WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH REEMA - 2nd WOMAN SAC PRESIDENT!!
Qn:Do you think gender takes priority over authority?
RM: I believe the two are independent of each other. A person can choose to assume authority irrespective of age, sex, colour and a million other factors. Likewise, a person can choose to be a leader irrespective of age, sex, colour and a million other factors.
Qn:What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? Can you explain through your experiences from college and work life?
RM: Unequivocally, the single most barrier to women leading are women themselves! We’re so concerned about what people will ‘say’, how people will react, what will happen if we fail, how we will appear to the outside world once we reach the other side – that we refuse to take even the first step.
Qn:What are the fears that you think women foresee before taking up any leadership positions? (For example, we rarely ever see women candidature for leadership positions in IIMB)
RM: I believe fear of failure is something which affects all of us, irrespective of whether I’m a man or woman, in a leadership position or not. Women, particularly, have this inherent fear of defamation. Standing up for a leadership position in a high pressure environment invariably brings the spotlight on you. For women, it might be easier to not stand up for something they believe in, rather than have the whole world deliberating on how she looks under the spotlight.
Qn:How did your experience as the SAC president help you in building your personality and career? RM: The one year as SAC president was a rollercoaster ride! It’s the same as B-School, getting in is easy, surviving it difficult! :) Being President of my batch gave me a very different perspective of life at IIM Bangalore.
It opened up new ways of communicating and interacting with my batch-mates, my professors, alumni, administrative staff and even our Director at the time, Prof. Pankaj Chandra. Intense high pressure situations forced me to learn how to look at life objectively and focus on what is important while trimming out the externalities.
Qn:Have you always been in leadership roles throughout your work / student life or was it something new at IIMB?
RM: I’ve always enjoyed stretching myself, so my activities and priorities have always been planned accordingly throughout my life – at school, my UG college as well as IIM Bangalore, and of course in my personal life as well.
Qn:Who is your inspiration when it comes to being a leader?
RM: I can’t think of a single name! If make a decision to be a leader in my work, as President of my batch or as am employee in a firm, I make a conscious choice to do the best I can, in every possible way I can. It’s really that simple. I stand by what Robin Sharma says – “Everyone’s a leader”, and when one is open to get inspired, inspiration can come from anywhere!
Qn:What encouraged you to take up the role of President?
RM: The conviction that came from my batch-mates telling me that I was an excellent Class Representative and would be an even better President! It would have been near impossible to imagine this feat and sustain it without them constantly standing by me.
Qn:Were you the first woman SAC president of IIMB? Were there other women in SAC in your batch?
RM: I’m the second woman SAC president in the last 49 years of IIM Bangalore. The previous president was Ms. Deeptha Khanna (PGP ’98), currently Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble, Singapore.