Women Achievers – Vinaya Joshi, Cummins India

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Could you tell us something about your professional achievements and career progression?

I am a Company Secretary and an Associate Member of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from S. P. College and a Law degree from ILS, Law College, both affiliated with the University of Pune. My experience spans over 12 years in the IT and manufacturing industry with diversified domains in corporate law and Company Secretarial matters.

Since 2008, I was engaged in Regulatory Compliances of listed and unlisted entities in India and overseas. I am very proud that I was part of strategic projects such as setting up Joint Ventures, Acquisitions, Divestitures, Restructuring, Compliance Strategy Planning, Litigation, Business Partnering, etc., and received individual and team recognition for this.

From April 2020, I am working as Company Secretary of Cummins India Ltd and ex-officio Trustee of Cummins India Foundation. Additionally, I also shoulder the responsibility of the entire Corporate Secretarial function for Cummins group entities in India.

Prior to joining Cummins, I worked with Zensar Technologies and with Tata Toyo Radiator Ltd.

What are the attributes that helped you to reach where you are in your career?

A solution-driven attitude towards work and keeping cool under pressure has helped me tremendously. Keeping myself updated with the changes in the law and best practices across industries adds value to my routine and strategic work. Team First approach has always benefitted me to be a good team player myself and build good and sustainable teams along the way. Delivering with integrity is what I have followed personally throughout these years.

How far have you succeeded in challenging the stereotypes?

There are several stereotypes but a prominent of them remains gender stereotype, especially while hiring women employees. I was on a maternity break for almost two years and getting back to work did take its own time as the Corporates were generally reluctant to hire employees with a break in careers. I was fortunate to get an opportunity in one of the Tata group companies in 2014 where I was able to restart my career. This limited experience on stereotyping which I believe I overcame, needed a lot of effort, a positive attitude, and inward motivation. One thing I must say here is that in the last couple of years, the Corporates have evolved their strategies in terms of hiring, equal pay to women and work-life balance. However, considering the present situation, we have significant opportunities to challenge and conquer other stereotypes which are existent in workplaces and on personal fronts.

In both essential and digital functions, women suffered the repercussions of the economic and social effects of the pandemic. Your comments.

I agree that women suffered more repercussions of the economic and social effects of the pandemic. Social distancing during pandemics has led to the shutdown of corporate offices, businesses, events, and financial markets. In India, most job losses have been experienced in the informal sector. The stay-at-home, as well as working women, were exhausted with physical labour and emotional turmoil. Unequal division of work generally found in households was the main reason behind this. Taking care of all the chores, managing with limited resources without domestic help were key challenges. The mothers also had an additional burden of homeschooling that demanded a great investment of time. Lesser social interactions and no place/space to vent out had caused some serious issues such as domestic violence and depression in extreme cases. Hopefully, with increased people getting vaccinations we are coming back to normalcy and these challenges will no longer be there.

What’s the message you want to send to young working women?

My advice to young women would be, to be empathetic and stay open-minded. Do not shy away from being ambitious. Decide your goal and do not stop till you reach there. Most importantly, do not hesitate from asking a helping hand along the way.