Women have now taken their rightful place next to men as world leaders and innovators. Women have now broken the barriers of the male chauvinistic society and are working as leaders in all walks of life, whether it is business, politics, or home making.

Here we look at 3 of India’s leading female business leaders and assess what we can learn from them as mantras for a successful life.

Chanda Kocchar

CEO and Managing Director, ICICI Bank

What we learn from her: Balance

A dish is never complete and tasty as long as it is not properly balanced. Chanda Kochhar has been the Chief Executive Officer and director ICICI Bank since October 2007. A mother of two, she has been an epitome of a leader, leading ICICI Bank to become the most popular private sector bank in India. However, what we should learn from her balance, i.e. proper management of personal and professional life.

Apart from being the boss at office, she is able to let go of it all once at home and is a loving and responsible spouse and parent.

When Chanda Kochhar was appointed to the top post in 2007, her eldest daughter, Aarti was away, studying in the US. Aarti sent an email to her mother a few days later, writing, ‘You never made us realise that you had such a demanding, successful, and stressful career. At home, you were just our mother.’ Kochhar wrote, “Live your life in the same way, my darling.”

This one incident reflects that Ms Chanda has realised the true meaning of life, and understands that one has to live their life to the fullest and ensure that family always comes first. She believes a balance is what makes one happy in life and is what is important.

She has been an inspiration throughout and continues to do so even when she is not at the Chairperson’s desk. Even when the bank was going through tough times during the 2008 crisis, she still found time to go and watch her son’s squash match. Her presence at the venue turned out to be an inspiring moment for other parents who assumed that if she found time for her family during this tough time, the bank must be in good hands.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Chairperson, Biocon

What we learn from her: Never give up

It is rightly said that “smooth waters never make a skilful sailor”. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the ultimate personification of this expression.

At one point in time, Kiran was without a job, and looking to find investors and financial aid for her entrepreneurial venture. She was stuck in a male dominant industry with an offbeat business idea. People found it unnerving to invest in such a venture, added to the fact that there was a female entrepreneur in question. “I had a huge credibility hurdle to overcome. I failed to get financial support. I failed to recruit people I wanted to. The first fifteen years were all about survival”, said Kiran in an interview, looking back at her initial years of struggle.

The initial growth of her business, which was to produce enzymes for alcoholic beverages, paper, and other products, was slow. She faced discrimination and resistance both from the workers and the investors. However, she persevered and kept on working.

However, as the business started gaining credibility, she started dreaming bigger. The focus of the business was changed from enzymes to biopharmaceuticals. However, her path was still not clear of obstacles, as the first batch of enzymes they manufactured failed. A few years later, she failed again, this time at developing oral insulin.

Despite all these obstacles and struggles, she took it all in her stride, developed a Global Enterprise, and in the process, never forgot to learn from her mistakes.

All these efforts put in by her signify that focus, perseverance, and hard work are what defines a person, and etch their name permanently in the history.

Naina Lal Kidwai

Country Head, HSBC

What we learn from her: Perfectionism and self-development

A Chartered Accountant, first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard, first woman president of FICCI, first woman to channelize foreign banking operations in India. Naina Lal Kidwai is a personality that commands admiration and acts as an ideal role model for young women in India. Ms Kidwai is known to strive to attain perfection and personifies hard work and dedication.

However, like Ms Chanda Kocchar, she believes in a balance believes personal and professional life. While at office, she is the ultimate boss, pushing the organization she commands towards success and taking decisions, which most people are afraid of thinking of, but at home, she is a mother and a wife, and not the business tycoon.

Despite all these traits, what sets Ms Kidwai apart from the other leaders globally, is the fact that she never stops learning. She believes that life is a continuous learning process and is believes one is never too old to learn new things. She believes in self-development and perfectionism and thrives for that.

Vidit Jain

Vidit is a student at SSCBS, DU. The views expressed are his own based upon the analysis and research he did on the topic from various books, reports and web articles.  He regularly writes for Corporate Monks as a research associate. The writer takes person responsibility for the ownership of the content shared and incase some sources have not been given credit, you can directly mail him at-.Vidit.jain@hotmail.com

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