Talk about rising stars. It was a room packed with the most talented, successful and influential women in Indian business—precisely why the annual do to felicitate these power women is one of BT’s most popular events.
The gala evening at ITC’s Grand Sheraton Hotel in midtown Mumbai saw the business luminaries turn up to salute the incredible women in business. Among these were Hindustan Unilever’s CEO and MD Douglas Baillie; HUL’s Executive Director, Home and Personal Care, Nitin Paranjpe; IDBI Deputy MD, Jitender Balakrishnan; marketing and advertising honchos Sunil Alagh and Ranjan Kapur. Also among the attendees were Tushar Jani, Chairman, SCA Group of Companies, and his daughter Bhairavi Jani, Sanjay Nayar, CEO, Citi India, and his wife Falguni Nayar, MD, Kotak Mahindra Capital.
Bollywood actor Koel Purie added to the glitterati quotient. Power women in their own right —Varsha Bhawnani, Director, Vinegar Exports; Darshana Bhalla, CEO, Madison Teamworks Entertainment Services; and Lara Balsara, Business Development & Diversification Manager, Madison—joined in to cheer the select twenty five.
Extolling the achievers, Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, which publishes Business Today, said: “Within the last two decades, one of the greatest changes which have happened in India is the way the status of women has changed. It’s one of the most heartening of developments…. but we still have a long way to go.”
Purie quoted from an article in the Harvard Business Review that describes the idea of glass ceiling for women as the wrong metaphor. The article says the metaphor for today is labyrinth—a twisted path full of turns and obstacles and somebody with real perseverance and persistence can get to it. “Women who are able to navigate this maze need to be commended,” said Purie.
Echoing similar sentiments, Renuka Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development and chief guest of the evening, exhorted the powerful women present to work towards empowering other women. She said: “Women who are achievers are not just outstanding, most powerful in business, they are most outstanding and powerful. Period.”
BT Editor Sanjoy Narayan earlier spoke about how each edition of the most powerful women in business had been a meticulous peek into the business triumphs.
HUL’s Nitin Paranjpe—its brand New Dove Haircare was the event sponsor—said: “This association is a step forward in Dove’s mission to make more women look and, importantly, feel beautiful. Like these women, Dove is real, optimistic, and a keeper of promises.”
It was now time for Baillie to present the awards. Though awardees like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Naina Lal Kidwai could not make it to the event, others including Zia Mody, Renuka Ramnath, Leena Nair and Manisha Girotra made up for the absence with their exuberant presence.