March 08, 2021 - Enterprise Talk: International Women’s Day - An Interview with Gayathri Vivekanandan, Chief Executive Officer, Ideas2IT - Ideas2IT

March 08, 2021 – Enterprise Talk: International Women’s Day – An Interview with Gayathri Vivekanandan, Chief Executive Officer, Ideas2IT

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The 21st century is a time of equality and overcoming gender differences. And what better place to start than education. Encouraging more girls to pursue a STEM career will create equal status, break stereotypes, and improve science and technological advancement.

STEM education is a sure-shot way to neutralize the current gender disparity. From a macro-economic and social perspective, STEM industries need women too. There is sufficient research to show that having women in STEM fields improves economic stability, says, Gayathri Vivekanandan, Chief Executive Officer, Ideas2ITin an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk

ET Bureau: In your opinion, why is it important that more women enter the tech industry shortly? 

Gayathri Vivekanandan: To answer this question, let’s talk about how well the tech industry has democratized the career-building process in favor of women.

Let’s start with the basics. Several IT and Technology companies only require you to have some basic skills to enroll as a fresher. They are willing to invest the time and money to train you.

Next, I would like to discuss the work culture. IT/Tech companies have a gender-neutral work culture if they aren’t already more women-supportive.

And then there is the scope for growth. If you are smart at what you do and a quick-learner, you could quickly grow up the ranks. Unlike how it was about 20 years ago, you now have online courses and books to bridge every gap possible. Some tech employers will even sponsor your learning programs to prepare you for a bigger role. And if you have entrepreneurship skills and leadership qualities, you could start your own company. Or co-found one with Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs, like the one we have at Ideas2IT.

My last and final point is the level to which the tech industry has made it easy for working women. Most IT companies offer special facilities and working arrangements for women at various stages of life. And then you have a slew of government-prescribed initiatives like POSH and maternity leave guidelines, all of which favor working women.

It is probably for these reasons that women now make up 34% of India’s IT workforce. If you would like to leverage these industry-based benefits, you must selfishly build a career in the tech industry.

ET Bureau: What do you think we should be doing to encourage more girls to consider a career in technology?

Gayathri Vivekanandan: This starts at the familial level. There is a preconceived notion that only boys can be good at engineering, and girls are meant for medicine and home sciences (watched 3 Idiots?). This cultural stereotyping is something we need to ditch.

Additional training in subjects like Math and Science during their schooling would help too, giving them the confidence to take up a career in Engineering and an overall appreciation for technology.

Another important factor that could help is role models. Girls should fraternize with enough tech industry role models from an early age. These interactions could be in the form of guest lectures and career counseling platforms.

ET Bureau: According to you, why is it so important for young girls to have access to STEM education?

Gayathri Vivekanandan: STEM education is a sure-shot way to neutralize the current gender disparity. From a macro-economic and social perspective, STEM industries need women too. There is sufficient research to show that having women in STEM fields improves economic stability.

Take scientific research, for example – the findings are more reliable when both genders are involved. And adding women will only strengthen the talent pool.

The 21st century is a time of equality and overcoming gender differences. And what better place to start than education. Encouraging more girls to pursue a STEM career will create equal status, break stereotypes, and improve science and technological advancement.

ET Bureau: What are the barriers you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field, especially in male-dominated environments? How did you overcome them?

Gayathri Vivekanandan: For me, the barriers began at home. It was not intentional; it was just how society functioned at the time. As a girl child, I had lower freedom levels vis-a-vis boys in the family. I belong to the first generation of women who got a college education in my family.

The Indian IT industry was a lot more male-dominated two-and-a-half decades ago. I realized it was in my hands to not let this gender disparity limit my growth.

From that point on, I did not let my gender affect how I interacted with my colleagues or managers. I just took it in my stride and made the best use of every opportunity I could find.

I drew inspiration from my role models. I reached out to many mentors and read extensively on the subject. When we started doing a project at Ideas2IT for Facebook, I chanced upon Sheryl Sandberg’s (the COO of Facebook) book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” – this is a great book about women leadership, and I suggest every professional woman pick up a copy.

ET Bureau: On International Women’s Day, what is the most crucial piece of advice you would like to give to a woman thinking of beginning a career in technology?

Gayathri Vivekanandan: I would encourage women to shed their inhibitions and believe more in themselves. Whenever you need help with something, you will find it in abundance. Your support system could be a combination of online courses, books, colleagues, managers, mentors, or even your organization’s leaders.

I would also suggest to women to be picky about where they are joining. You should join a place where upskilling and accelerated growth is an integral part of the work culture. It would also help to join a company that features several women in leadership roles. They could become your support and motivation pillars.

ET Bureau: In a management position, how have you found it best to promote and nurture women’s careers?

Gayathri Vivekanandan: Keeping an open eye for people who need mentoring is key to nurturing women’s careers. This helps catch things early and opens up opportunities for course correction. The course correction could be in personal interactions, sharing a book, or enrolling somebody in a specialized course.

ET Bureau: Ideas2IT expanded into new territories in Europe and The Cayman Islands under your leadership. Would you like to share your journey to achieving such a significant milestone?

 Gayathri Vivekanandan: It feels great to be “front-ending” this achievement on behalf of Team Ideas2IT.

You see, we believe that getting all the small things right will lead to large outcomes, as a natural consequence.

I am grateful for the efforts that my team has put in. Our in-house German instructor, hiring team, and many others have worked hard to make this milestone come true.

About Gayathri Vivekanandan

As the CEO of Ideas2IT, Gayathri primarily oversees its business strategy, client relationships, and expansion plans. Ideas2IT has expanded into new territories under her leadership, with Europe and The Cayman Islands being notable recent expansions. As a versatile leader, she also plays a balanced act when she rolls up her sleeves to lead Idea2IT’s delivery teams and numerous support functions.

Gayathri Vivekanandan brings with her over 25 years of experience in global corporations like Infosys and HCL. She has deep-seated experience handling IT projects, especially for clients in the BFSI, eCommerce, and Telecom verticals.

Read this article online here.