Power of Being the Self-Ally: Leaders Speak

While the world celebrated the pride month and the international women’s day ceremoniously, ‘Power of I’, the virtual conference organized by Avtar, celebrated the success of heroes who broke the stereotypes by being the best ally one could be – self-allies! 

In the exclusive session – ‘I was my biggest ally’, sponsored by Pegasystems, that featured Ms Umran Beba, Partner – New York, August Leadership and Ms Amita Karadkhedkar, Vice President – Site head – QA for a captive of a major global bank, spoke on their journey as a self-ally, inspiring their teams and peers and reflecting the importance of being the power to oneself, before creating the power to many. Kannan Hariharan, Chief Strategist – Culture & Belongingness, Avtar welcomed the panel and initiated the exclusive session by briefing the participants on the roles and responsibilities held by the guests as inclusion leaders. “The ‘Power of I’ is incredible. And it reminds me of my favourite road sign, the ‘U’ turn! To me, there is nothing else that signifies the power of I better than that road sign. Mahatma Gandhi said, be the change that you wish to see in the world. Both of our speakers in this session have in their own way demonstrated this in their lives”, stated his opening remarks. 

In her introductory remarks, Ms Beba described, “I always find it very fascinating. Whatever happens in our past gives us the power of doing something good and something better. And I believe it is important for one to stop once in a while to reflect on the journey as a human being as a professional and understand our personal values”. Explaining her incredible journey towards being the women leader she is, Ms Beba says, “Take the others with you. That’s the challenge in these kinds of goals, if you want to move forward, improving your numbers, changing the cultures, making the workplace a better place. At the end of the day everybody has good intentions”, Ms Beba added. 

Recollecting the events of transformation, the inclusion and diversity evangelist Ms Karadkhedkar explained the most critical aspects of being the strength to oneself. “My passion is also my advocacy. Through my advocacy, I hope I can bring in individual changes in terms of behaviour, understandings of people, and at the same time, I hope it can lay the foundation for the systemic changes that need to happen in the society”. Ms Karadkhedkar also quoted examples from the past where the binary population are compartmentalized for their transformation, where individual identity is ignored due to unconscious bias that drives people even today. “So behind the garb of inclusion, we need to cross-check, are we compartmentalizing the people? In all the organizations especially, who are driving or striving hard to inclusion forward, are they really working towards inclusion and belongingness or they are compartmentalizing the workforce?” added Ms Karadkhedkar. The intriguing session concluded with a Q&A forum. Divisional Manager, Consulting & Solutions, Avtar, Ms Nisha Chandran moderated the session.

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