ETPrime Women Leadership Awards 2021: 13 winners recognized in various categories

Every woman has the power to inspire and empower herself, from Indra Nooyi, Falguni Nayar to Leena Nair, women leaders have made an impact in various fields and shattered several glass ceilings. Women leaders have passed through several milestones and many have contributed to their organizations’ efforts to adapt to changing consumer and workplace attitudes towards sustainability and diversity.

December 15 was a day of great celebration. Thirteen deserving ETPrime Women Leadership Awards winners were recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and great strides in the pursuit of excellence.

During the opening speech, Naina Lal Kidwai, Founder of India Sanitation Coalition and Former Country Leader of HSBC India, presented a business case for diverse workforce while sharing findings from a study on the private sector, led by the

Society. The report found that companies with a gender mix generated higher return on equity and outperform those with low gender ratios in terms of stock market performance in times of crisis and volatility. In addition, the best performing companies are almost 50% more likely to say that men and women have equal influence in strategic decisions. Additionally, investors in companies with strong gender diversity strategies receive excess returns running at compound annual growth rates of 3.5%.

Women leaders and managers with mid-to-senior level corporate mandates applied for ETPWLA 2021 through an online process. Each of the 13 award winners was selected through a rigorous selection process and covered all facets of leadership across age groups, industries and management levels. Women leaders named in various categories have revolutionized their industries and have had excellent career paths.

On the occasion of the congratulations of the winners, three members of the distinguished eight-member jury of the ETPrime Women Leadership Awards, Kaku Nakhate, Karthik Reddy and Rekha M Menon engaged in a panel discussion to share their playbook for the gender equality in the workplace. Nakhate said: “Flexible working is essential to bring more women into the workforce. Covid has sort of become an underlying benefit with many more jobs to come, women are able to do half a day’s job and re-enter the workforce. Reddy said, “If anyone has a chance to redefine gender equality, it’s startups because you are building a new form of entrepreneurship without borrowing too much as legacy issues. You can start by better serving the female workforce. Policy making can build this culture as an industry wide spectrum. Most founders who do a good job see it as much better business sense and a better return on their investment. ”

Menon prescribed: “Business leaders must view increasing the number of women in the workforce as a business imperative, not as social change. Commitment must start at the top, be visible, tracked and measured for success. Then there has to be an alignment of policies that encourage this encouragement of equality, and this has to go beyond compliance and metrics. At all levels, collaboration must occur with internal and external systems to be successful.

The 2021 ETPrime Female Leadership Awards winners are –

  • Lifetime Achievement: Naina Lal Kidwai, Founder of the Indian Sanitation Coalition and Former Country Leader, HSBC India
  • Company manager: Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO, Nykaa
  • Chairman and CEO: Padmaja Chunduru, CEO of National Savings Depository Limited
  • World Indian: Gita Gopinath
  • Beyond Business: Lakhimi Baruah, Founder, Konoklota Mahila Urban Cooperative Bank
  • Accenture Equality Champion “Vaahini”: Suman Gopalan, Director of Human Resources, Freshworks
  • HR Manager: Amita Maheshwari, HR Manager – DMED, APAC and India, The Walt Disney Company. And, Mahalakshmi R, Head of Human Resources India, Mondelez International
  • Head of Sales and Marketing: Richa Sharma, Director – Brand Marketing, PhonePe
  • Chief Financial Officer: Sudha Balakrishnan, Chief Financial Officer, Reserve Bank of India
  • Manufacturing and Operations Manager: Sukla Mistry, Executive Director and Refinery Manager, Barauni Refinery, Indian Oil Corporation
  • Technology Leader: Pooja Chatrath, Chief Information Officer, Cryoviva Biotech
  • Emerging Leader: Mehak Khanna, Deputy General Counsel, Bharti Airtel

Naina Lal Kidwai reflected on her leadership journey and said, “While it is important to push ourselves to do better, it is also important to move in the direction that is important to us. It just got a little easier for women to be recognized for who they are. They don’t always have to prove that they are better. The right environment is where we are recognized for who we are, where we don’t have to push to be recognized.

The nominees’ journey to leadership, the facets of their life journey and the advice of the eminent jury are presented in the program.
website and the
YouTube channel ET, to inspire many others to follow in their footsteps.

ETPrime appreciates the time and wisdom of the distinguished ET Prime Women Leadership Awards jury who chose the winners. The ETPrime Women Leadership Awards brought together leaders, high achievers, and trendsetters and provided a platform for them to share their inspiring journeys. The awards celebrated the relentless pursuit of excellence by women in leadership roles, recognized resilience and set an example for generations to come.

Mara R. Wilmoth