Diversity is what Sarika Gupta Bhattacharya of New Delhi is known for. Coming from a traditional Marwari family she got married to a Bengali, her MBA batch-mate. After her Graduation in Economics from St Xaviers, Kolkata she did her MBA from the Management Development Institute and Joined Merrill Lynch as an investment banker. After 12 years of being a banker she quit her job and became an entrepreneur in 2011. A die hard fan of Bollywood masala movies, Sarika also pursues serious hobbies like reading and painting. Parenting her biological child and her brain child keeps her going.
Shaping the nucleus
After a successful career as a banker, Sarika was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug and decided to leave the corporate world. In 2011 Sarika along with a couple of her friends started a talent Management firm – Altavis, focusing on Diversity Hiring and Consulting. “I had seen a lot of my women colleagues, friends and peers drop out of the corporate rat race due to the non inclusive environment and wanted to address the same. But once we started working with organisations as consultants, we realised that it’s not enough. The ecosystem, the society and the cultural mind-sets of people need to change and above all women need to feel that they can reach leadership positions. To build a supportive ecosystem and society which promotes inclusive leadership – we started a not for profit organisation – Biz Divas Foundation in July 2011. Since then we have mentored and impacted more than 2500 women across India,” says Sarika Gupta Bhattacharya, founder of Biz Divas who believes that you need to learn to trust your instincts and everything else just falls in place.
Providing a platform to connect learn and grow
Under Sarika’s deft mentorship Biz Divas has now grown into a platform for creating awareness on inclusive practices, conducting research and building advocacy and a mentoring space for promoting inclusive leadership. It also provides an opportunity for women to come together and raise a common
voice for promoting women’s leadership across all walks of life. “We at Biz Divas identify, invest and bring visibility to extraordinary women leaders from all walks of life through Cross Industry Mentoring programmes. Our Women on Boards programme helps women to get in Corporate Suite, Career Growth programmes supports women in mid level careers to reach leadership positions and Pay it Forward initiative makes the mentees of the past programs become mentors to pay it forward and mentor younger women,” informs Sarika who received the “Leadership in Mentoring Award” by Vital Voices and Hillary Clinton in June 2014.The programmes undertaken by Biz Divas are open to corporate professionals, entrepreneurs and NGOs. They work with women leaders as mentees who are mentored by Global and Indian CXO leaders who can be both men and women. Through various researches including Women on Boards, Inclusion in India Inc and Biz Divas blogs and magazine Biz Divas tries to promote inclusive stories, women role models and provide a mentoring networking platform through various events including Global mentoring walk and I INspire.
Widening the horizon
With four years of success as an entrepreneur, Sarika now wants to spread her wings to a broader spectrum. “We plan to launch Women on Boards initiative which will have an aspiring Board ready women directory connecting them to board positions. It will also offer training, mentoring and guidance for such women. We are also trying to raise sponsorships for an online mentoring app which would connect women leaders from all regions and walks of life and give them a platform to seek a mentor,” says Sarika, who believes that if you have an idea, you just need to execute it with good intent and a lot of perseverance.