Senior Vice President and Global Head of HR at CIGNEX, Ankita brings over 22 years of progressive experience in managing and leading various aspects of Human Resources spanning across high paced business domains of ITES. In addition to all functions of HR, Ankita overseas other enabling functions like Administration, Travel and Resource Management at CIGNEX. With a PhD in Management and a Gold Medalist in BBA as well as MBA, the leading lady has done HR and Business Strategy related Executive Management Programmes from IIM-A, ISB-Hyderabad and XLRI. She is a certified PPA (Thomas Profiling) Practitioner.
She believes in driving organizational culture and values through PEOPLE, not processes alone.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview
Thank you for joining us. At the outset, please give our readers a glimpse of yourself.
There won’t be the BEST TIME EVER, and that’s why I believe in making every day beautiful by living to the fullest and making it the BEST TODAY.
Life so far has been captivating; there was enormous experiential learning at every stage and facet of my life. I see myself as a person who is always passionate, ready to invest in learning and exploring more—a person who wants to give back to society and live a meaningful life. I work hard to achieve a feasible blend of personal and professional life. I may not find the balance every day, but I work towards getting the best of everything as and when I can. I am a people person; who believes in coexistence over the competition.
Describe your core expertise and your current role at the organization.
I have been extensively working in HR; my core interest and expertise is to enable human capital. I have been part of the same group for the last 17 years. As a Senior Vice President and Global Head of HR and other business-enabling functions at CIGNEX, I am responsible for enabling business through people, processes, practices, and passion.
What was that intrinsic factor that led to your professional journey?
Initially independent identity, then the urge to be a part of a more extensive system and contribute, and later it’s all driven by passion, zeal to learn more, and giving back to the society.
Do we really need to promote the term Women Empowerment specifically? If yes, then why?
It can’t be generalized. Should be promoted, where people still see the gap and need to reinforce. It’s better to talk, support, and promote whenever and wherever needed. In other places, where the culture is more structured, unbiased, and open, we should encourage capability and ability over gender-specific norms and initiatives.
In India, the proportion of women in paid work is among the lowest in the world, at just over 23%. How can we change it for the better in the coming times?
We can change by investing more in that direction, creating more opportunities, and educating more people. It’s not about equality but giving balanced options to individuals considering their current situation, challenges, and capability. We all keep talking about the balance, but that is evidently missing. Even today, we follow the pre-defined conventional way of running a family. Can that be changed overnight? No, it will take much longer than we think. We should accept those gaps to stay and focus on creating opportunities that women can pick up along with the current expected role. It has to be a “AND” model, not an “OR” model, for us to see more females working and taking care of the family.
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How are you seeing the world change for women after this pandemic?
I think more than the world; I have seen women changing. They have started identifying the opportunities. Instead of saying I can’t handle this much, they came forward and said that “I might not have 8 hours to give but let me find something where I can contribute for 3 to 4 hours”; they became more adaptable to meet the need of the time. I have witnessed women employees wanting to come back to work because of no location barrier and WFH opportunities, and the best part is that the world happily supports and welcomes them.
What are your future plans for development?
Lead through people. L: LISTEN; E: ENABLE; A: ALIGN and D: DEVELOP.
What has been your biggest challenge and subsequent learning from growing the company?
Change! It has been a challenging journey to reach a level where you can stop for a moment and say, “Yes, this is what I wanted to achieve.” Everything around us is changing at a pace that’s unmanageable and uncontrollable. The only way to sail through this is to stay flexible. Change as many times as needed. Staying relevant is more important than anything else.
Piece of Advice
Every day will be a new day, demanding a new YOU; stay prepared, stay open!