Women Who Inspire Series Interview with Dr. Tanvi Gautam
Dr. Tanvi Gautam is an award-winning diversity and inclusion specialist and HR thought leader splitting her time between Asia and the US.
Winner of the Game Changer 2014 award from Workforce magazine (USA) and the change leaders of tomorrow award (Asian thought leadership conference) this year. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, she is recognised by Business Manager as one of the women HR Leaders.
Tanvi Gautam is a TedX speaker and published and quoted in Harvard Business Review, Forbes (USA), Business Times (invited Op-ed), BBC World News (interview); Economic Times, Straits Times, Singapore Business Review, People Matters, Women's web, Big think and Business Manager. She is Program Director for the women & leadership program (executive education) Singapore Management University, as well as Asia's first certified storytelling coach (less than 100 such coaches world-wide)
And she still managed to find time for 3Plus!
How did you choose your career path?
I wish I could say it was planned and executed flawlessly. I was fortunate to meet mentors and blessed to find opportunities and determined enough to create them when they did not exist. My choice was determined a lot by seeking opportunities that intellectually engaged and the possibility of creating things that have a positive impact.
[Tweet "My grandfather always said – leave anyplace better than what you found it."]
I believe that has been an underlying theme for many things I have taken up.
What are your greatest challenges?
Learning to be patient. When I was 13 my father gifted me a poster which said – “Dear God, give me patience, but hurry !” It made me laugh, though it did not change me much. When you are trying to impact change you have to create a tribe and disseminate a vision. All of this take time. Success is never the result of one person getting things done. It is the result of the network behind them and networks have to be built, nurtured and sustained over a period of time. If Johannes Vermeer painted a portrait of me it would have been titled – the woman in a hurry (like his painting the girl with a pearl earring !). I am hoping I will mellow with age ! I am working on this challenge even as we speak.
Has any one person influenced you and how?
The list is too long to narrow down to one person. I particularly admire Brene Brown, Anne Marie Slaughter, Rosabeth Moss, Kanter, Danielle LaPorte, Whitney Johnson, and my personal list of mentors includes men and women who have believed in the potential and passion with which I take up my goals. My father has been a strong role model and my inner circle of women in the family are all women with a purpose and a drive to get things done. Perhaps their attitude was contagious
What do you like best about your job?
I get to work with some amazingly talented and smart people. I am not too keen to be in a room where I feel like I know all the answers.
I love the diversity I encounter as I travel around the globe on my work – it keeps you grounded in knowing that there are as many view points are there are people and likely all valid in their own way.
Most of all when I am able to move people from point A to point B and open their mind to their own potential and possibility – it feels like magic ! My corporate storytelling work allows me to hear some incredible stories that allow me to learn and grow with other people.
If you could give one piece of advice to any woman about their professional choices what would it be?
[Tweet "Spend time with yourself."]
Most of us are layers of what other people have conditioned us to believe about our self. You must try and uncover those layers to find your own true North. Once you find that true north, staying on purpose, managing challenges and keeping up the passion becomes that much easier.
Which song would you choose as your anthem?
Natasha Beddingfield – Unwritten.
The lyrics are very meaningful to me.
[Tweet "I believe the best chapter of my life is still unwritten. ......"]
I believe in the promise of a blank page. I also believe we can start a new chapter when we want, it is a question of us being bold to give up old storylines that hold us back.
Who do you nominate for our Women Who Inspire series?
The list is too long ! I am surrounded with inspiring women which includes Dorothy Dalton! To name a few: Anne-Marie Slaughter – Her ability to stand tall in her vulnerability, her passion for her topic and her commitment to her children inspires me. Whitney Johnson for her ability to ‘disrupt’ herself. Apurva Purohit, the CEO of Radio city 91.1 for her leadership and authentic commitment to other women. Debjani Ghosh, MD of Intel south Asia for leading with a purpose. Saundarya Rajesh, Founder Avaatar second careers for women for taking up an important issue even before it was in the news.
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