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Women in Leadership – Breaking Barriers

October 2017
Women in Leadership – Breaking Barriers


(Photo: Paul Photocrafts)

The nonprofit Indo American Community Services (IACS) organization expanded to Atlanta and held its first event, the South Asian Women’s Conference, on September 9, 2017 at the Double Tree in Roswell, GA. The theme was “Women in Leadership - Breaking Barriers.”

The conference provides women with opportunities to network, learn, and grow in their careers. Keynote speakers included Anisha Madan, VP-Finance and CFO, Change Healthcare; Kanchana Raman, President, Avion Networks; and Nithya Narasimhan, VP-Client Experience, ADP. They shared many aspects of leadership including the challenges they faced along with their personal experiences and practical advice to help professional women achieve their goals.



(Left) Keynote speakers Anisha Madan, Kanchana Raman, and Nithya Narasimhan. (Photo: Paul Photocrafts)

Anisha Madan spoke of the “big gender gap today for women in leadership,” but said that “it is getting better. The important message is that the effort matters as much as the destination.” She recommended leveraging your foundation and expertise, and challenging yourself to do more. She added that no woman is an island and suggests making smart changes and taking up calculated risks that will ultimately pay off. Anisha has worked for over 15 years in a finance leadership role in various companies. She is an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and has also completed her Executive Education in Strategy from the Harvard Business School.

Kanchana Raman talked about her path to success as an entrepreneur. No matter how hard the path gets, she said, one must stay focused on integrity as that is the foundation of any company. She said, “there is no work-life balance when it comes to women. Try living in the present, focus on a split schedule, and spend quality time with the family.” She commended participants for attending the event, and said if you are not networking, you are not working; entrepreneurs need to constantly strengthen their network and reach out to support organizations and mentors who will help them grow. Above all, she said, invest in yourself. As a chair and board member in several women’s organizations, Kanchana applauded the work of IACS supporting South Asian professionals. She holds an MBA from Goizueta Business School, Emory University to augment her broad experience in telecommunications and technology, which spans over 20 years.

Nithya Narasimhan emphasized that leadership behaviors and characteristics need to be inculcated from a young age. She says, “resilience is the key to succeeding, and how you bounce back is going to make the difference”—a positive attitude is important. Create competencies—find the competencies in yourself and in others; success is to collaborate and not compete. Nithya says, “women are making a big difference every day, and the more we rise and lift others as we rise, many women will come to the workforce and these positive behaviors is what will break barriers.” She noted that South Asian women are good at building networks in the social sphere and they should extend the same strategy to make connections at work as well. Nithya has an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a postgraduate degree in Management from the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India.

A Q&A session moderated by Katyayani Dave and Anu Sundaram followed, with questions on handling work-life balance, mentoring, entrepreneurship, personality development, etc.

Local women entrepreneurs were also featured. Uma Lakshman, Founder of the Big Bangles Theory, started with a passion to create a niche market for handmade bangles. She developed an app that helps women find their bangle size, and recently launched her online e-commerce website.

Shachi Srivastava is a self-taught artist from India and is passionate about exploring, and creating paintings that resonate with her inner thoughts. She excels in intricate and magnificent designs in her artworks, which are inspired by folk and tribal art styles from India. Shachi says, “Colors are the messengers of happiness.”

Website Bonus Feature

[Larger photos will be coming soon!]

The conference was sponsored by Dover, ITW and Numeric Technologies. The grand success of the conference is attributed to the IACS conference organizing team that included Lakshmi Nagamohan, Anu Sundaram, Katyayani Dave, Selvi Sankar, Sunita Davis, Prema Rajan, Sree Kummarapurugu, Kayal Muthusamy, Vidya Sukumaran, and Sujatha Narayanan.

About IACS:
IACS has been supporting the South Asian American Community in various cities through its Diversity Career Expos, Women's Empowerment Forums, and various conferences: Professional, Leadership, Business and Entrepreneurial, and HR. IACS provides student internship opportunities in both public and private sectors, provides free job portal, mentoring, and career counseling services. http://www.iacsinfo.org.


 Remember, we have new Website Bonus Features that are not in the print magazine. Every time you see the W symbol in the print magazine, you can go to our website to see additional print or audiovisual material!

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