Line – India, Capgemini. Responding to a question on the influence of the power of one to the power of many, Niraj opined, “I think the process is important both ways. One cannot exist without the others. Typically, we associate the ‘Power of I’ with a senior person. But it is a top-down as well as a bottom-up process. When it comes to the power of one or I, that leadership exists at every level, with each and every individual! We need to be able to harness and leverage it for the benefit of others.”
With inspiring stories and experiences proving inclusion a critical aspect for social and business survival, the discussion continued in full vigour, with panellists responding to questions from the audience before the conclusion of the session. Divisional Manager – Consulting & Solutions at Avtar, Ms Nisha Chandran moderated the session.