India as a nation has always stood testimony to dynamic women leadership. Right from powerful women leaders in the likes of Rani Lakshmibai, Ahilya Bai Holkar and Savitribai Phule have proved their mettle in administration and social reforms. Generations have passed and each of them has been a testimony to women leaders who stood up in the face of the storm to give society a renewed sense of direction.
Here are our top five dynamic women leaders of modern India whose endeavours have created a blueprint for leadership in the corporate sector.
- Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - What a spectacular undertaking Biocon India was when the whole world referred to it as a multinational company, paving the way for India’s space in the global Biotechnology arena. Biocon India currently is pioneering in the delivery of the world's first Pichia based human insulin across the globe. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has received multiple global recognition for her business model that revolves around making innovations affordable to the common man. She has also won two highest civilian awards of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for her exceptional contribution in the field of healthcare. One of the greatest lessons that millennial woman entrepreneurs can learn from her is that one vision and mission must be constantly fed with knowledge and new learnings.
- Suneeta Reddy - Suneeta Reddy, MD of Apollo Group, and director on board of Apollo Munich-Re Health Insurance Company, has been globally recognized for attracting the first direct foreign investments in the healthcare spectrum in India. With her financial acumen, she was able to put the Apollo group in the international equity market through Global Depository Receipt approach. She holds various respectable degrees and was quoted saying, “Our economy, especially if we want to reach by $5 trillion by 2025, needs our women to hold steady and increase their contribution in both formal and informal economy. Some data will make it clear that gender parity brings clear economic dividends.” This is a clear direction to women professionals of today!
- Mallika Srinivasan - Deemed as the Tractor Queen of India, Mallika Srinivasan has put women in a pivotal spot in an area which always have been represented by men in general. Mallika Srinivasan stands tall with her recognition as the woman leader of the year by Forbes in 2012 and continues to inspire women across the country. As a chairman of Tafe (Tractor and Farm Equipment Limited), her exceptional contribution to Indian agriculture revolves around the design and development of farm equipment relevant to Indian farming. The whole approach of Tafe was to develop farmer-centric machinery that would transform the rudimentary farming practices prevalent in the country. In 2005, when Tafe under Mallika's leadership acquired Eicher's tractor business giving the company a solid entry into low horsepower machines and newer markets. Cost-effectiveness, relevance and respect for end-user have been the guiding principles of Tafe as a company, and a blueprint of leadership principles for millennial trailblazers.
- ZarinDaruwala -ZarinDaruwala’s growth from being a chartered accountant to holding the position of CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in India is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Her core lessons in banking business were derived from a challenging task of managing the agribusiness at the bank. She worked her way to understand the entire supply chain and its stakeholders. Her greatest achievement revolves around opening the first rural ATM in India in 2004 and launching the scheme of disbursing loan to the farmers through debit cards. Once she took over as CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, India, in 2016, her focus was to turn around the business with a sharp focus on digital transformation. In 2018, the McKinsey Finalta report applauded SCB's digital penetration which was 12 per cent higher of their current average. Zarin’s greatest message to the millennial leaders revolves around the fact that natural talent cannot substitute for hard work.
- Alice G.Vaidyan - Deemed as the trailblazer of the Indian insurance industry. This iron-willed lady started her career as a branch manager and grew step-by-step to reach the CMD level. Her greatest contributions revolve around improving General Insurance Company's market share from 55% to 65%. Her strategic move helped her to capitalise on emerging economies and helped GIC establish a firm footing in Dubai, UK, Malaysia and Moscow. Alice G Vaidyan still leads from the front as a respected board member of many organizations such as the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the Indian Register of Shipping. Her greatest message for new age leaders is to have a strong determination to achieve the impossible.
So, from these dynamic women leaders, we all learn the vital lesson that our aspirations need constant fuelling. The fuel for professional growth is constant learning and undertaking of new challenges. In this respect, it’s a call for women professionals working or on sabbatical to explore the Advanced Management Programme For Women Leaders offered by IIM Indore in collaboration with Hughes Education. This cutting edge program would give the new age women leaders, an exposure that is a class apart and a solid network to collaborate with.