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Bean there, counted that: Lalita Gupte

November 11, 2010
Lalita Gupte
62, Member on boards of Nokia and Alstom; Chairperson, ICICI Venture Funds
(Number of times in BT's Most Powerful list: 4)

She has been there, done that - and is still doing a lot more. Sixty-two-year-old Lalita Gupte has seen it all - from the time she joined as a trainee in the project appraisal department of ICICI in 1971 to being called onto the board of Alstom of France five months ago. And she knows all about being a woman in the male-dominated business world - and how to deal with it. Ask her how she balances work and life, and she is quick to retort: "We do not see men being asked or talking about work-life balance." But she does agree that men are more empathetic these days than they were a decade or two earlier. "Men are beginning to understand that they have to contribute to things like looking after children," adds Gupte.

Biggest achievement in 2010: A berth on the board of Alstom

Being a powerful woman is important because: It communicates that there is a place for women in business and in leadership

Tip for work-life balance: Bring the same level of efficiency in running a home as an office

A workplace without women is: Not an issue any longer
Gupte, who retired from ICICI Bank as a Joint Managing Director, is pursued by boards - both global and Indian - for her sheer experience in the world of finance and business, and the elaborate network she has strung together over the years. Other than Alstom and Nokia, Gupte who is also Chairperson of ICICI Venture Funds, is on the boards of Indian companies like Bharat Forge, Kirloskar Brothers, Godrej Properties, HPCL-Mittal Energy and also a small microfinance institution called Swadhaar FinServe.

"I try to keep myself busy and intellectually occupied," says Gupte who has a daughter who is an architect in the United States and a son who works for a financial services firm in Singapore. "Indian professionals today have the right kind of experience to play a role in global corporations," she points out. The folks at Nokia and Alstom will agree with that.

-Anand Adhikari
The 30 Most Powerful Women
1. Schauna Chauhan
2. Zarin Daruwala
3. Lynn de Souza
4. Tanya Dubash
5. Shyamala Gopinath
6. Vinita Gupta
7. Kaku Nakhate
8. Vedika Bhandarkar
9. Manisha Girotra
10. Lalita Gupte
11. Usha Narayanan
12. Akhila Srinivasan
13. Leena Nair
14. Vinita Bali
15. Chanda Kochhar
16. Roopa Kudva
17. Naina Lal Kidwai
18. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
19. Zarina Mehta
20. Zia Mody
21. Kalpana Morparia
22. Vishakha Mulye
23. Swati Piramal
24. Meher Pudumjee
25. Madhabi Puri Buch
26. Chitra Ramkrishna
27. Preetha Reddy
28. Shikha Sharma
29. Mallika Srinivasan
30. Sangeeta Talwar

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