Diversity and Inclusion in 5 Short & Inspiring Stories
The story of a Tech Ninja
I met Seema Nagar at a conference, from IBM who had 100 technical patents. During an offline conversation she said it wasn’t such a big deal and that the only difference is that she was filing patents for work she anyway does. The confidence and the humility got me thinking that women are surely paving way for themselves. It also got me thinking that Diversity and Inclusion are no longer topics discussed in closed rooms and confined to corporate blocks. Most organizations are realizing that D&I is but a business imperative and a key formula in success. So it has hit the ground and has hit the ground hard. Most organizations have gender-neutral policies and some organizations are still getting there.
The story of lost talent
A friend of mine over a decade ago quit his job at the peak of his career. Working at a top IT company, did so to move to UK to marry the love of his life. His marriage wasn’t legalized in India – but he and his husband got married in a very good ceremony and he has started working there. With an already leaky talent pipeline, I wondered if things will change for the better. But after a decade later, in India we are sitting on the fence when it comes to LGBTQ. While Section 377 is decriminalized, there is no conversation around marriages, insurance benefits etc., and anything done in this space is seen as an ‘initiative.’
The story of an achiever
My dad, Dr. Ravi Thodla, was born with Iris Coloboma and had just 15% vision from birth. My Grandparents were too skeptical to send him to school fearing bullying and humiliation. Thanks to his maternal uncle who enrolled him into a school, my dad is currently a Ph.D Scholar in Finance and has taught in multiple B-Schools and still continues to do so. He has over 45 years of teaching experience and the zeal to go on. While other colleagues of him around the same age have retired and are home, my dad is busy publishing reach articles & papers, mentoring students and misses his staff bus at times to put in extra hours of work. He hasn’t compromised his role as a son to his parents and in-laws, a husband, a father or as a brother. So what is disability?
The story of a problem-solver
A millennial – Maitri Wadher, I recently met is an entrepreneur – straight out of B-school, she started ‘The Left Out’ Store. She makes products for left handers whom she considers an under-represented minority group. She makes basic items like stationery, scissors, geometry box etc., and I was thinking as a mom of a left-handed child, this is such an inclusive thought – I felt grateful. But during an offline conversation she said with a smile, I am not a great presenter, please excuse me and I said presentation was great her idea and her passion made up for any weakness if ever she thought she had any.
The story of an ally
Suguna K is B.A.,B.Ed by education. But, due to her visual impairment, she could not secure a job and started selling candies along with her husband, B Elumalai at a Railway Station in Chennai. Noticing that she was selling candies and helping her child with his studies, a volunteer called Sujith Kumar, Founder of Maatram Foundation, and Senior HR Leader at Infosys Limited, Chennai, posted her story on social media which went viral within hours. Based on his contacts, Sujith introduced her to Nirmala Krishnan who is the principal of Mahindra World School, Chennai. After speaking with her for a while, the principal saw Suguna’s potential and inducted her as a Tamil language teacher. She is also pursuing a PhD alongside her employment and being a mom of two kids. Sometimes, our little role has a huge impact in a person’s life.