Women in Technology (WiT) Forum India, a collaborative and progressive platform that focuses on increasing women participation in STEM careers, on July 17 held the first edition of its virtual conference, ‘WiT Spark’ presented by Optum, themed ‘Accelerating the new normal’. With participation from over 50 top industry leaders and women entrepreneurs, as well as HR and Diversity practitioners, the day long conclave focused on actualising innovative solutions that are beyond the basic idea of the ‘new normal’ in the technology and digital world.
The event started with a welcome note by Anuranjita Kumar, Founder and Chairperson of WiT India, and a keynote session by Anu Aga MP, Teach for India (Founder), Led Thermax who said, “As far as my definition of success is concerned, I do not define success only in terms of corporate achievements such as position, power, and perks. At the end of the day, success for me is when I’m at peace with myself and my loved ones.”
In a keynote session, Ritesh Talapatra, Managing Director at Optum Global Solutions India spoke about the impact of COVID and how technology has become the backbone of the healthcare sector. Also touching upon the relevance of ‘Women in Technology’ and the possible implications it may have in drawing out solutions for the future.
Anuranjita Kumar commenting on the conference said, “WiT Spark has been a meaningful virtual learning experience for individuals working in technology who are looking to expand their skillset; and connect with industry leaders. This is just the beginning as we embark on a journey with multiple breakout citywide chapters that continue the grass-root connect, empowering change.”
The sessions began with two of the leading women in tech, who are also members of WiT Advisory Council, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM and Neelam Dhawan, Head, Advisory board, IBM, Board Member Royal Philips, Netherlands, ICICI Bank, India and Yatra Online, discussing learnings from the pandemic, talent and transformation, in conversation with Pankaj Bansal, Co-Founder and CEO at PeopleStrong.
The event saw many insightful panel sessions where experts talked about changing digital priorities, skillsets, and human adaptability to transformation in an agile manner. Anjali Singh, MD, Deutsche Bank said in a session, “Organisations like WiT are going to be pivotal to help women in STEM go through their entire professional journey without attrition.” Talking about talent and women, Neelam Dhawan said, “Women like to work and do challenging assignments, companies do a disfavor to them by not giving them challenging assignments, it is such a waste of talent when we don’t treat them equally and give them the right roles.” Debjani Ghosh asserted, “Everyone has begun to understand that skilling is the only way to get a job. Today the only skill you need to have for your job is the ability to unlearn and learn, that’s what companies are looking at.”
C.P. Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra said, “Key lessons to thrive in today’s time are: ‘dismantling’ as a key to survival and sustainability, ‘learning’ to adapt to a world of diverse actions and strategies and to jump on board the agenda of ‘digital transformation’” in a conversation with Karan Bajwa,
WiT Spark saw close to 5,000 attendees and the event led breakout activities like ‘Leadership Connect’, where participants could hear and interact with, (in a live chat) with industry experts on topics around future careers, workplace, inclusion, etc. and attend ‘Masterclasses’ on topics such as ‘deciding on an Entrepreneurial journey’, ‘securing oneself from privacy and data breach in the digital world’, among others.