Own your career path. Without a vision for yourself, you will merely drift through life, going aimlessly from one day to the next without any real direction or purpose. More importantly, when faced with challenges, there will be no excuses for you not to drop out. This advice was from Gangapriya Chakraverti, MD, Ford Business Solutions India, to young women managers to successfully accelerate their careers.  

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Women Managers Convention 2023, hosted by Madras Management Association Chennai and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Chakraverti shared tips on staying the course drawing from her corporate journey spanning three decades. She was joined by Judith Ravin, US Consul General, Chennai; Prabha Narasimhan, MD & CEO, Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd; and Ranjani Manian, Founder - Chairperson, Global Adjustments Foundation, at the panel discussion on going the extra mile at the workplace.  

Chakraverti was challenged to step into a leadership role by her woman boss at a time when she felt settled in her job. In hindsight, she’s glad she took it. “A career gave me a new identity. It got me in touch with the strengths and capabilities I had. It opened up my world and it gave me new friends and it enabled me to do a lot of things,” shares Chakraverti.  

Changing the game

In keeping with the sentiment of women being mutually supportive of one another, Ravin, during her special address as the chief guest, said, “I might not be a Consul General if it weren’t for the many women who came before me opening up avenues in society for future generations.” As the oldest and the largest democracies, India and the US are better together. In the month of March which is seen as Women’s History Month in the US, both countries are better together for her, she said.  

Betting on your abilities, according to Narasimhan, can change the game. When Narasimhan was called to take up the role of a branch manager in Delhi during her time at Hindustan Unilever Ltd, she thought it was a case of mistaken identity. As she had no experience in sales, language was a barrier, and she was going to be the first woman branch manager if she said yes. But her boss at the time sat her down for a 10-minute pep talk and convinced her to go for it. “That experience added a lot to my leadership journey and to my confidence. Every other time I am faced with the doubt of whether or not I can do it, I think back to that 10-minute pep talk” she says.  

The dignitaries along with Gp Captain Vijayakumar, Executive Director, MMA, also presented the Outstanding Woman Manager of the Year Award 2023 to Swarna Sudha Selvaraj of TCS. The principal sponsor of the convention is Canara Bank and the convention was powered by businessline.