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Women need to dream big to achieve big: Amrita

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Amrita hold engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, and then an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper Business School. She grew up in a professional family – her father is a doctor and mother was a psychologist.

We celebrates, rejoices, inspires and drives every woman to be the most awesome she can be. In this feature we interview Amrita on women empowerment and her stories. Here’s what she has to say.

What have been the high points in your career?

Amrita: I liken my career to a river with many bends and turning points. My first success came as an engineer – I hold 7 US patents for semiconductor manufacturing for process innovation that was used to manufacture Intel Pentium IV microprocessors and subsequent generations of other devices. My years in consulting were fantastic grounding in strategic thinking, working with senior business leaders and articulating growth opportunities for diverse Fortune 500 clients in US and Australia. Another turning point was moving back to India and fulfilling a long held dream of publishing a book. Since then, I have balanced a creative journey alongside my professional one, where I have led growth stage businesses in education, publishing and branding. I am at another turning point now, bringing my business experience back into the technology domain.

Do you idolize any woman?

Amrita: I idolize many women for different things. My mother for her empathy and multi tasking; Maria Popova for fabulous insights that often make my day; successful women business leaders like Indira Nooyi and PadmashreeWarrier for their long journeys of committed excellence; women authors like InduSunderesan and Amy Chua and Arianna Huffington for blending writing and professional careers; culture curators like Tasneem Mehta and Brinda Miller for traversing unstructured paths and giving shape to the amorphous beauty of art and culture.Each one of these women reflects an area I am passionate about.

Do you feel it’s difficult to keep our culture alive in modern era?

Amrita: Culture is truly a living and evolving thing, so in that sense an ossified culture that does not assimilate new ideas and ways remains static. That said, there are cultural nuances we grow up with given our history, geography, food, heritage and more. Many of these continue to seep into our modern lives, but may take newer and nuanced forms.

So, in that sense, I appreciate new things, diverse cultures while respecting cultural traditions. The culture we create – within our families, our organizations, our ecosystems – is an extension of this mind set. It can be open, dynamic, evolving, a blend of residual and emerging values – the way I like it.

After all, even in our own history of several millennia, there have been many influences and cultural exchanges with other cultures and belief systems from ancient times to middle ages. So culture – for me- cannot be a “fixed” thing.

One thing that you want to change about womanism?

Amrita: Having lived and worked in male dominated segments and environments as well as industries where there are many women, I prefer the notion of equality. That said, equality needs to come from within and be believed in. Belief systems of the entire ecosystem needs to change. “Womanism” cannot be about access that is handed out. It is not about a way of dressing or speaking. It is about confidence and taking pride in our own intellect, work, commitment and ideas. So, the one thing I would like to see happen is more young boys and men being taught to appreciate a woman’s perspective and more young women stepping forward to demonstrate intellect, determination and effort – in whichever field they choose to enter.

What is your message for the youth women?

Amrita: My message to young women would be two-fold. Firstly, seek imbalance because growth happens through lack of balance. You can never be in perfect balance at all times, but if you are smart about it you can serially balance every part of your life beautifully. Secondly, seek excellence because many a times we hold ourselves back from dreaming and thus from achieving. It is only when we set impossible targets do we move ahead.

Please share one such story which you think has brought changes in your life.

Amrita: I recall one story from the time I first started working. It was in California. One of the leaders of my company was having an informal conversation with me. He mentioned his own mantra for life –never do things that simply lead to an “improvement” in the current way of doing things and instead seek out disruption and new ideas. That has remained with me in everything I have done. I prefer not to do easy, repetitive or routine jobs. I try to seek new ways of doing things in everything I do. This idea has held me in good stead through life.

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