It is possible to be a top investment banker and a mother to three kids without compromising on any role. For Aisha de Sequeira, Co-country Head and Head of Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley, managing career and family is all about staying the course and loving what one does.
"Within a period of three years (after marriage), I had three kids (including identical twins). From being single and happy, I went on to become mother of three and it was overwhelming in many different ways. When everybody around me was saying it is time to take time off, I knew at my core that there should be a way to pull this together," she said in her talk at Business Today's Most Powerful Women award function in Mumbai.
"I absolutely loved being a mom and I absolutely loved my career and I had to find a way to keep both. As I reflect on my journey, one thing where I could have done better is focusing on myself," Sequeira said in her "advice to young women leaders on how to manage their career and family without compromising either."
Underlining the importance of self, she said: "We are critically important in this whole question as we sometimes don't let ourselves be the priority we should be."
However, taking out time for self or family does not mean compromising on career in any way. "There would be times when work would be a priority, sometimes, kids would be a priority. There is no one easy answer," she added.
Moving out of one's comfort zone to start from scratch can be challenging. But Sequeira has done this not once but twice. The learning from these journeys helped her become a stronger person - professionally and personally. The first time she stepped out of her Goa home was to pursue studies abroad. And then, many years later, she moved back to India, leaving behind another comfort zone to set up Morgan Stanley's investment banking practice in India after Nimesh Kampani's JM Financial ended the joint venture in 2007.
"Ultimately, all jobs are about hard work, building relationships and about multitasking. And women are fantastic at all this. We are half the population, we should be half the brain and we should encourage our women to be independent," Sequeira added.