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The 8th WILL Annual Leadership Conference 2015 unveils the Book ‘Leadership By Proxy’ by Founder Poonam Barua

The 8th WILL Annual Leadership Conference 2015 unveils the Book ‘Leadership By Proxy’ by Founder Poonam Barua

Amidst the luminous presence of head honchos, the WILL Forum India successfully launched the book, ‘Leadership By Proxy: The Story of Women in Corporate India’ during the 8th WILL Annual Leadership Conference- 2015 at Taj Lands End in Mumbai on December 14, 2015. The conference gleamed with industry chiefs like Rishi Gour, CEO, Sodexo India; Dilip Puri, CEO, Starwood Resorts; KG Ananthakrishnan, CEO, MSD Pharma; Sita Ramaswami, International Finance Corporation; Aruna Jayanthi, CEO, Capgemini India; Guy Mansfield, Total Oil India; Omar Domen, CEO, Castrol India, and several others as awardees. Following the book launch, the 8th WILL Annual Leadership Conference- 2015 bestowed awards upon CEOs for ‘Top Ten Best Employers for Women Companies’ in India- for the first time in the country!

“Internal study at Sodexo- India proved gender balanced subsidiaries outperformed non gender balanced by a great margin”, said Rishi Gour while receiving the award.


The event simulated panel discussions on Conscious Bias in the Workplace with HR Leaders, Independent Board Directors and First-Time Women Board Directors in India. Dilip Puri, CEO, Starwood Resorts said, “There is a greater risk in not trusting people than trusting them. When I hire women who are mothers, I need to trust that they will be able to deliver on both fronts. As a CEO it’s my role to create an ecosystem.”


The Forum for Women in Leadership- WILL Forum India brings together senior women executives from leading companies in India and multinationals for leveraging the vast talent-pool of women, sharing best practices for women in the workplace, and mentoring women for leadership positions. Founding members of the WILL Forum India include Tata Consultancy Services, KPMG, and Infosys Technologies.

“Leadership by Proxy” by Poonam Barua, Founder Chairman Forum for Women in Leadership & CEO, WILL Forum India is a pioneering book that lays an archival milestone for creating a “brave new mindset” in corporate India and businesses worldwide, that will genuinely embrace “balanced leadership” as a true goal of corporate enterprise, validate and verify equal opportunity before meritocracy, respect inclusive growth for women who form 50% of the world population, and best practices in the workplace that will reject homogenous corporate boards as a fundamental economic function – to bring optimum rewards to business growth and societal progress. The foreword for the book has been written by N R Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Technologies.

“Meritocracy cannot work without the fundamentals of Equal Opportunity. All companies must embrace the code of conduct for zero-discrimination at all levels- including the corporate boardrooms- before we can bring meritocracy and innovation to corporate India. Inclusive growth is not an HR issue- it is a CEO and Board Governance issue”, said authoress Poonam Barua, elaborating on the book’s content about the corporate code of conduct. “The problem is not on the supply side of women for corporate board directors — the problem is really on the “demand” side of the equation. Companies are looking for ‘safe, comfortable and invisible’ women for boardrooms and not qualified women. That is why corporate India cannot find 1500 women board directors — with 500 million women”, she added.

Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-chief, Business World added, “I believe it is a great time for women in society; women are growing. The only way more women can come in entrepreneurship positions, lead organizations is when other women mentor them.”


Authoress Poonam Barua is a pioneering business leader with a stellar career spanning across corporate and institutional diplomacy, best practices for good governance, conflict resolution and peace building in South Asia and driving collective thought‐leadership across a range of diverse stakeholders in India and worldwide. Ms. Barua has written more than 15 Research Reports including the best selling “50 Best Practices for Women in the Workplace” and “Balanced Boards for Good Governance.” A trained economist with a Master’s Degree from the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, Ms. Barua has served as Chief Program Specialist for over a decade at the United States Information Service in New Delhi. She has also been a Lecturer in Economics at Delhi University and Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Public Administration.


Contributors to the book comprise of prominent names like Jagvinder Pinny Mann, Microsoft India; Ratnamala Manna, Tata Consultancy Services; Prameela Kalive, Zensar Technologies; Vindhya Kudva, Robert Bosch Solutions and Pramila Mohite, Mahindra Group who were featured and felicitated during the launch. The event grandeur was concluded with Interactive sessions with WILL Mentees and their success stories across companies.




Photo Caption: -From Left- Dilip Puri, Managing Director India, Starwood Resorts | Aruna Jayanthi, CEO, Capgemini India | Poonam Barua, Founder, Forum For Women in Leadership & CEO, WILL Forum India | K. G. Ananthakrishnan, Managing Director, MSD Pharmaceuticals India | Rishi Gour, Country President, Sodexo On- Site Services India | Amit Aggarwal, Senior Vice President & Chief Learning Officer, Genpact.