These ex-Zomato executives are all set to launch a powerful private network of rising women leaders
Why are there fewer women in leadership positions in India? Why is the road to the top often marred by roadblocks and different challenges? Why do women face unconscious biases, take on more family responsibilities, and network less?
The numbers speak for themselves. According to a McKinsey and Grant Thornton report, while 48 percent of women enter the workforce as compared to 52 percent men, only 21 percent are able to reach the top CXO positions. Further, Indian ranks fifth from the bottom when it comes to women in leadership positions.
Rising to the top
To help women leap in their careers, Ragini Das and Anand Sinha are all set to launch Leap — a powerful private network of rising women leaders — that will first start in the Delhi-NCR region, and then expand to the rest of the country.
Anand and Ragini both worked forGold where the former till recently, was the Global Head, and the latter, the Head of International Expansion. Anand is also the Co-founder of The Robin Hood Army, a volunteer organisation with 40,000 members that has served more than six million meals to the underprivileged. He also co-founded PressPlay, a mediatech startup based out of Delhi-NCR.
“While you have your LinkedIn and Glassdoor for jobs, there is no platform that helps you get from Point A in your career to Point B — A being where you are right now, and B being where you want to be in maybe three, five, or 10 years,” Ragini tells her HerStory.
Important factors for growth
The founders spoke to more than 300 women while doing their research, and four factors stood out, which they thought were essential to moving forward in their careers – network, support, learning, and wellness.
Mid-career women felt the need for a proper professional network that went beyond the usual online connections, to foster solid offline professional relationships.
With stress being an inherent part of today’s workplace, they also required a sounding board or a safe place to vent. They also wanted support or an advisory group to discuss work-life with. Lastly, there was also a desire to constantly learn and upskill, whether one was a manager, a VP, or in the C-suite.
“These were a couple of points that stood out in our interactions that we sought to address with Leap with a number of benefits offered to our members,” says Ragini.
Leap’s target audience is women in the 30-35 age group who are at the mid-career level. While they have currently chosen 30 founding members, there are 2,000 people on its waitlist, from companies like Google, Netflix, McKinsey & Co., Amazon,, Zomato, BCG, and Teach for India.
According to Ragini, the benefits of joining the platform are manifold.
Once a month, a member meets an important connect offline, and it’s up to both of them to take it forward in terms of advice and membership. The membership also offers 10 therapy sessions either online or offline.
“We work with a team of psychotherapists, creative arts therapists, and others. We can look at it from the perspective of mental health or simple wellbeing. We make sure there are experts for trauma, depression, stress, and you can even go to the experts if you don’t have a particular problem, but need a sounding board,” adds Ragini.
The third benefit is a peer group experience where depending on a member’s goals or aspirations, she is part of a 15-people group led by a trained executive coach. They meet every month for two hours.
“The first session will be on self-assessment and focus on your strengths —What can you do better when you know what your goals are? The second will be about amplifying your own brand. As women, we are so bad at self-promotion and constantly undersell ourselves, and don’t speak up where it’s necessary. These sessions will tackle all that,” says Ragini.
And finally, Leap will have a Speaker Series, where it will bring in industry icons for smaller, intimate sessions.
The 30 founding members onboarded on Leap have been personally handpicked by Anand and Ragini.
Personal and focussed commitment
“Every member we bring in right now has to cheerlead for us. They are our influencers. Anand and I have decided to work personally on the first thousand members. Our team will help us along the way,” says Ragini.
Leap will be launched in Delhi-NCR on May 1, and the next market they are looking at is Bengaluru.
“Since the launch got pushed by a couple of weeks, we decided to use this time to work on the product, and also extend some therapy sessions to members, since these are tough times for everyone. Starting May 1, the benefits will start to play out virtually with one-on-one connections with other members with options of virtual meetings, sessions with experienced therapists, coaching sessions with the peer group and the executive coach, content curation, and mailers. The speaker series will happen when it’s safe to do them offline,” she adds.
The annual membership fee for Leap is Rs 30,000, of which 10 percent will be donated to the Leap Foundation that works with underprivileged girls, in the form of scholarships and aids.
Ragini says, while the scale will definitely open up to include B2B, they are also looking at onboarding individuals right now.
She is honest when she says, “There is a difference between me paying for a membership and my company paying for me. We need that personal and time-focused commitment to show results.”
“We have a lot of people showing interest. I think there’s also FOMO (fear of missing out) in some sense. But we are being very careful about who we get because one bad experience can ruin the whole programme,” Ragini concludes.
Edited by Suman Singh