Deena Mehta, MD, Asit C. Mehta Investment Intermediates Ltd.
Q. As a Woman Leader, how challenging has it been for you to succeed in your chosen field?
I had to face a lot of challenges in the early years of my career, wherein I had to put double effort just to prove my capabilities. But even after performing well, people used to look down upon me. With time, perseverance, and knowledge, I proved that I am as good as the next person.
Q. How have you been able to convert obstacles in your career path into opportunities?
Every obstacle has an opportunity hidden in it. If you can overcome the obstacle by providing an acceptable solution that cannot be discarded easily, then your progress is assured. Your mastery of the subject involved is very important.
Q. Tech industry is dominated by male leaders. How women can excel, assume leadership roles, and make a mark for themselves?
First you need a passion to understand how the technology works. There has to be a general inquisitiveness and sensitivity to everything tech around you. Once you pay attention, then tech simply absorbs you.
Q. How can we create a culture of inclusiveness and diversity at a workplace?
A culture of inclusiveness comes from a common goal. Most organisations have top leaders entering into intellectual warfare on what is best for the business and how it should be achieved. Diversity should be encouraged and welcomed by all. A contrary view generates thinking and questioning, which can lead to the improvisation of the ideas.
Q. Any incident that you would like to share that has inspired or kept you motivated in your career?
I had a unique experience when I was trying to implement certain reforms in settlement systems of the stock exchange. I was nine months pregnant and called in a meeting that had the sole agenda of belittling me and defeating the reforms. I was grilled for 3 hours without even being told to sit. It was a proud moment for me, as I managed to take my suggestions through despite a hostile environment. I did not allow personal criticism to weaken me emotionally, and I stood for what I believed in.
Q. Which is one woman personality you admire the most and why? Your message to the aspiring Women Leaders?
Smt. Leena Malhotra, the first woman IAS officer, has inspired me a lot. After Gujarat earthquake, we worked very closely while rehabilitating the affected villages. Her patience in understanding the plight of the people was amazing. She also visualised how the misuse of money spent is possible and taught us to put a process and system in place so that greed does not eat up our contributions. Though the fund belonged to the brokers and exchange, she taught us that it must be treated as our funds and the same care and caution should be exercised while spending it.
My message is – knowledge opens all doors, and perseverance allows you to stay on. Everyone and anyone can succeed in life; you just need sensitivity to discover it.
“Culture of inclusiveness and diversity comes from a common goal. And every obstacle has an opportunity hidden in it. If you can overcome the obstacle by providing an acceptable solution that cannot be discarded easily, then your progress is assured.”