Diversity & Inclusion
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Karthik Subbaiah

ASPL #WeLead Campaign  |  Vol.

19
Karthik Subbaiah
I am an ICT Project Manager leading a product development team in the Insurance Industry. I am also actively involved in volunteering efforts such as coaching and mentoring students, location lead for a global covid-19 initiative and treasurer at my local toy library.
“There is no job that is a man’s job vs a woman’s job and everyone is equally capable” — Karthik Subbaiah

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am an ICT Project Manager leading a product development team in the Insurance Industry. I am also actively involved in volunteering efforts such as coaching and mentoring students, location lead for a global covid-19 initiative and treasurer at my local toy library.

Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?

First and foremost – My mum of course. Her ability to multi-task and context switch constantly while providing direction and leadership in the household was amazing to see growing up especially as my dad was mostly away on business. Then comes my wife who has shown how to balance a full fledged career and motherhood with equal verve. Last but not the least, my grandmother – who saw two major wars in her lifetime and taught me grit, resolve, determination and a never say die attitude.

Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?

Women are natural leaders. They have an innate ability to not only identify someone’s strengths and put them to use but also their weaknesses and how to counter-act them so everything works seamlessly. They do this naturally and with a great level of emotional intelligence. As leaders, empathy is a key element along with an unbiased approach and I have come to see that women excel in this, again as natural caretakers of their family. Therefore, it is imperative that we have women in leadership roles as they are primed to create collaborative organisations of the future. They will look past numbers and look out for their people.

What more can be done to support women in male-dominated industries?

We will need to create two types of awareness, through programs. One for men to understand that there is no job that is a man’s job vs a woman’s job and everyone is equally capable. In fact, most jobs require certain set of skills and mindset more than anything and that every person regardless of gender possesses. Two for women to be aware of their abilities and to not be inhibited by societal norms. Women need to be empowered more to speak up and present their value proposition in a manner that is on even keel with other competitors. Then we create an environment that puts everyone on a level playing field and eliminate implicit biases when it comes to certain industries, through policies, procedures and guidelines.

What further steps can be implemented to encourage women supporting women?

I already see a lot of platforms that promote women supporting women in various fields. But more can be done. To create platforms, where women feel free to show their vulnerabilities, their insecurities and their anxieties so that they can break out of it. There is certainly truth to the fact that Women understand women better. Therefore increasing these platforms that create openness to share and to create together will go a long way in empowering women.

How would you motivate women to “lean in”?

Sharing information is important. I’ve noticed through my own experience with my wife that women don’t share enough of their problems with others. And this leads to the assumption that things are just this way and you just need to accept and push through. It doesn’t have to be that way. I would encourage and motivate them to speak up and let their voice be heard.

How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?

I believe there is definitely diversity and inclusion in the current society and work environment. People’s perceptions have changed dramatically over the past few years and organisations have realized that individuals matter – regardless of their gender, race, color, origin or nationality. But more can be done. More awareness can be created. More perceptions and judgments can be changed through conversation. We have made progress but we still have a long way to go.

Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?

I’d love to participate in causes that promote gender equality and women leadership as I strongly feel women make great leaders (probably better leaders – Jacintha Arden, hello!) and they lead with empathy and greater emotional intelligence. We will all be better served if we get to a point where we have equal gender representation to the point where gender becomes a moot point and personality/mindset drives leadership appointments.

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