The Rising 2023: Incredible Stories of Women Leadership

The 5th edition of Rising spanned across two days and was a blend of personal narratives with informative sessions
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This year’s The Rising (powered by Fractal and in association with NTT DATA & Sify) truly shone a spotlight not only on the incredible women making waves in the tech industry but promoted diversity in all forms. Graced by the presence of heroic women, including Anju Bobby George, whose exceptional 6.70 metres jump brought India its first-ever medal in the World Championship in Athletics, and Sagarika Ghose, whose uncompromising journalism helped uphold the fourth pillar of democracy, the conference left the audience with abundance of insights and experiences.

The 5th edition of The Rising spanned across two days and included a diverse range of speakers bringing in varying perspectives, with conversations comprising topics that include data analytics, cloud technologies, work-life balance, personal journeys to tech leadership, and many more!

The event was a blend of personal narratives with informative sessions.

Meera Sanghvi, the Robotics Global Program Lead at HP, took to the stage to discuss her career journey, sharing the different roles she had assumed, and the companies she had moved to, before ultimately becoming a transformation leader.

Her words struck a chord with many in the audience, particularly when she spoke about the tendency of women to doubt their abilities and scrutinise job requirements, while men often apply for roles even when they don’t meet all of the criteria.

We also had Suja Pramod, Product Area Leader at Fidelity Investments India, who reflected back on her personal experiences to discuss the importance of an Agile mindset for a woman tech leader. Likewise there was Infocepts’ Shanti Srinivisanan giving an experiential perspective on navigating through leadership roles in data and AI, and Susmita Chaudhury, Partner at Deloitte India, who discussed the growing opportunities and role of women in technology beyond STEM.

On the knowledge front, some notable sessions include Deepika Kaushal’s engaging session on approaches to people analytics, and the key challenges teams encounter when it comes to HR data, and Moushmi Kamat’s talk on bridging the IT and OT gap in organisations. Other notable talks include Applied Materials’ Anshuma Singh, who discussed the key areas one should focus on to build a strong digital enterprise as well as Meadha Batra’s session on the need for semantic layer to get a consolidated view of data across the organisation.

To cap off the opening day of the conference, Rising hosted the nation’s pride Anju Bobby George for a fireside chat to discuss the challenges that still exist in promoting diversity and inclusion in sports and entrepreneurship. The world championship medal winner, drawing from her own experiences, explained how diversity can lead to innovation, growth, and better outcomes in both fields. Further, the day concluded with Analytics India Magazine also recognised the hardwork and dedication of women with the ‘Women in Tech Leadership awards’.

The event witnessed a range of candid conversations with technology leaders like Urvi Makhija, Neha Singh, Asha Poulose Johnson, and Shalvi Chitkara, while also hosting a range of panel discussions.

In one of the panel discussions, leaders from NTT Data joined us. “If you assume technology as an individual, the persona of technology is very attractive. It is like a superwoman. Nothing stops it,” said Srividya Ram, VP Projects and Application services at NTT Data talking about the exponential nature of technology.

The world of diversity also goes into intersectional realms where the recognition of underserved communities is equally important. And to shed light on this, we had several nonprofits participating in the discussion. Anuradha Roy Chowdhury stressed the importance of a symbiotic relationship between NGOs, government, and corporations.

“Corporates can take the step forward to get NGOs started to data collection systems and foster long data partnerships that extend beyond just the global goals week,” said Anuradha.

Similarly, Poorvi Shah spoke about the interventions that can lead to equality in opportunities and leadership. Add to this, the energising session of Prarthana Kaul, co-founder of GiftAbled, who spoke on the value that people with disabilities can create if given equal recognition. This way, the event made sure to bring the topic of discussion much beyond the visible everyday life.

The Rising 2023 also featured a robust panel discussion on the pertinent topic of “Navigating Power Structures in the Workplace to Bring about Greater Equity for Women.” Esteemed panelists Ashima Purohit, Director of Engineering at FreshWorks, Apoorva Aggarwal, Office Managing Principal at ZS New Delhi, Debashish Banerjee, Head of Innovation and Strategy at Novartis, and Saraswathi Ramachandra, Director of Analytics and Information Management at Citi, provided valuable insights into the strategies that women can employ to overcome workplace challenges.

The discussion primarily focused on advocating for oneself and others, building strong networks, and seeking opportunities to foster professional growth and development. Talking about the need for informal coaching, Aggarwal said, “I am a very strong believer of coaching and mentoring. We usually hear familiarity breeds contempt but I believe familiarity in the corporate world breeds comfort.”

The two-day event concluded with a panel discussion on inclusive leadership conversation headed by Journalist Sagarika Ghose.

Talking about how companies are trying to be more inclusive the discussion was joined by Shankaran (Shanks) Srinivasan Senior Director Engineering at Visa who said, “One solution does not fit. We have a different set of problems from what we did 10 years ago so we need to adapt and there is no cookie cutter formula.”

Agreeing with him and lauding the no name resume policy VISA follows, Ghose said, “It is the opportunities that matter. Give everyone a fair chance.”

If you didn’t have a chance to attend this premier conference of women leaders in tech, don’t worry! We have more exciting events coming up, with the next one being the Data Engineering Summit happening next month, which will focus on the up-and-coming field of data engineering. Our flagship conference, Cypher, will be announced later this year, so stay tuned to AIM to know more.

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Tasmia Ansari
Tasmia is a tech journalist at AIM, looking to bring a fresh perspective to emerging technologies and trends in data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

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