November 22, 2016

Tata Sons joins four companies for the second edition of a unique women leadership programme

  • ‘Reach Out 2.0’ grooms 28 women leaders from 5 leading corporates for higher leadership roles
  • ‘Learning Summit’ marks the graduation ceremony of the participants

New Delhi: Leading organisations across the industry such as American Express, PepsiCo India, PwC India, Microsoft India and Tata Sons celebrated the successful culmination of the second edition of its women leadership program ‘Reach Out 2.0’ today during a formal graduation ceremony. ‘Reach Out 2.0-Learning Summit’ event marked the completion of the nine month programme which was launched earlier this year in February 2016.

A batch of 28 women leaders graduated at a day-long learning summit, which included ‘master classes’ from industry stalwarts, discussions among diversity and inclusion experts, collective experience sharing from Reach Out members and networking opportunities.

American Express, PwC India, PepsiCo India, Tata Sons and Microsoft had come together with a common vision of promoting gender diversity and develop women leaders for higher leadership roles. Reach Out 2.0, the brainchild of American Express, in its second edition had 28 senior women leaders from the five participating organizations from across five cities, namely – Delhi/NCR, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. They were groomed for higher leadership roles under the program by 15 CXOs who had signed up as mentors for this programme. Mentors like Sanjay Rishi, president, American Express South Asia; Deepak Kapoor, chairman, PwC India; Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India; Dr Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology officer, Tata Sons; and D Shivakumar, chairman and CEO PepsiCo India; played critical roles as enablers to promote women leadership during the sessions under the Reach Out programme.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Rishi said, “We would like to congratulate the participants of Reach Out 2.0 for successful completion of the programme. We believe this programme will further help them to curve a great career path. At American Express, we believe gender diversity is important for any business to stimulate innovation and growth. Through Reach Out 2.0, we have tried to create a common platform for the organisations sharing similar vision of building a greater community of women leaders and providing them professional exposure to prepare them for future senior leadership roles.”

According to Mr Pramanik, “At Microsoft, our culture and our people are the driving force behind our success. We firmly believe in the potential of each individual to make a difference, and diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of this philosophy for us. We take great pride in the diversity of our workforce and strongly advocate the need to offer complete support and necessary resources that help nurture future women leaders. Reach Out is a natural extension of this commitment and we are pleased to be associated with other leading organisations that share this common belief of supporting our women employees to scale greater heights in their professional journey.”

Talking about the program, Ms Satyavati Berra, chief operating officer, PwC India, said, “Diversity and inclusion (D&I) at PwC is a strategic focus area and not just a feel good initiative. This is an ongoing journey and we believe that by valuing differences and being diverse, we are working towards building a sustained pipeline of talented women who can take up leadership roles in the future.

‘Reach Out’ echoes our D&I philosophy and we are glad to be partners for the second edition of this programme. Personally, being a mentor to two immensely talented women as part of this programme has helped me relive my professional journey and given me an opportunity to be an agent of change.”

S Padmanabhan, executive chairman, Tata Business Excellence Group and head – group HR, Tata Sons said, “Reach Out 2.0 has provided our women leaders a unique opportunity to learn and assimilate from leaders across India Inc. This mentoring and training programme will contribute towards creating an inclusive ecosystem. This year, the Tata group companies who were part of the programme included IHCL, Tata Chemicals, Tata Capital and Titan. We see Reach Out as an integral part of Tata Lead - our group diversity and inclusion programme.”

Pratik Pota, vice president and general manager, Po1 sales commercial unit, PepsiCo India, said, “With the mantra of winning with diversity and inclusion, PepsiCo has focused on various diversity interventions across levels. From the perspective of gender diversity, one of the key interventions for senior women leaders to be prepared for top leadership positions at PepsiCo includes Reach Out. It has proved to be a unique platform for our alumni and current participants who have imbibed successful leadership practices from their peers and business leaders of other organisations. As a mentor in both editions of Reach Out, my experience has been truly enriching. I am sure the programme will continue to enable our women leaders to imbibe the learning acquired from this programme as they take on greater leadership roles in the future.”

The event commenced with a master class on ‘Power of Belief and Unconscious Leadership’ by Santhosh Babu. The second half of the event witnessed live performance by the fusion band Maati Baani. The performance was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Leading with Authenticity’ that explored whether most women leaders tend to imitate leadership styles of their male counterparts or retain their own leadership styles once they advance into key leadership roles. Panel members included Sanjay Rishi from American Express, Shyamal Mukherjee from PwC India, Richa Arora from Tata group, Madhu Khatri from Microsoft and Pratik Pota from PepsiCo India. It was moderated by Dr Asha Bhandarkar, distinguished professor IMI, Delhi.

Taking a cue from the previous year and basis participants’ feedback, key elements of Reach Out 2.0 had been further evolved to make the programme more enriching.

  • Learning sessions included topics important to succeed in leadership roles along with best practices in diversity and inclusion which were addressed by internal or external speakers through group workshops as well as peer learning sessions
  • There were also be structured coaching sessions with senior leaders from participant organisations
  • The programme also connected participants and alumni through city-based community groups by organising local networking sessions. These RO clubs were driven by RO alumni
  • Simultaneously, these efforts were replicated virtually through online communities which connected participants and alumni and facilitated seamless sharing of ideas and practices.

All the participants echoed the thought that it has improved their network of peers and helped them build a community to guide them. Most of them praised the mentoring component of the programme and highly appreciated direct and meaningful advice on career and leadership provided by their respective mentors.