On the Women's Day, Gayathri Vivekanandan, CEO, Ideas2IT talks to DQ Channels about her work.
How many women do you have in your organization at the senior decision-making level? What is this % as compared to the overall senior decision-making management?
Gayathri - In our organisation, 4 out of 7 people are women at the senior decision-making level. Percentage compared to the overall senior decision-making management is 57%.
If you looked beyond these numbers, you would understand that Ideas2IT is a company that is co-founded by a woman leader, Bhavani Raman. While Murali (Founder & Chairman) handled Technology and Sales, it was Bhavani who took care of testing, project delivery, and all the other support functions like Finance, Accounting, HR, Administration, Auditing, and Company Affairs.
So right from the beginning, we have been a company that encouraged women to take up leadership roles.
As the CEO, I oversee thebusiness strategy, client relationships, and expansion plans. I also lead Idea2IT’s delivery teams and numerous support functions. Bhavani has gone ahead to co-found and head element5, a successful spin-off venture from Ideas2IT.
Chitra Annapoorni is another woman leader in the company. She was given the opportunity to start the mobile practice from scratch. And she was given all the support in her mission. Or for that matter, Kalpana Jagdish is another leader who is entrusted with moving the needle on challenging projects.
What role do women play in directing the decision-making process even if they are not at the top?
Gayathri - At Ideas2IT, there is no differentiation created based on gender. But there is a stark difference in the way we operate. People lead to process. So we have a panel of employees (called C-Square Committee), who brainstorm on all the operational aspects of the company. This panel consists of employees with varying levels of work experience (from freshers to laterals with 10+ years of experience), and a healthy percentage of women. So in all operational aspects of the company, women do have their say.
In top business matters like strategy, expansion, etc. - the decisions are jointly taken by Gayathri, Bhavani, and Murali.
How easy or difficult is it for the women in your organisation to rise to senior positions?
Gayathri - Very easy. Here is why - at Ideas2IT, people have a plethora of opportunities to upskill - either in a particular technology (Frontend, Backend, Cloud, etc.) or even jump from one technology to another (a Front-end engineer could be trained to become a backend developer, a full stack developer could be trained to become a Data Engineer, and so on). We have numerous examples where people have undergone upskilling programs across a period of 3-4 years and have become Senior Technical Architects.
There are several formal and informal platforms at Ideas2IT for women to demonstrate their talent. Let’s take, for example, the Ideas2IT Shark Tank and Ideas2IT Hackathon. These are platforms for people to share innovative business/product ideas. If the ideas are great and are selected (Gayathri, Chitra, and Kalpana are on the selection committee ), the contributors are given funds and resources to develop or produce the idea.
And then, there is also the Ideas2IT Entrepreneur-in-Residence program (ideas2it.com/eir-programme). You could already be an entrepreneur or one in the making. You could come in with your own deep-tech idea or validate one of the ideas that we have been incubating for a while now. As an EiR candidate, you would receive support to secure VC-funding, develop the product, build the team - basically everything that is required to co-found and start a company. Once the company is founded, you will run the company as an independent profit center. If woman entrepreneurs leveraged this opportunity correctly, they could be heading a successful company before the next Woman’s Day.
How do you balance your women employees' workplace efficiency with their necessities of maternity leave, working from home to look after domestic responsibilities, etc? How do you help them to balance their both responsibilities?
Gayathri - Compassion and empathy are key qualities here at Ideas2IT. As leaders who manage teams, we have all been through tough times. It is for this reason that we have recently announced unlimited sick leave and work-from-home options for people in special circumstances.