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eWIT's 4 th Anniversary celebrating ‘Indian Women in Global Business'

The eWIT 4th anniversary ceremony on 27 th April 2010 at Park Sheraton Hotel kicked off with an invocation followed by an introduction of the guests and speakers for the evening. Mrs Rama Sivaraman introduced the speakers and shared some observations on today's women workforce, such as women being excellent decision makers at home and being able to adapt better to changing demands from family and society than men. With globalization presenting so many opportunities to women, Mrs Sivaraman said that more women can take some of these skills to the workplace and excel there as well.

eWIT president Mrs Vijayalakshmi Rao made a presentation on eWIT and its four-year journey. She mentioned that the vision of eWIT was to help women succeed by unleashing their potential at the workplace. So far, the focus of eWIT has been on conducting training programs & workshops, research & consulting and mentoring & networking. She felt that given their inherent skills and capabilities, the IT industry could actually be dominated by women. She emphasized that sustainability of women in the workplace continues to be an issue and how eWIT seeks to address that as part of its future plans viz. expanding to more cities, tying up with industry associations, acting as the preferred voice of women, amongst others.

The event included speeches by the invitees Mr T V Vinod Kumar, Mrs Vanitha Narayanan, Ms Marcy Marcy Klevorn and Mr Andrew Simkin.

Speaking on the readiness of women to lead global organizations, Mr Vinod Kumar, Vice President RCTG, Wipro Technologies, mentioned that although the proportion of female students in the tertiary education segment equals that of male students, it reduces progressively in corporate positions. Mr Kumar outlined the various challenges posed by globalization on leaders, such as managing different cultures, integrating cross-country teams, handling language and logistics issues, reassuring customers of continued support and quality despite such changes and so on.

Addressing the topic of whether globalization increases the complexity of balancing work with life, Mrs Vanitha Narayanan, Managing Partner, Global Business Services, IBM, illustrated how globalization is no longer an option for individuals or corporates – it is indeed the New Normal, a new reality that each person has to identify with and adapt to. She emphasized that technology development has made more women excel at the workplace by bridging the gender divide and leveling the playing field. Outlining the various programs offered by IBM to prevent women from opting out of their careers due to family constraints. She highlighted that when women demonstrate talent and commitment, global organizations walk that extra mile to accommodate their new requirements and help them retain their positions of leadership within the organization despite taking on family responsibilities. Stressing on the need to plan, prioritize and network, Mrs Narayanan said the ability of a woman to transport her skills on the home front to her workplace determines her success.

Mrs Marcy Klevorn, head, global IT operations, Ford Motor Company, threw light on the various measures that Ford Global has taken to leverage the skills of women across the globe. She outlined ways in which Ford India offers flexibility to women employees to help them work around their family responsibilities. She defined “work-life integration” as the new paradigm that will govern the success of women at the workplace and stated that networking is of paramount importance even if not face-to-face. She detailed how integrating networking, mentoring and self improvement measures into everyday activities can make it easier for women to excel in their careers despite challenges.

As the last speaker of the evening, Mr Andrew Simkin, Consul general , US Consulate, Chennai, highlighted the position of women in the American workforce in historical and current contexts. He enumerated global trends that favor the growth of women in the workforce – availability of better healthcare, more access to education smaller and nuclear families and time-saving appliances, amongst others. He expressed his strong belief that these trends, along with the increasing focus on leading by influence than by authority, will bring about a rapid increase in the proportion of women in global leadership positions in the years to come.

Mr Andrew Simken also released the 4 th Anniversary Souvenir which is a compendium of interesting articles about eWIT as well as those written by industry experts, leading women professionals and prize winners. The first copy was received by Mr J. Parthasarathy, Director, STPI, Chennai. Mr Parthasarathy commended the excellent work being done by eWIT in an area that was of great importance to the IT industry. He, along with a representative from Cognizant, sponsors of the eWIT Excellence award distributed the prizes to the winners of the competition.

The evening ended with a vote of thanks by Mrs Sumithra Seshan, Secretary, eWIT. Marg was the principal sponsor for the event. The event attracted a large audience comprising both men and women across a wide range of companies.

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