Time is NOW

Time is NOW

This year, we saw an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights,
equality and justice. Whether it was in the form of global marches and
campaigns, including #METOO and #TimesUP. Echoing the same sentiments, UN
Commission called out for a new Action – #TimeisNOW. Never has been the call
for equality been more imperative or so collaborative. While many will debate
about the purpose of celebrating just ONE DAY of the Year for Women’s Day –
but remember till we really gain the equal opportunity for all, we need to grab
each day till we transform this momentum into Action.

That’s exactly what we intend to do. This weekend, we joined Global Movement
of women mentoring other women & girls. We walked in #GlobalMentoringWalk
with more than 100,000 women & girls walking in more than 150 walks in 60

countries. As part of Vital Voices Fellow network and as a Flag bearer of the
walks in India & Singapore, we partnered with more than 20 walks across India
& Singapore. It is our duty to share our learnings and insights with future
generation and help another woman. It is indeed true that as soon as power is
shared it expands.

But as we said, it cannot be one-day affair. It is a call out for a long term
sustainable activation. Our journey continues with series of inspiring sessions
with our inclusion champions. We are launching three new Mentorship
programs focusing on Social Entrepreneurs and Women on Boards. And we are
committed to support our top 100 BD Fellows in the network for next 5 years
who would be going for year long “UnLTD” program sponsored completely by us.
We would be honouring and celebrating many champions and role models at I
Inspire 2018. And the list continues.

So Yes, Women’s Day is not one DAY. It is everyday because #TimeisNOW.

2017 – Year it Was!

2017 – Year it Was!

365 days fly by.. A day by itself does not seem much but one day at a time forming one full year surely is time to pause and reflect, to look at our achievements and initiatives with pride and to be ready to work towards new milestones. 2017 would always be a very special year in the journey of BD Foundation. This year saw the organization rewriting its goals, pivoting from Biz Divas Foundation to BD Foundation thus expanding the scope of IMPACT – Beyond Diversity

The Future of work is knocking NOW and at BD Foundation we started initiatives to help our partners embrace FOW trends 

FOW research

This year we did an extensive research on Future of Work in Indian context. Our team led by Sarika Gupta and Rashmi Mandloi reached out more than 100 organizations  to understand the talent economics in the country – current fabric of the talent pool, gaps in skills required for future jobs and to build a talent framework for the workforce of 2030.

Top three trends from the research are:

The diverse workforce will be characterized by innovative thoughts, nonlinear organizations and would resemble a network of jobs.

Focus is on understanding the unique needs of the millennial generation and devising a strategy to engage them towards a common purpose which they value.

Empathy, networking skills and managing the virtual world would be the skills required to survive in the new world. Communication and transparency will be the most important factors in a virtual world. For more details on research please click here

Taking this forward, we invited Eleanor Tabi haller – Jorden to present her insights on ‘How Artificial Intelligence is going to impact the talent space.  The session which was conducted in partnership with RBS – a BD Foundation Corporate network partner and attended by senior business leaders from diverse industries, evoked pertinent thoughts and quelled fear/uncertainties revolving around automation and future of work

Women on Boards

BD Foundation has been promoting the cause of balanced leadership in corporate, community and public offices for the last 6 years. To further this cause, we relaunched our Women on Boards Network which will aim to mentor and support influential women leaders in different fields who can lead organisations and community at leadership/boardroom levels

WOB summit

WoB summit was held in Mumbai and attended by more than 100 senior women form across the country. Few prominent leaders in the room were – Debjani Ghosh – President, Nasscom, Zarina Stanford – SAP Head of Marketing APJ, Anuranjita Kumar – CHRO RBS, Eleanor Tabi Haller Jorden – President and CEO – The Paradigm Forum, Reeta Nathwani – International Executive Coach, Srini Ramaswamy – Head inclusion and Collaboration at Cisco.

 

BD Foundation proudly presented the Women on Board award to the Future Group for having more than 1 independent women director on board.

Connecting Conversations

Conversations are essential to bring together stakeholders of the change we want to see in our society and the workplace. We took to different platforms to connect with people to address varied range of issues from Women on Boards, essential leadership skills, inspiring stories of leaders of influence and many more.

Table of EightTable of Eight event is an opportunity for senior women leaders aspiring to be on Boards. To seek real world advice from the mentors who have already achieved these milestones. With this objective, Table of Eight was held across various cities in India, and also outside India – in Singapore.

Bangalore – Akila Krishnakumar

Delhi –  Debjani Ghosh

Mumbai – Kalpana Unadkat

Singapore- Zarina Lam Stanford

BD Think Tank is an initiative by BD Foundation which helps to provide a platform for creating awareness and sharing best practices on inclusion. It is dedicated to progressing the discussion on diversity, understanding the challenges and issues facing organisations in the region. We are thrilled to see eagerness of organizations to partner with BD Think Tank in this initiative.

The most recent was held with the corporate partner – RBS in Gurgaon was a thought provoking session with business leaders from top organizations across varied industries.

Webinars – Webinars give us an opportunity to transcend boundaries and go global to get the best talent to interact with our executives.as people connected, shared, learned from each other’s journey – We have had some amazing feedback on the webinars. These webinars have provided a continuum of learning and growing with world class leaders like Lauren Anderson, Zarina Lam Stanford, Anuranjita Kumar, and Tanvi Gautam.

I InspireI Inspire is our annual inclusive leadership conference which this year was weaved around the theme of ‘Infinite Potential’. Seeding from the very basic thought that each individual has an infinite potential that needs a supportive and progressive ecosystem to evolve and flourish, the high impact forum created a common ground for learning, networking and sharing with the most inspiring and inclusive leaders.

I inspire awards in various categories were presented to individuals and organizations making their mark in the corporate and social space. BD Foundation takes pride in honouring these change makers. More details on the conference available here.  

L.E.A.P – Leadership Advancement Program has grown stronger and robust than ever before. A pool of diverse women talent get to be mentored by an equally diverse, top business leaders from across varied industries. BD Foundation systematically invests in the women talent over a period of 6-9 months program to help them grow as leaders.  More than 35 women leaders are a part of this robust network

Immersive sessions

Through Immersive sessions we focus on exploring the current realities about where we are, where we want to go, what skills and networks we require to reach there, unleash our hidden potential.  What makes this a holistic development program is a combined focus on skills, inner leadership capacity and network of mentors and coaches.

Network Growth / New Geographies/ International Leaders 

Our own diverse team

The diversity that we seek in the world is something that we embody in our own organization. A truly diverse team ranging from Baby boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and recently inducted millennials keep the spirit and vision of the team alive.  The organization has seen exciting growth in the last 1 year as we do not let the geographical boundaries, physical presence and stringent work timings come in the way of unique talent the organization taps into. Remote locations, digital presence and flex work arrangements make sure that we tap into the best talent and keep the team at its productive best!  

Wish you all a Happy 2018!

 

What is independence to you?

What is independence to you?

 

As I drove on the roads of Gurgaon, I saw many children running at the traffic signals waving the tricolor flags and trying to cajole passersby to buy them. The windows of the car would roll down, and someone would give them little change in lieu of the flags. This made me ponder on the eve of 71st Independence Day – “Have we truly achieved our Independence?” While we have claimed our sovereignty from the foreign rule many years ago, but do we truly have freedom of living in a dignified manner.

Everyday, we experience this disparity closely, but we have become so immune to it that we turn a blind eye towards it. In a nation, where manual scavenging is still a profession for many, casteism still rampant with many not having access to basic amenities like education and sanitation, we need to ask ourselves what does independence truly mean. Even after so many years of independence, women cannot venture out to pursue education or careers due to the fear for their own safety. They are not free to express their opinions without being trolled – whether online or offline.

We call ourselves a free nation, but do not have the freedom to choose what we eat, what we wear or even whom we love. The land where marital rape is considered legal, women’s rights being secondary and article 377 still a sore point – is not really free.

Independence Day doesn’t mean one day of nationalist pride, it means a commitment to serve the nation in a truly inclusive way. We salute the brave hearts and heroes who fought in the freedom struggle but they dreamt of a nation of peace and harmony where people prospered. Until unless we eradicate these social evils, intolerance and learn to accept differences and celebrate them, the people in the country cant prosper.

I hope that someday, I will see those kids in schools unfurling the National Flag in their schools and not selling them on traffic signals which would be trampled upon by cars the next day. It is our duty to make the dream of a progressive nation with all citizens having equal rights to live with dignity come true.

 

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata

 

I went on my first major trek last year in May to the Everest Base Camp. It was an exhilarating experience and took me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one. That experience made me decide to do another trek and I ended up choosing Mount Kilimanjaro as the next one.

So a bunch of us friends started planning for this in November of 2016 and soon we had 8 people on board and all details were finalised for the trek from 7-13 March. We did our research from the internet and from people who have been there before as we assiduously prepared for the journey.

We all made our way from different cities to congregate at Arusha in Tanzania. I flew from Dhaka to Nairobi and then went by road to Arusha. We then set out on our trek which involved 5 days of climbing up to the summit and 2 days of coming down.

We went with Team Kilimanjaro led by Faraja, the chief guide, and a group of about 30 porters and guides. We stayed in tents along the way, a new experience for most of us. We took the scenic Rongai route, which started off in the rain forests before opening up into higher and more rocky terrain. The first 2 days were very good – nice easy walks with lovely views in absolutely pristine environment with hardly any people around. It was very liberating. As we climbed higher, the terrain started becoming more barren and the air started becoming thinner with the oxygen levels going down.

We quickly settled into a routine – early wake up and breakfast, packing up our stuff, wearing the right gear and setting out for the day. We then covered the distance for the day in gorgeous sunny weather, broke for lunch and then got back on our feet again. We usually ended the day by early evening and enjoyed a cup of tea followed by an early dinner. We would then retire for the night by around 9 pm.

Then came D-day, or rather D-night, the night we set out for the summit. We started out at 11:30 pm, swathed in several layers of clothing and a sense of nervous excitement of what lay ahead. It was a clear night with a full moon and countless shining stars. We trudged along in a single file taking one step after another. After a while, the body settled into a slow and steady rhythm, the mind went blank, devoid of any thoughts. Around sunrise, we reached Gilman’s Point at 5685 meters. By then, we were all in a zombie-like state functioning without being fully aware of what we were doing. Our guides told us that we were “just” an hour and a half from the summit. And so we gathered our last reserves and set out again, as the sun came up and warmed us a bit. Finally around 8:30 am, we reached Uhuru peak, the highest point at 5895 meters. It was a proud and emotional moment for all of us. The sense of accomplishment was incredible. After the customary selfies, we started our descent. The entire journey down to the next camp took 8 hours with just a one hour lunch break. We reached camp by 6 pm, utterly exhausted. We had trekked 17 hours  in fairly alien and tough conditions!!

The next couple of days were a blur as we all recovered from our exhaustion and as the achievement began to sink in and as we boarded our flights back home.

It was amongst the toughest things that I have done in my life. It was challenging physically as well as mentally. There were many thoughts buzzing around in my head as we went through this generic yasmin experience, and there were many learnings. I have attempted to summarize them below.

  1. Hakuna matata– this is a Swahili phrase which translates to “no worries” – it is a common phrase in that part of the world, which was further popularized by The Lion King. To me it reflects a larger philosophy of life, in terms of taking things in our stride and working through them, rather than getting bogged down by our circumstances. Our guides used to sing this every morning to inspire and motivate us to get through the tough day ahead, and it’s a worthwhile memory to keep in mind to get through tough days in our life.
  2. Get out of our comfort zone every once in a while: One of things that worried me about the trek was about how I was going to manage to sleep in the sleeping bag! I feel claustrophobic and am not very comfortable in a tent in the sleeping bag. The first night was tough. But then, from the second night, I got used to it. And I guess the exhaustion, chamomile tea and meditation helped as well. Every once in a while, it’s good to get out of our comfort zone and do things for the first time.
  3. Pole Pole – a Swahili word that means to take it slowly, take it easy. The first thing that the guides tell you is to go slowly, really slowly so that your body gets used to the altitude and the environment. What I found was this also lets you slow down and appreciate the view and the surroundings. And that’s something that we very often forget to do in life. We are so busy chasing our goals that we forget to live in the moment and be present to the things happening around us.
  4. Simple joys of life: we take so much for granted in our lives that we very often fail to appreciate them. During the trek, we were served very simple but quite tasty meals – usually soup, bread, pasta, rice, boiled vegetables and fresh fruits. I got used to this pretty quickly, and didn’t really miss my favorite food. And I discovered the simple pleasures of life like drinking a hot cup of tea with the early morning sun in my face and with a nip in the air, or having a bowl of steaming hot soup in the evening after a long day’s trek, or a deep philosophical discussion with a friend as we walked along a scenic path.
  5. Digging deep into reserves – in order to summit, we walked all night and then after summiting we walked down all day – a total of about 17 hours, without any sleep or rest. It was a grueling journey, where very often, both the mind and body would want to give up. And that’s when I realized that we are capable of digging deep into physical and mental reserves that we don’t even know exist, and are able to manage seemingly insurmountable problems.

Once we made our way back to Arusha, we all met up for a celebratory dinner, where we reminisced about the highs and lows of the trek. And we all concluded that in spite of all the hardships, the journey was truly worth it. We said a prayer of gratitude to the Almighty and to our guides, without whom this would not have been possible. We then proceeded to enjoy the well-earned Kilimanjaro beer and the sumptuous Greek food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he journey was truly worth it. We said a prayer of gratitude to the Almighty and to our guides, without whom this would not have been possible. We then proceeded to enjoy the well-earned Kilimanjaro beer and the sumptuous Greek food.

Biz Divas is now BD Foundation

Biz Divas is now BD Foundation

We are proud to announce the launch of the new company logo as part of the ongoing evolution of our organisation. Our vision has grown and evolved over the last 5 years, and we feel it is time for our brand to mirror this evolution. Changing business realities, client needs and new technologies, made us realise it was time to revamp our brand, to reflect on who we are today and symbolise our dynamic future. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly. It was difficult for us to say Good Bye to Biz Divas and the beautiful Butterfly logo. It symbolised us for a long time and we are sad to see it go…but we are even more excited to bring in the new. Change is good, and even necessary.

With the official launch of BD Foundation, I thought that it would be a good time to update everyone on where Biz Divas is going and what you can expect next. Over the last few weeks we’ve poured our hearts and souls into this re-launch, we’re very happy with it and are confident that you will be too
So far, a number of our partners have already been able to experience and become familiar with the new look. The comments that we’re receiving are very, very positive. Thank you to those organisations and businesses for providing the feedback and helping us every step of the way through the process.

So what’s new?
We’ve completely redesigned our brand and logo and we are now called ‘BD Foundation”. BD stands for “Beyond Diversity”. We want to be a catalyst creating an ecosystem where differences are appreciated and utilised. We want to move ‘beyond diversity’ to create a more inclusive world

We have already begun the process of switching out the old with the new… we expect the complete transition to happen in a few weeks. We believe that this shift to the new brand reflects our company’s mission and passion – and we think it looks pretty good too!

Of course, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat, let us know… we’ll keep you updated as we get closer to the launch.