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2020 has accelerated a much-needed change in the approach to leadership, and one finds women at the forefront of it. In this VUCA world identifying & nurturing the right values is of utmost importance. And the attributes of resilience, empathy, compassion, integrity & inclusivity have taken center stage, replacing codes of an unyielding leadership style. The recent past has in fact showcased many women leaders who demonstrated these values leading their countries, organizations & families out of chaos. The leadership style they championed is driven by the heart and has won the hearts of many.

This Women’s Day, Livemint & Platinum Evara pay an ode to women leaders who embody these values, who lead people in the right direction through tough times. Through our platform – #SheLeadsWithHeart – we aim to create more conversations on the key ingredients of leadership today!

Here are the stories of some women who have tugged at our hearts:

Pooja Baid, Director – Personal Care, Philips India Limited
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Pooja Baid, Director – Personal Care, Philips India Limited


Pooja Baid, Director – Personal Care, Philips India Limited

Baid has led diverse teams across industries from personal care and kitchen appliances to food delivery and consumer goods. Speaking about her idea of leadership, she says, “leadership for me is a journey where you continuously learn, unlearn and re-learn while keeping people really at the heart of it. Integrity and compassion are my key priorities as a leader; business goals can only be achieved when the development of people is being focused upon. That’s how one objective can propel the other forward. The core value that shapes my leadership of teams is that I don’t recognize the fear of failure and encourage people to keep moving forward. Leading with a heart for me means investing deeply in my teams – I roll up my sleeves and work closely with them, continuously challenging them but also enabling them to take decisions and responsibility for outcomes.’

Nisaba Godrej, Chairperson & MD, Godrej Consumer Products Limited
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Nisaba Godrej, Chairperson & MD, Godrej Consumer Products Limited


Nisaba Godrej, Chairperson & MD, Godrej Consumer Products Limited

For Godrej, leading the transformation of GCPL’s key goals and strategies would not have been possible without the core values that she swears by.

“For Godrej as a group, values like humility, integrity, respect are very important, and they always have been. It’s not just the “what we do", but “how we do it" that matters. That being said, are we completely perfect? I would say not. These are muscles that you build. You can keep getting better and better at it. Because with respect you listen, you are more inclusive, and you create a better environment to work. It is very important not just for individuals, but also for the overall health of the organization,"

Pooja Dhingra, Founder & CEO, Le 15 Patisserie Pvt. Ltd
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Pooja Dhingra, Founder & CEO, Le 15 Patisserie Pvt. Ltd


Pooja Dhingra, Founder & CEO, Le 15 Patisserie Pvt. Ltd

Dhingra, inspired by the French traditions of patisserie, set out on a culinary journey 11 years ago to bring these tastes to the country. Speaking about her journey as a leader, she explains, “I think everything I knew about leadership was put to test last year, as we were faced with our biggest challenges during the pandemic. In my 11 years of business, I have seen the many faces of female leadership, but 2020 truly re-defined a woman’s role in leading a business. Empathy, resilience and compassion were at the forefront, followed by honesty and vulnerability. In my opinion, sometimes, just accepting that we are not perfect human beings can help. Women leaders, when armed with this realisation, can not only strive better towards personal growth but also make sure that they are leading others to do the same."

Ameera Shah, MD, Metropolis Healthcare
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Ameera Shah, MD, Metropolis Healthcare


Ameera Shah, MD, Metropolis Healthcare

Shah, who made it to the “Fifty Most Powerful Women in Business’ by Fortune India (2017, 2018 and 2019), is a global thought-leader who spearheaded the corporate transformation of Metropolis Healthcare.

Values imbibed from childhood greatly shaped her persona as a leader. Shah says, “I grew up watching my parents always put patients first and work with a high degree of integrity, compassion & empathy. It was only natural that I imbibed these values from childhood; they translated effortlessly at work. For me, the past year reiterated their importance further, while leading a healthcare organization at the frontlines of the pandemic. As taking risks and adapting to sudden changes became the norm, these values have helped strengthen our sense of purpose and our utmost commitment to our patients. I believe that the values that we have built in the organization over the years have helped us emerge stronger from the pandemic."

Divya Gokulnath, Teacher and Co-founder, BYJU’S
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Divya Gokulnath, Teacher and Co-founder, BYJU’S


Divya Gokulnath, Teacher and Co-founder, BYJU’S

Gokulnath started teaching at the age of 21 and has transformed the way education is disseminated in the country with the revolutionary BYJU’s model, with a goal to make students across the world fall in love with learning. Elaborating on her meteoric rise as a leader, Gokulnath says, “We are living in a time where more women have resumed leadership roles than ever before. Channelling their emotional intelligence and nurturing nature, women leaders have become the flag bearers of empathetic leadership. More so in the pandemic where remote working makes empathy and inclusion the need of the hour. Women are more inclined towards a transformational, compassionate, and self-reflective style of leadership. Their innate ability to promote collaboration, have an open channel of communication, and don many hats help to lead with influence and not by authority. In a scenario where we are all facing overlapping health, economic and societal crisis causing widespread uncertainty, empathetic leadership, centered on communication, is the need of the hour. This is where I believe women leaders can set themselves apart and truly lead with heart."

To say that 2020 forced a lot of introspection and brought about much disruption would be an understatement. In today’s complex world, the need of the hour is for leaders to make the transformation from head to heart. There has been a resounding call to re-evaluate what makes for a good leader. As women pioneer the move from autocratic leadership to a more collaborative style, here’s hoping more and more individuals are inspired & empowered to lead with heart.

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