July 17, 2014 — Welcome to the latest in our series of #WomenCan profiles, highlighting executives and experts who are Catalysts for change within their companies and fields.
Meet: Vaishali Kasture, Managing Director, Operations Division, Goldman Sachs, Bangalore, India
My first mentor: My father was my most influential role model. He worked hard to get into the prestigious Indian Civil Services. He held himself to very high standards of integrity and ethics, and was 100% committed to our country (India). His passion and commitment taught me what it meant to lead by example.
Dream job: During my school years, I told my dad that I wanted to be a businesswoman. At that time, I had no idea what that meant or what the journey would look like. Other kids my age wanted to be astronauts, scientists, engineers, or doctors. But all I wanted to do was run a company.
Recognizing potential: During the 1970s and 1980s, many middle-class families in India tended to focus on the career aspirations of the male child. But my father believed in investing in children equally when it came to education. I was encouraged to excel academically and was provided with the resources to do so, even if it meant my family cut corners on things like vacations and eating out.
Tools and rules for success: I earned an MBA from a prestigious college. I had simple rules: aspire for the toughest job, accept challenges put forth by the organization’s leadership, work hard, and try to excel, and I believed that the rewards would follow. I did not know what a mentor or a sponsor was. Having said that, senior members of my organization trusted in my abilities and believed I could go far. They were my career advisors, and in times when things didn’t go well they stood up for me—and they also cautioned with equal ease. I think they were effectively both my mentors and sponsors. I don’t work with them anymore, but often get a note from them when someone praised my work and they felt very proud of me.
Lifelong lessons: My father passed away a decade ago, but even today, when facing a dilemma, I ask myself: “If I do this, will my father be proud of me?”
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Learn how others are Catalysts for change at IAmA.Catalyst.org.