Life is not fair and easy. Especially, when it comes to a woman. She has more responsibilities to tackle and more questions to answer.
Regardless, of the speed breakers at every step, she works hard to make her own way. As it’s rightly said, “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”
Subhasri Sriram is one such successful woman who has determination and persistence for her goals to reach the top.
In an interview with DQ Channels, Subhasri Sriram, CFO, TAKE Solutions shared her story of strength and personality.
The challenges of being a woman executive in a top role
With women still pushing to reach the top, they are faced with challenges ranging from steering innovations within teams to managing the executive leadership and constantly working to improve the perception of women on the top.
A research by Thomson Reuters and Rockefeller Foundation in 2015 listed five major challenges women in the workforce face globally. These include equal pay, harassment, career opportunities, managing kids and progressing in the leadership rung and work-life balance. This hasn’t changed, however, today there is lot more awareness than it has been in the past.
Women executives, irrespective of the position they manage require a lot of support from both colleagues and people at home to be able to balance responsibilities. In numerous occasions, women are faced with dilemmas of whether to prioritize official responsibilities over the home.
The constant guilt baggage that most women carry is that work at home only be done by women efficiently and official work is gender neutral. One of the major pitfalls in women reaching top positions is this tendency to give more importance to home over official responsibilities. Most women cherish their position at home and willingly accept to sacrifice a very promising career.
A good solution to address the problem at hand, which I have tried to practice is implementing the art of delegation and building the support system at home. That way you get things going and not everything requires your complete attention.
In industries where women are employed in male dominating fields, the biggest challenge is getting acceptance among the peer group. Women are continuously under scrutiny and this adds up to undue stress.
We know challenges exist and they will continue for many more years to come, it is important to search for workable solutions, and even better, be part of the solution. Personally, I’m a firm believer in asking for help, embracing who we are and taking pride in it and more importantly being a mentor to help other women out. These are just some of the ways to move forward successfully.
I started my career with a Commerce graduation and a Cost Accountant qualification. I later pursued my Company Secretaryship post my marriage and completed my final exams which were in two parts with one taken while I was pregnant and the other with a two-month young baby to nurse!
And as late as 2 years ago I did my NALSAR Diploma Course in Cyber Laws and am currently pursuing my Certified Public Accountant(CPA) course.
True to the popular saying - Make education a continuing, never-ending process!
I come from a family of people in the business. Each of my siblings has their own business in different industries. I’m the odd one in the family of entrepreneurs handling a full-time job.
My daughter is a Lawyer by profession and my son an Engineer. My husband, Sriram and his family have been great pillars of strength and have been instrumental in my career growth. With no business background and thanks to my influence, Sriram has established his own business, while I continue to hold my job!
Working in the Male-dominated field of IT
Most IT industries have plenty of women at the entry level. As the levels progress, women drop off and eventually the boardroom is dominated by male colleagues. IT and Science industries require continuous learning combined with a deep sense of curiosity and perseverance. Women professionals somewhere down the path stop learning, obsolescence sets in and they lose their chances to ramp up in their careers.
I would like to clarify the question posed here, TAKE Solutions is not only a standalone technology company but also an organization backed with deep Pharma domain expertise. I’m a firm believer that talent and skills always find recognition. I have been very fortunate to have had a successful career trajectory which has been unharmed by any male domination.
One of my greatest blessings has been the opportunity to have worked with industry stalwarts like Shri R Vasudevan from whom I’ve learnt the art of being a perfectionist and Shri R Thyagarajan who mentored me on entrepreneurship and risk management.
Does a Glass ceiling exist?
The glass ceiling for women exists from the society's point of view but from an individual’s perspective, it is case specific and therefore for me this is not the end of the journey.
Looking at this very optimistically, women can eliminate any foreseen barriers by supporting each other and being role models. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
I prefer movies with elements of comedy and light humour, but I do not get much time for movies. Left to myself, I prefer acrylic painting and find it immensely therapeutic.
Another common belief system I embrace is “relaxation is not necessarily doing less important work, it can simply be the change of work.”
This is a very long-term plan, I’m extremely passionate to find ways to work with the young generation and underprivileged youth.
Your Fitness Mantra: Fitness doesn’t always need to deal with physical workout; I prefer an agile mind and for that to be relaxed is KEY.
Your De-stressing Mantra: Getting back home and spending time with family helps me unwind.
My personal mantra: Learn to ask for help and it is not I but WE.
Where you like to shop? Fab India, my default shopping destination
Your favourite holiday destination: Nothing like unwinding in my holiday home at Courtallam popularly referred to as the spa of South India
5 things you cannot live without: I have trained myself throughout my life to live comfortably without materialistic possessiveness
Morning activities: 30 minutes of power walk
Leaving Office at 9 am, with an hour’s worth of work done ahead
1st half in office: Participating in Leadership meetings, team meetings, telecons with various stakeholders
Work mantra: A strict policy that I always follow is to clear work every day which also includes work from our offices in different time zones. In a nutshell, my days and nights are usually longer than a typical work day!
Lunch: Mostly, lunch at the work desk. Something, I don’t subscribe but have been unable to change!
Post Lunch: Meetings and team discussions
How you spend your evenings: I enjoy the evenings through my office window watching the setting sun or listening to the gentle chirping birds!
Sleep time:12 to 5.30 am