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HomeNewsInterviewsAssertiveness and open dialogue are key to overcoming DEI challenges: Pratiti Bhaumik, Virtusa

Assertiveness and open dialogue are key to overcoming DEI challenges: Pratiti Bhaumik, Virtusa

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“Challenges associated with gender equity and inclusion are reflective of broader societal issues. Overcoming these hurdles needed assertiveness and fostering open dialogue to address biases and misconceptions,” said Pratiti Bhaumik, Senior Vice President, HR Corporate, Virtusa.

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Significant progress is being made in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) space, with many organisations adopting comprehensive strategies to foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment. 

The good part is that these initiatives are not just about meeting quotas or ticking boxes; they are about bringing real change in corporate culture, enhancing creativity, and ensuring that every employee feels valued and understood.

However, overcoming the hurdles associated with DEI requires more than just goodwill; it necessitates a deliberate and assertive approach. According to a senior industry leader, to truly address the underlying biases and misconceptions that can pervade workplace environments, fostering open dialogue is essential. 

In an interview with TechObserver.in, , Senior Vice President, HR Corporate, said, “Challenges associated with gender equity and inclusion are reflective of broader societal issues. Overcoming these hurdles needed assertiveness and fostering open dialogue to address biases and misconceptions.,”

Edited Excerpts:

In your capacity as Senior Vice President, HR Corporate at Virtusa, could you provide an insight into a specific instance where you successfully infused Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) values into your leadership strategy or into the strategic initiatives of the organisation?

 Certainly. One example of integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles into our leadership approach or organisational initiatives is through the implementation of inclusive hiring practices. By revising our recruitment processes to ensure diverse candidate pools and unbiased selection criteria, we aimed to foster a more inclusive environment where all individuals feel valued and respected.

The impact of this integration on our team or organisational culture is significant. It promoted collaboration, creativity, and a sense of belonging among employees from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, it facilitated richer problem-solving and decision-making processes by incorporating a variety of perspectives. Moreover, it contributed to enhanced employee morale and retention as everyone could see themselves represented and supported within the organisation.

As a woman leader, what has been your biggest challenge related to gender equity or inclusion, and how did you address it

In navigating my career as a woman leader in the technology sector, I've encountered challenges associated with gender equity and inclusion, which are reflective of broader societal issues. Overcoming these hurdles needed assertiveness and fostering open dialogue to address biases and misconceptions. Each challenge presented opportunities for personal and professional growth, reinforcing my dedication to advocating for gender equity and supporting the advancement of women in leadership roles. Moving forward, I am committed to collaborating across sectors to ensure fair representation of women in the tech workforce, contributing to a more inclusive industry landscape.

How do you ensure your leadership principles complement the company's ESG objectives?

I align my personal leadership values with our organisation's ESG goals by integrating sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance into my leadership approach. It ensures that our decisions and actions prioritise environmental sustainability, social impact, and ethical conduct. By actively promoting these values within our organisation, I contribute to achieving our ESG objectives and fostering a positive impact on our stakeholders and the broader community. 

Mentorship can play a crucial role in professional development. Could you share an impactful mentorship moment you've experienced? How did it influence you or your mentee? 

During my professional journey, I've had the chance to mentor others, which has greatly impacted my leadership style and views on empowerment. For example, I assisted a colleague during a career transition, offering support, guidance, and drawing from my own experiences. This particular experience underscored the significance of empathy, attentive listening, and setting a positive example in nurturing personal and professional development. It also highlighted how mentorship can profoundly shape careers and cultivate an environment where individuals feel supported and empowered to excel.

What future changes do you wish to see for women's leadership in your industry, and how are you contributing that?

Looking towards the future, I am hopeful to witness further strides in women's leadership and empowerment within our industry. The recognition of the invaluable contributions of female leaders has been steadily growing over the past few decades, leading to the breaking down of barriers and the shattering of glass ceilings in previously male-dominated sectors. The impact of women's leadership is undeniable, bringing forth diverse perspectives, values, and approaches that enrich decision-making processes and drive innovation.

There are several steps to achieve gender diversity and empowerment in leadership roles. Firstly, fostering a culture of inclusivity and equity within organisations is paramount. Moreover, cultivating supportive networks and mentorship programs tailored to women's needs can provide invaluable guidance and encouragement for aspiring female leaders. By creating spaces where women can connect, learn, and thrive, we can empower them to reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the industry.

As for my part in making these changes a reality, I am dedicated to championing diversity and inclusion initiatives within my organisation and beyond. By advocating for gender-balanced leadership teams, promoting women's achievements and contributions, and actively mentoring and supporting aspiring female leaders, I am committed to driving progress toward a more inclusive and equitable future for women in our industry.

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Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla is Correspondent at TechObserver.in. She has keen interest in start-ups, emerging technologies and education sector.
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