It’s time to script a new ‘her story’ and other lessons from the Women on A Mission Summit
Broad smiles, eyes welling up, unbridled laughter, loud cheers - if you were one of the 700 women who joined us at HerStory’s Women on A Mission Summit last week, you’d know what we are talking about. For, you were there, part of all the excitement, action and the emotions.
When you meet hundreds of women who are as passionate and courageous as you are, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. It’s a powerful emotion that stays with you - keeps you alive and connected, to arise, awake and face the challenges of tomorrow.
HerStroy's Women on A Mission Award winners 2019
So what did HerStory’s first-ever Women on A Mission Summit want to tell the world? We need more women in the workforce. That, and the passion and will to succeed comes from within. And it’s okay to embrace failure; for if you have not failed, how can you aspire for success.
How did the Summit and the Awards impact a diverse audience? What did the women learn from this overwhelming experience that connected them at a very emotional level?
We reached out to a few of them to understand what they took home with them that day? Did it empower them to up their ante? Did they find the secret sauce to success? Did they find solidarity in sisterhood? Or more importantly, did the debates and discussions make them more cognizant of their rights in the workplace?
And when we at HerStory compared what we learned from our experience of organising an event of this scale to what our audience took with them that day - there were not too many differences. Which means we connected, on so many different levels, to walk hand-in-hand towards the future, finding strength in similar objectives.
1) To own your story, you have to own yourself
Women are so busy juggling different worlds and taking care of everybody else that they hardly find the time to love themselves. It’s a fact - women have never been taught to love themselves and put themselves first. Loving yourself is not easy, it is the toughest thing to do -this was the common refrain at the Summit.
Needless to say, it struck a deep chord with many coming forward to share their experiences with us.
Nidhi Bala, founder of Tanzeb that showcases rich culture of chikankari from Lucknow told HerStory: “Never be afraid to show your vulnerable self. We all have those unseen parts and there is no shame in sharing them.”
2) Bro club move aside, sisterhood is here, together we move forward and succeed
It was a pleasant surprise for us to see the hall fill up as early as 9am with women who had travelled from different parts of India just for the Summit. And they stayed on, until late evening - revelling in being among their own and being inspired by a large number of women.
A lot of simple yet provoking ideas were shared. We saw solidarity in sisterhood as women networked with each other, sharing business cards and generally having a fun time.
We are happy to see the sisterhood in the forefront, especially when some of the speakers spoke about the challenges of breaking into the boy’s club as corporate honchos, VCs or entrepreneurs.
As Shradha Shrama, Founder and CEO of YourStory rightly said in her keynote address: “The biggest champions in my life have been women. And we all need a circle of women who are your champions and will stand with you and tell others you’re a star.”
3) Be loyal to yourself and your strengths
Meeta Malhotra, angel investor, and an expert in branding and strategy drove home a key truth- that our personal branding was as important as loving ourselves. Yes, how we present ourselves to the world is how the world perceives us.
Villina Sequira who was in the audience keenly listening to Meeta had this to say, “I have always implemented a self-branding exercise in my career and business, but never really focused on it as a top priority. The way a person can position herself, and the impact it creates is unbelievable. We can move mountains if we have an extraordinary self-brand image that backs us up.”
Kanchan Dwivedi, Founder of LoanGini, a P2P Lending platform shared, said, “Personal branding in today’s day and age is all the more important today since your brand on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter is the first thing people come across, even before they meet you. Be genuine and be yourself.”
4) Don’t live by the code, break the rules
Women don’t take the lead, aren’t strong, bring too many emotions to work, can’t take tough decisions and are always expected to behave according to societal norms. If you want to succeed and rise, then break the rules, and the cycle of expectations. When D. Roopa Moudgil, the first Kannadiga IPS officer from Karnataka took to the stage and said, “You don’t make history by being a good girl.”
5) It is time for her story to shine
The times when women stood invisible in a crowd or on the sidelines are over. We need to empower more women to emerge out of the shadows, take the lead and move forward.
Vyshali Sagar, an Innovator, PwC India shared, “It was great to spend time to understand various perspectives. HerStory’s Woman on a Mission was able to “connect-convey-convince” the need for a platform like this [HerStory] not just for entrepreneurs but also women from all walks of life. As they say, the time of 'His'tory has gone - it's time for HerStory.