The Force That Is A Woman – Women’s Day Special
Gold medalist, teacher, chief strategist, mother – Anita Kishore spells out her definition of a strong woman and what it means to be proactive.
Women’s Day is celebrated around the world to remember the women who inspired us and to accelerate the run towards bringing equality for them in every aspect of life. In a tête-à-tête with Anita Kishore, Chief Strategic Officer here at BYJU’S, Team Storyweavers got a peek into her life and a few tips on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
How did your journey towards learning start and where did it take you till?
My love for teaching and learning has grown over the years starting from when I was in 7th grade, going through college when I was mechanical engineer at Veermata Jeejabai Technological Institute. During my engineering years, I met Byju Raveendran while he was taking a class in my college and his style of teaching Math struck a chord with me. Despite joining Boston Consulting Group after college, I was still in love with learning and wanted to look at a future where I could spread knowledge in some form. I would work at BCG during the weekdays and teach over the weekends
How has your professional life changed its course and which was the biggest challenge you faced on the way?
I have donned multiple hats over the past few years – teaching Physics and Maths to students, to handling corporate strategy and managing investor relations at BYJU’S. The journey has been phenomenal and thee is a lot more to look forward to. Fortunately for me, the environment I worked in has always been supportive and enriching. I have a two year old daughter who I spend time with every day after work, and get back to work only after she has gone to sleep. Having a flexible and understanding organization to support you is vital for all women. I have noticed, that the challenges often reduce drastically if you plan your work out meticulously and commit yourself to the tasks at hand. It is very easy to convince yourself that having a family is enough and that you do not need to work. Stepping out of your comfort zone confidently and not giving in to negative stereotypes emerging from around you is the trick to being successful.
What are a few advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the industry
Going back to my college days, in a class of 80 mechanical engineers, only 8 were women. The ratio was and continues to be as skewed as it can get. At BYJU’S however the ratio is an almost balanced with 40% women. At a work space where women are given equal opportunities and recognition, I have faced no problems ever just because of my gender. When it comes to advantages, I feel women are genetically more toned to multitask – don different hats and take up different roles that require a varied range of skills. The most amazing aspect being, they do all this while being creative, passionate and organized. These are a few advantages women everywhere should leverage upon.
Are there some things that can be done to make a work setup more adherent to the needs of women?
Well, an organization should definitely not take it for granted that a woman will adjust to whatever it puts before her, disregarding her discomfort. Basic necessities go a long way in helping reduce the workload on working moms. In-office creches, potentially longer maternity leaves etc are aspects most companies have, but what is more impactful is a principal understanding of the fact that – “ Yes, women have lives outside of their work”. As long as an organization is mindful and does not view its women employees as liabilities, the women at an organization have nothing stopping them from giving in their best.
A woman in your life who has inspired and supported you?
My mother was a single mom and she was the reason why I felt empowered enough to never back out from work or family. She continued working and taking care of me, juggling these two responsibilities flawlessly. I hope to teach my daughter the same as she grows up so that she too can believe in her powers as a woman.
For any young girl or woman stepping into the industry, what words of advice would you have to give?
Believe in yourself and your abilities. Believe that it is possible to have a career and be an amazing mom and wife. Many women feel that the opportunities are lesser for them once they have a family, but what matters most is your will to work and being good at it. Be proactive and take up challenges, pick the right organization for yourself and leverage support from the environment.
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