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‘Women need to network more’

Networking is an area that professional women need to focus on: that was the message for women from the IT industry at the fourth anniversary of Empowering Women in IT (eWIT), on Tuesday. “ Women may not join colleagues and counterparts for a beer after work, but just keeping touch goes a long way,” said Vijayalakshmi Rao, president of eWIT and COO of Scope e-Knowledge Centre.

Marcy Klevorn, global head of IT operations of Ford Motor, further emphasized on this point when she said, “ Networking is not what you do outside of work. It is part of your work and organizations must learn how to enable integration of networking in the workspace.”

Vanitha Narayanan, managing partner, global business services at IBM, said that women, especially Indian women, are excellent at managing relationships within their families and extended families, but don’t seem to apply the same skill to their professional life. “We are the keepers of family and tradition. But we should start applying the three-step formula to our professional lives: plan, prioritise and network.”

Narayanan was also concerned about the sparse presence of women in leadership roles. The concern was shared by TV Vinod Kumar, vice-president, RCTG and location head, Chennai, Wipro Technologies. “ At the entry level, we see a 50:50 ratio. In the mid-level, that changes to about 70:30 and higher up, that ratio is even slimmer. This is very worrying for any global company.”

Andrew Simkin, consul general, US Consulate, Chennai, said, “ Clearly our economy is undergoing various changes. And global companies cannot afford to be dominated by old boys networks.”

(From Business News Column of The Times of India dated April 28, 2010)