~ Sanjana Ramani & Lumière Voices
This 8th of March, the world celebrates yet another day paying tribute to and political achievements of women. This day is a call for gender parity. This day has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights. The day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.
It is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together governments, women’s organizations, corporations and charities. The day is marked around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences and marches.
In 1910, a women called Clara Zetkin, leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year.
At Lumière, the focus for the past 21 years has always been to provide a platform to empower women professionals to get back to work by leveraging organisation culture, process and technology.
This attitude to women empowerment has been a major contributing factor in the success of the business and retaining key employees. After interviewing a few employees, we have noted their personal journey and experienced with Lumiere and how Lumiere has enriched their lives both professionally and personally.
Smita Arora – Chief Operating Officer
Smita was on the lookout for a job after having taken a break for about 6 to 7 months for personal reasons. She was in Mumbai when she discovered Lumiere.
Lumiere was a good option for Smita as it gave her flexibility in terms of working from home which she needed to raise her daughter who was very young at the time. The integration of work and home life was great. Smita immensely benefitted from this. Apart from the flexibility, there was career growth, discipline, professional and personal growth at Lumiere. At Lumiere, she handled many responsibilities, helping the firm grow from strength to strength and being valued for it. Lumiere, being a flat organization, gave her the freedom to make decisions rather than follow a chain of command. Despite having come from the pharmaceutical industry, she never felt the need to go back to the industry in the 15 years she has been with Lumiere as the work here was compelling, challenging and interesting enough that it became an integral part of her life. Being one of the oldest employees, she credits Lumiere with bringing great opportunities in her life, both personally and professionally.
Aparna Khadilkar – Senior Research Manager
Aparna quit her previous job due to her pregnancy. Wanting more flexibility in her next role so as to be able to cater to her child’s needs, she discovered Lumiere and started working with the firm when her son was 9 months old. Apart from flexibility, interesting and varied work, accommodative work environment and supportive bosses are one of the reasons why Aparna has continued to work with Lumiere for over 6 years. Another thing that stands out for her about the firm is the detailed processes involved in everything that the firm does which makes work very professional. The work culture is very encouraging helping her use her strengths and talents to the fullest. The workshops conducted at Lumiere have largely helped refine her personality and also in her relationships with her family. The easy work environment makes her life very relaxed in terms of mental stress. Working here has also helped her improve her English language skills which she had yearned to develop for many years but due to having lived and worked in rural areas of the country, she never had that opportunity to do so. She feels thankful to Lumiere for helping her develop in every way.
Tanvi Dixit – Senior Research Manager
Tanvi was working for her husband’s medical store when she was expecting her first child. She and her husband ultimately decided to sell their business as it was becoming too strenuous on them. She then joined a pharmaceutical company working on product controls but decided to quit this job as it was unable to manage her affairs in the house and raising her child due to long distance travel. She then started looking for something closer to her place of residence. She found Lumiere through her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law was into catering business and her contact with Lumiere happened through have serviced its employees. Tanvi, then went through the whole selection process at Lumiere and was finally hired as a research consultant. It’s been 9 years with Lumiere for Tanvi and the main reasons for why she has remained with the firm are employment opportunity, varied learning experience across sectors, lack of politics within the firm, good co-workers and the lack of monotony in her job. In addition to this, Tanvi has learned a great deal about the art of effective communication which has benefitted her in both professional and personal spheres of life. The attitude of positivity is another major factor for why Lumiere has been able to attract and retain employees for years on end like Tanvi Dixit. With her extensive knowledge gained through her work experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Tanvi has been able to add tremendous value to the firm. Lumiere has in turn helped her in complete transformation of her personality, learning and knowledge.
Nitinder Dutt – Senior Research Consultant
Nitinder was working as a relationship manager with Allegro Capital Advisors. Her husband being a Naval officer, her family transferred frequently. It was when she was on her way out, moving to Wellington, when Deepa offered her a work opportunity to work at Lumiere. Deepa and Milind were a client of hers in her previous workplace. Lumiere has given her the flexibility of having job no matter where the family was posted. Beside this, Lumiere offered the opportunity to leverage her talents, expand horizons and manage her family. A mother of two teenage boys now, she joined Lumiere when they were only 6 and 4 years of age.
Sonali Salvi – Senior Technical Executive
Sonali was working for Reliance when she conceived her child and was finding it difficult to manage workload and pregnancy. She then decided to take a sabbatical which lasted for about a year and a half. During this time, she was on the lookout for roles which allowed her flexibility and closeness to her home so she could cater to her child’s needs. Lumiere was the perfect choice for her which offered both. Besides this, Lumiere bought in a change of mindset and perspective which propelled her to looking at things differently opening her personality and mindset. Sonali’s knowledge within the IT domain has expanded tremendously giving her insights into various aspects of the job right from inception to end process. After joining Lumiere, she was handling the IT aspects of the business with the support of Deepa and Milind Soman. She feels empowered at Lumiere as she has the liberty of making day to day decisions. The positive attitude at Lumiere is a great boon for her to have a relatively stress-free life for professionally and personally.
Sukhdeep Papriwal – Research Manager
Sukhdeep had taken a sabbatical for almost 3 and half years after the birth of her child and was wanting to get back on the job. She was recommended Lumiere by a friend’s sister who was working here. She later applied for a job at the firm and was absorbed into the role of research consultant. Besides giving her an employment opportunity, Lumiere gave a great platform for learning on a daily basis. She has been enjoying her work and feels at ease with the work environment and the people. The great benefit that is felt by her is the amount of positivity that is present at the workplace where the culture is to motivate employees to utilize their strengths rather than punish them for their weaknesses. This has been a tremendous help for her in her relationships not only at work but also in her interpersonal relationships at home with her husband and her child. Apart from this, the flexibility offered at work makes it easier for her to have enough time with her child and hence, she is able to play the role of a mother at home also with ease.
Vandana Thakur – Back-to-Work Intern
Vandana was a homemaker wanting to get back to work after 18 years of break. She was pursuing PGDM in advertising and media and was looking for opportunities in a creative field. She got to know about Lumiere through a relative who knew Deepa and Milind Soman. She later landed an interview at Lumiere and was encouraged to get back to work. This opportunity has given her tremendous confidence to ride along this professional journey. Apart from being her boss, Deepa and Milind have been like a guide to Vandana making her feel at home at work. With their mentorship, guidance and support, the comfort and knowledge Vandana has gained about her own capabilities has been monumental in gaining self-confidence. This has also been a huge learning platform both professionally and personally. The growth aspect has been huge and has especially impacted her mindset towards life.
All of the above people have had tremendous amount of positivity enter their lives from working with a firm like Lumiere. Lumiere has brought a great deal of transformation in the otherwise routine lives of these women. Hence, this International Women’s Day, these women would like to thank Lumiere for the light and insight they have bought into this world and continue to bring more to those seeking it.
Nitinder’s example of distance working is Very encouraging from my perspective.
Indeed it is Priya. She moves to yet another location next month and we continue to stay relevant to each other.