Sucharita Eashwar of WeConnect International roots for diversity
“The glass ceiling does exist but it is up to women to break it. A lot depends on us. We should have the faith and confidence and just take that step forward and do it,” valuable words from Sucharita Eashwar, who has lived life on her own terms.
This travel buff and certified deep-sea diver has worked in the adverting sector, started two NGOs, and has done some exciting work during her stint with NASSCOM.
HerStory spoke with Sucharita about her life, work, and WeConnect International.
Sucharita is currently the India Head of WEConnect International; a Washington DC-based organisation that certifies women-owned business enterprises and connects them to global value chains. She joined WeConnect towards the end of 2011.
WeConnect International works with women-owned businesses. These are businesses that have at least 51% of shares held by one or more women. Women are at the helm and are primary decision makers. WeConnect certifies them as women-owned businesses and then connects them to the corporate members of WeConnect. Currently, they have 65 of the Fortune 500 companies. These are the big MNCs who are WeConnect members. They pay a membership fee to gain access to the WeConnect database to connect with certified women-owned businesses.
Sucharita has spent her childhood in Shillong, Meghalaya and Kolkata, where she was born. She completed her education in Kolkata as her father, an IAS officer, was transferred back to the city.
Sucharita holds an Honours degree in English Literature and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Calcutta. She started her career in the advertising. The crazy hours of the industry kept her away from her daughter, and this prompted a career change.
She went on to start two not-for-profit media organisations, Madhyam and VOICES.“At some time, I was faced with the prospect of being a single mother after deciding to opt out of my marriage. I really did have to generate more income to bring up both my children. That is when I made the third change in my career, which was to go back to the corporate sector. This was in 2000 and the IT sector had just begun to boom. So I joined an IT startup,” says Sucharita.
In 2006, she joined NASSCOM where she headed three special initiatives for the IT and BPO industries in India: NASSCOM Product Initiative, NASSCOM Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, NASSCOM Mentorship Program.
Women and change
In her experience of working and engaging with women entrepreneurs, she has seen a lot of changes in the last few years.
“I see that a lot of women today are looking forward to setting up their own businesses, which they wouldn’t have done five years ago.”
Most of the women who were working with large multinationals or IT firms too, according to her, are now opting to start their own businesses.
Many women, who take a break to start a family, don’t want to go back to a job in which they have to put in long hours. “So they see entrepreneurship as a good option, as it gives them flexibility. When they need to, they can be at home or with their children and can work in their own time and space. That is how many of them start up and this is a great development I am seeing,” she says.
“Making a difference to entrepreneurs and the little guidance or push to get them started, is what keeps me going everyday,” she says with a smile. “For example, a woman who came to meet me had a vague idea that she wanted to do something in organic clothing. I sat and talked with her about different possibilities and introduced her to different women entrepreneurs. Today, she has an online business for organic clothing for babies, which is something mothers would love because they are always looking for something that is safe for babies,” she adds.
And her one important advice to women is,
“Women need to have faith and step forward, and then they will find people around them who will support them.”
Cameraman – Manoj
Video editor- Anjali Achal