No, this post isn’t about how women at BankBazaar are smashing the glass ceiling. It is, rather, about how such a thing doesn’t exist here. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out why.
For decades, there has been a battle that women have been quietly fighting on the work front, every day. It’s the fight to break the “glass ceiling”. To this day, women are conditioned and expected to pick up the gauntlet and put in twice as much effort to prove that they are half as good as their male counterparts the moment they join a male-dominated profession. The “glass ceiling” has far-reaching consequences that are not limited to women’s career advancement. It even determines their financial stability in terms of their eligibility for Credit Cards and Personal Loans as well as their ability to save for the future through Mutual Funds or Fixed Deposits.
No profession or academic field is bereft of this bias. From women being passed over for promotions only to see their male co-workers get it, being denied the Nobel Prize, to being paid less than their male counterparts for the same job; this issue is as relevant today as it was decades ago. Over the past century, women may have moved into non-traditional roles and have been helming multinational corporations but the invisible “glass ceiling” has reared its head unfailingly.
Additional reading: Why Women Shouldn’t Shy Away From Negotiating Their Salary
This is why we take great pride in saying that BankBazaar, since its inception, has been smashing not just the “glass ceiling” but the very existence of it. The concept of the “glass ceiling” is alien to most people at BankBazaar, not because they don’t know about it but mostly because they can’t relate to it. Why you ask? Because women constitute 39% of the workforce here (the numbers are growing as you read this) and 25% of leadership positions are held by women. Curious to know about the women leaders at BankBazaar? Let’s get to know a few of these Wonder Women one by one:
1. Rati Shetty:
One of the co-founders of BankBazaar as well as its Chief Product Officer, Rati owns the responsibility to ensure that users have the best possible customer experience. This means a razor-sharp focus on all aspects of her role that contribute towards achieving this goal – right from planning meetings for the product roadmap, addressing usability issues with other teams, reviewing and enhancing specs for features to combine the best of tech, design, experience, and interfaces to build better and easy-to-use products. Lending insights that she has gained at her previous work stints in Taipei and Miami, Rati also envisions and charts the course of action for her team of product managers to launch feature-packed products on the platform from concept to launch. Rati, along with the other co-founders, made it to the Fortune India’s annual 40 under 40 list earlier this year. Like most working women, Rati attributes her ability to juggle work and family to giving her hundred percent to both and optimising her time. She believes that for a woman, home and career don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There exists a symbiotic relationship between them – one can use one’s learnings in one sphere and apply them to the other and vice-versa.
We asked Rati for her take on the issue of the glass ceiling and if she thinks that women at BankBazaar face this and this is what she had to say-“The existence of the “glass ceiling” in parts of the corporate ecosystem cannot be denied. However, as an organisation, at BankBazaar, we make a conscious effort to build a workplace that is embracing of diversity and differences and this is not limited to one’s gender. I am happy to share that as of today women constitute 39% of our workforce and hold 25% of leadership positions. We have one of the most comprehensive maternity policies in place that allow our female employees to take a 6-month sabbatical after their 26 weeks long maternity leave. At BankBazaar, your gender is never a factor; rather, what matters is the value you contribute to your role.”
Well said, Rati.
Additional reading: How Women Can Save For Career Breaks
2. Aparna Mahesh:
With a career spanning close to two decades, Aparna recently joined BankBazaar as the Chief Marketing Officer. Aparna comes with an extensive brand-building experience across industries and geographies. Her first job was with Parle Agro where she managed popular brands like Frooti, Appy and Bailey mineral water. She then moved to the US and later, the UK, where she spent eight years displaying her marketing prowess working on brands like Microsoft, MasterCard, CapitalOne and Royal Mail. In 2011, she joined Quikr.com as the Head of Brand Marketing and built the brand right from scratch. Her success in making the brand a household name can be inferred from how popular the word “Quikrrrrr…” became. On the personal front, she is a mom to two boys aged 11 and 13 and a trained yoga instructor. Aparna may have come on board quite recently but we are certain that she will help us soar to new heights in no time.
When it comes to managing her finances, Aparna firmly believes that ‘a rupee saved is a rupee earned’. She ensures that she saves a decent chunk of her salary every month and directs it into various investments. She thinks that money management is less about being frugal and more about being prudent. Her kids’ college education is as much a priority as planning for her retirement. Women like Aparna who helm departments in a company are often faced with questions like how they balance their work and life. Aparna has a ready answer for this too-“The most important lesson I have learned over the years while trying to balance everything, is to invest in oneself. Unless you are balanced and centred – physically, mentally and spiritually – it is virtually impossible to seek balance among two very demanding outside worlds – work and home/life. I ensure that I spend enough time every day on things that energise and nurture me enough to be able to take on all the other challenges. I am extremely driven and organised (to the point of being obsessive, some might add) and that helps to a great extent. Beyond that, it’s all about being flexible and going with the flow”. It’s safe to say that Aparna has a novel outlook on life.
We asked Aparna for her take on the issue of the glass ceiling and if she thinks that women at BankBazaar face this and this is what she had to say-“Of course, the glass ceiling exists – more so in certain industries than others. It’s a combination of how workplaces evaluate women for leadership roles as well as the way women view/position themselves for such roles. Most women who have made it to the top have probably had to fight harder and sacrifice more than their male counterparts. But, things are slowly beginning to change for the better, especially as more men begin to play active roles on the domestic front. I think BankBazaar is quite different from many companies in this space. For one, we have a woman as the co-founder and that makes a huge difference. Secondly, when I just look around any of our offices, I see a good number of female faces and that always puts a smile on my face!”
3. Latha Nathan:
Being one of the most male-dominated professions in the world, the tech industry today is inundated with complaints of women facing harassment, dismissal, and condescension because of their gender. Proving your worth becomes all the more challenging when you’re in a business-facing role like service delivery management. But ask Latha Nathan, who is a Vice President of our Delivery Team, if women are at a disadvantage in tech, and she will disagree. Latha comes with 14 years of experience in the IT industry during which she was tasked with setting up the India office for a UK-based data warehousing company and thereafter managed their UK, New Zealand, and India offices as a Global Delivery Manager. During this stint, she helped build a product that was later used by Her Majesty’s Treasury to plan the budgeting for the UK. At BankBazaar, Latha steers the technology integration, configuration, and integration development teams. She’s involved with partner management and also manages the implementation teams within the company. Like Rati (we’re beginning to see a pattern here), Latha credits her success to her clear, unwavering focus both on her professional and personal goals. Giving up work for your family or vice-versa isn’t a philosophy that she believes in and thinks that you need both for a healthy mind.
Additional reading: A Financial Guide For Women Dealing With Divorce
4. Gitanjali Mayani:
In a fintech company, especially one that aims to help individuals navigate the complex world of finance, a robust customer support team makes all the difference. The customer support of a company is the bridge between the company and its customers and plays a big role in determining an individual’s experience of a company’s platform as well as its products. This is exactly what sets Gitanjali’s role apart from the others. Gitanjali is a Deputy Vice President at BankBazaar where she heads the Loans and Mutual Funds Process teams. Curious to know what the Loans Process team does? Gitanjali’s team calls up visitors who have applied through our website and handholds them through the entire loan application process. This may look like an easy task to many but is actually a Herculean one. Gitanjali’s team puts all doubts that customers may have to rest and provides end-to-end support until the disbursal of a customer’s loan is complete. The team does an impeccable job of this day in day out. From her extensive experience in banking, Gitanjali brings to the table a wide range of skills relating to banking operations, team management, telesales, branch administration and business development.
On the personal finance front, Gitanjali believes that the best form of investment is through a SIP in Mutual Funds. She believes in regular investing in a disciplined manner. “Timing the market and looking for short-term gains is not manageable as it requires a huge amount of time that is not possible due to hectic work schedules through the week”, she says.
Gitanjali states that she also makes a conscious effort towards achieving a good work-life balance-“I don’t believe in carrying work home. Good time management is essential so that all goals and to do are completed during office hours only. Time is really in short supply at home and is completely devoted to the family, friends, and self”.
About the existences of the “glass ceiling” in organisations and in BankBazaar, this is what Gitanjali has to say- “Glass ceilings are definitely present in most organisations and the bias is most apparent when the woman is of childbearing age. Organisations are partial when it comes to giving regional responsibilities which include travel to ladies as they fear that they might not be able to manage and hence this stunts their career growth.
In BankBazaar, the work culture is very open and there is no discrimination in terms of responsibilities or remuneration. Women are respected and the work environment is safe and promotes different points of view and healthy competition.”
5. Sarita Povaiah:
Most think that to generate great content, all you need is a decent knowledge of grammar. Sarita is busting that myth every day, one word at a time. She is DVP and Head of the Product Creative Content team, which is responsible for crafting creative communication and messaging across our web, mobile and email platforms. Needless to say, financial jargon puts all of us in a spot. Sarita, along with her team, ensures that any content that BankBazaar churns out furthers its goal of simplifying finance for everyone. Content never takes a backseat at BankBazaar. Sarita’s insights and free-flowing creativity have played a crucial role in making sure that content across channels is top-notch, engaging and easy to understand. So how does she ensure that content quality never slips? From putting potential recruits through a rigorous screening process to performing regular checks for plagiarism, relevance and simplicity of website and mobile content, emails, blog articles and more, Sarita stays personally invested in the entire process.
She encourages her team members to pursue their personal interests and hobbies. She believes that human potential and creativity are limitless and when you’re happy outside of work, you bring your best self to work. A fiercely proud dog owner, Sarita can be found volunteering at animal shelters (even celebrating her birthdays with her furry friends), regaling her team members with funny anecdotes from her travels and spreading sunshine and joy with clever memes.
We quizzed Sarita about her take on the issue of the glass ceiling and if she thinks that women at BankBazaar face this and this is what she had to say- “While I have witnessed and experienced gender discrimination a few times in some previous workplaces, the concept of a “glass ceiling” is alien to and has no place in the BankBazaar family. I am really happy and proud to work with a company where each individual, regardless of gender, is recognised and rewarded for the tremendous value they bring to their role that aligns with the organisation’s wider vision to make the right financial products available to our customers. We have people from diverse backgrounds, experience levels, educational qualifications, skill sets and more. It makes the workplace a hotbed of creativity, constant learning, innovation, accountability, and ownership, and yes, fun! And that’s what sets this company and its people apart from most other (boring!) places”.
6. Varsha Mahadevan:
With over a decade of experience building software products and a US patent in her name, Varsha Mahadevan, Associate Vice President (AVP) at BankBazaar is responsible for designing and implementing large-scale big data solutions in personalisation and analytics for the company. Varsha drives product expansion, technical leadership, and engineering processes. Varsha brings to her role learnings and domain expertise that she picked up during her previous work stints at Microsoft and Mahindra British Telecom. She realises that women in tech are few and far between and that’s why she feels it’s important to give back to her community of female techies. She’s been part of diversity recruitment initiatives at BankBazaar. In 2015, Varsha spoke at the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference on “Things I Wish I Knew About A Software Developer Role.
On the personal front, Varsha is a trained Carnatic vocalist and loves travelling. She has been exploring South East Asia destinations ever since she moved with her family to Bangalore from the US. She is also a fitness enthusiast who loves running. A mother to two adorable kids, Varsha unwinds by spending time with them. She doesn’t believe in skimping on family time for work or vice-versa. Varsha makes a conscious effort to plan her time well both at work and home. To her, picking the right things to spend her time on is the key. At work, she identifies transferable responsibilities and delegates wherever necessary.
About the existence of the“glass ceiling” at the workplace here’s what she had to say- ““Glass ceilings” certainly exist, but it is an outcome of certain human behaviours that come with any form of diversity. It is not just about women. It is important to foster an inclusive work environment where people with varied talents can thrive. I have found that at BankBazaar and am also happy to partake and pay it forward. My mantra has always been ‘Know what you bring to the table. Once you know that you can be quite unstoppable”.
The “glass ceiling” is still a very real problem that women face across other organisations. This is in spite of organisations having explicit policies that mandate equality of advancement. However, women are soaring to heights despite facing barriers. Their story is about tenacity, perseverance and never taking no for an answer. More power to you, girls. Keep inspiring us with your achievements!
What are your thoughts on the issue of the “glass ceiling”? Tell us in the comments below.
Looking to break free from financial barriers? Have you tried a Credit Card a Personal Loan or made an investment in Mutual Funds yet? Want to give it a shot? We can help you out!