What obstacles do women face while climbing up corporate ladder? Why is Diversity and Inclusion essential for the growth of a business?  How can honing your networking and negotiation skills put you forward? These were just some of the concepts discussed at the Catalyst India WRC’s Catalyst Connects event. The panel, which took place in Mumbai, India, featured:

  • Shachi Irde, Executive Director, Catalyst India

  • Meenakshi K S, India ‎Director and Country Head Human Resources at Credit Suisse India

  • Pamela Thomas-Graham, Chief Marketing and Talent Officer, Head Private Banking & Wealth Management New Markets, Member of the Executive Board of Credit Suisse Group AG & Credit Suisse AG

  • Anjali Raina, Executive Director, Harvard Business School Research Center, India.

The panelists candidly shared their career experiences before a crowd of attendees, who were from various companies in Mumbai. Pamela Thomas-Graham spoke about her career path so far, first at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was a summer associate and then at McKinsey & Company, where she was the first African American woman to become a partner. She spoke about transitioning from consultancy into the media business as the President and CEO of CNBC and then later joining Liz Claiborne, as Group President before eventually joining Credit Suisse. Anjali Raina spoke about her career as one of the first women branch managers of a major international bank. She spoke about the struggles of an Indian career woman, from basics such as not having a ladies room in at the office she managed, to not denying herself her femininity or her interests such as art and culture as they were neatly incorporated into her professional life. She spoke at length about how she dealt with politics in her office, and how moving from a banker’s role to an HR persons role was incredibly challenging, but how she managed it.

The panel discussion was followed by a networking session.

Attendees left the session with food for thought, including:

  • The power of networking and maintaining good relationships with colleagues, classmates and professor.

  • Sometimes the best job you get is the one you never thought you’d end up getting

  • Women should always have their own money and their own place in the world

  • As you move up in your career, humility and a sense of humour can make people believe that you are authentic

  • Only accommodating women's needs in the workplace not enough, the workplace needs to be redesigned to include women

  • Be open to every opportunity, your career will do well if you choose wisely

  • Women who succeed in the workplace are those who learn to negotiate and handle conflict well

  • Work politics is about understanding a person’s agenda, once you understand what the person’s agenda is, align it with your own

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