Wednesday, May 29
Dipika Trehan, CEO- The H.O.W. Forum and Corporate Diva: Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dipika Trehan, CEO- The H.O.W. Forum and Corporate Diva: Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Ramdas Shenoy in conversation with Dipika Trehan, CEO- The H.O.W. Forum and Corporate Diva

What is Corporate Diva all about? How did it all begin? Your Journey so far?

Corporate Diva is a leadership development organisation that focuses on embracing diversity and practicing inclusion. Our expertise is on bridging gender and generation gaps, employee well-being and awareness on neuro diversity. We extend support to the entire professional life cycle of women at work. Be it getting women in university Corporate Ready, or providing direction and guidance to Emerging women leaders. We provide mentoring and coaching to women managers aspiring for leadership roles along with extending upskilling support to returning career women and women entrepreneurs. Our organisation delivers impactful and uniquely curated initiatives for domestic and global clients, both at a B2B and B2C level.

“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It’s something to own”

-Michelle Obama

And what you make of that story , is the power you have , to make HISTORY!

-Dipika Trehan

And so, a self journey of falling, rising, building and becoming… laid the foundation  to The Health Of Women Forum and Corporate Diva.

Journey So far

From time immemorial, the feminine gender has been expected to physically match up to parameters that the society defines as GIRL and intellectually, emotionally possess maturity, that of a wise LADY. In the midst of it all… she’s made to forget the WOMAN she’s strived so hard all her life to be. And therefore, at Corporate Diva, Beyond a Girl with dreams, we believe, is a woman who hustles to make those dreams come true, we nurture those women, enabling them to “LEAD LIKE A WOMAN”.

As years unfold, Corporate Diva and our tribe have evolved to be something magical! It’s where credible women at work come together to embark on a self-growth journey, it’s where they Invest in their own development, it’s where they learn the nuances of leadership from stalwarts, it’s where the learning is not restricted to a curriculum, it’s where life journeys are shared and hands on life enrichment is soaked in, it’s where we establish lasting bonds, it’s where we cheer and sometimes share that painful tear, it’s where we stand tall as examples for our next generation, it’s where we celebrate milestones, it’s where we gain confidence in acceptance of our vulnerable selves, it’s where we let go our fear of judgments, it’s where the winner does not take it all and most importantly it’s where we experience the impact and pave a path to pay it forward A big thank you to all who’ve, in some way or the other been a part of this journey and had the courage and faith to believe and invest in self.

How do you see gender equality in the corporate world?

The needle does seem to shift towards the better in the Gender Equality domain of the corporate world… However it’s a slow paced shift; the process of hustling to overcome the barriers of DEI tick marks and tokenism of the corporate world, can be overwhelming and exhausting. Having said that, What keeps us going is the silver lining of hope…that Hope, which is instilled in us by our corporate clients, who are genuinely invested in creating impact, as they strive to do their best with the best of intent towards  building a sustainable culture of inclusion by embracing and nurturing diversity.

So indeed there’s much work to be done and miles ahead to go, till we’re even close to equality (and equality, as per World economic Forum data is 99.5yrs afar!). But each step today, is a step closer…and that’s hugely gratifying.

If you need some ideas about what to read next, here they are: 

From class rooms to board rooms, what are the challenges and qualities required for the transition?

There’s enough data on the challenges and qualities required to walk the journey and transition through various phases of hierarchy, from classroom to boardroom. So I needn’t elaborate. What needs elaboration, and I say this basis my  interaction with thousands of women across several countries and nationalities of the globe is “The need of Respect and Dignity of Labour, irrespective of gender”. Unfortunately, gender comes in as a context due to prevalent biases and disparity, Hence translating the above into ” The need of Respect and Dignity of a Woman’s labour ” in social and professional ecosystems, globally. This one statement , that is the challenge and the quality required for any transition to make transformations possible!

What role can the Government and Public institutions play in the mission of Corporate Diva? 

The mission of Corporate Diva is ” Building women leaders, until we reach a milestone of equity and equality. And then continue Building Leaders, with no further special emphasis on gender” 

The Government and Public institutions have a vital role to play in this mission, it’s a mammoth task at hand, however not impossible. 

What will it be like for the corporate women in 2032?

While forecasts and projections aid in goal setting, and is a “Good to have data” at hand… What’s imperative is “How do we make tomorrow better than today”. If we’re making the effort to being that change, which we’d wish to see… then the desired future too is on its way! For sometimes, forecasts miss foresights of factoring in “Out of the blue, totally unexpected challenges”, the most recent one being COVID -19. Who of us, ever in our wildest of dreams, thought of going through what the world went through in the past 3 years… and sadly, we, with short memories,  still haven’t learnt our lesson well enough.

To answer your question, while in 2032 women in the corporate world will be closer to gender parity, might have achieved pay parity and would have a few initiatives on their side that would effectively support them on their corporate journey towards climbing the leadership ladder, sans tokenism. They will be equal parents, with maternity not impacting their credibility. This in itself will be a milestone to honour.

Many of the ROC compliances like having an independent female director is like having a check in the box, how will it change?

This has to change…and it will change when women begin to practice their “right of speech”…  when They garner courage to first own their voice and then ensure they make their voice heard. They must ensure to have a seat at the table, even if it means to simply carry their own chair to the table and seat themselves in the front row, unapologetically. 

And this will never see light in the form of a gender war… It becomes a possible reality when taken as a path to be walked hand in hand. So, while women get coached on having a voice, men must volunteer to be coached on being receptive to hearing that voice, sans bias.

Dipika Trehan, recognized as one of the top 100 global Diversity and Inclusion leaders, is the founder and CEO of The Health Of Women Forum and Corporate Diva. Her organization delivers impactful and uniquely curated initiatives for global clients on DEI with a special focus on gender, generation, wellbeing and neuro diversity. Dipika is known for her expertise in women leadership development and the human side of business. 

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