Three emerging women leaders share their journey about navigating the startup ecosystem

At TechSparks 2021, YourStory's flagship startup tech event, we spoke to three aspiring women leaders to understand the gaps in the ecosystem with respect to moving up the corporate hierarchy.
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In India, less than 10 percent of women hold CEO positions. Only 80 women are promoted compared to 100 men in entry-level roles. 

As men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, there are far fewer females to hire or promote to senior managers and this number decreases at every subsequent level.

In a panel of aspiring women leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds shortlisted for Elevate’s first cohort, we deep dive into these problem statements.

We have Priyanka Serra, Senior Manager - Corporate Affairs at Flipkart; Sukanya Iyer, Founders’ Staff at Klub; and Supriya Barad, Associate Vice President at LetsVenture.

In mentorship, personalisation is important

A standard one-size-fits-all approach lacks personalisation and fails to add actionable value to an individual’s career journey, the panellist agreed. They argued that with every individual’s path and goals being different, the advice or guidance cannot be the same. 

Priyanka says, “My experience, in the past, is that there tends to be a template approach, which doesn’t work.”

Surround yourself with few authentic connections 

In the era of LinkedIn, Twitter, and multiple new professional network platforms, women still believe they lack platforms to build authentic connections. 

Sukanya says, “I think surrounding yourself with the right people, maybe a smaller group that is there for you throughout versus a huge number of people where the relationships are fairly superficial, is far more meaningful.”

What advice young women leaders should ignore in their career journeys

Lastly, our mentees highlighted two major pieces of advice floating often in the ecosystem: burning out at the cost of putting 110 percent, and working even after office hours to impress senior leadership. 

Supriya says, “People who say you have to put in your 110 percent, that is something I personally don't agree with. I believe in getting things done and doing things right. But not at the cost of burning yourself out or taking a toll on your health and your mental health”

At Elevate, we stand for a personalised approach. 

After spending time with our mentees to understand their long term goals, our team will map them to the most relevant mentor in the ecosystem.

Our goal — more women in leadership roles. 


To log in to our virtual events platform and experience TechSparks 2021 with thousands of other startup-tech enthusiasts from around the world, join here. Don't forget to tag #TechSparks2021 when you share your experience, learnings and favourite moments from TechSparks 2021.

For a line-up of all the action-packed sessions at YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, check out TechSparks 2021 website.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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