An anthology of women who inspired India
Bengaluru, 18 August, 2016: “She Walks, She Leads”, an exclusive anthology of women achievers, authored by Gunjan Jain was launched in Bengaluru on Thursday amidst eminent personalities and stalwarts from across the industry. The debutant author's effort of motivating and inspiring people through her book by presenting twenty-four iconic women of modern India was well-reflected at the launch event. In terms of leading personalities on the dais and curious audience, Bengaluru event matched the scintillating launch in Mumbai last month. Gunjan Jain has associated with the leading industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the Bangalore launch. Published by Penguin Random House India, “She Walks, She Leads”, is one of the first books of its kind in the global publishing industry.
“She Walks, She Leads” is a passionate effort of Gunjan Jain as she decoded the success stories of top women. She highlighted the unique architecture of success of each woman leader while simultaneously presenting some success values that are common to all of them. The author found that their family was the corner stone of happiness for all the women achievers. According to Gunjan, these twenty-four unique lives are a testament to the fact that there are as many paths to success as there are people.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Ltd, said, "Gunjan Jain’s anthology of biographies, ‘She Walks She Leads,’ vividly captures the journeys of some remarkable women who are at the top of their respective fields today. It is thoroughly researched, well-written and smartly put together. Even as we move forward towards a more equitable society, it is important to remember and rectify, as far as possible, the prejudices that still hold back a lot of women from achieving their full potential. And for that, a book like 'She Walks She Leads' will certainly be a valuable source of inspiration to all those gutsy women who want to smash the so-called glass ceiling.”
A quote of N R Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Ltd, in the book says, "the book is certain to speak to women- those in fledgling careers, those struggling up the ladder, even those nearly at the top. But equally it is a book for men. A valuable collection that sensitises them to so many struggles any professional women inevitably has to face."
Over 130 leading personalities, who were achievers themselves, helped Gunjan Jain get a foot in many doors. The list includes Azim Premji, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Mukesh Ambani, Adi Godrej, Ajay Piramal, Anand Mahindra, Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Vineet and Samir Jain, Sunil Mittal, Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar.
The author intertwined direct inputs from the leaders and experiences of their near and dear in the narration of seemingly common phases of life of any person like childhood, upbringing, marriage, and profession. During the course of working on these details, she could locate insights and interpret leadership. At the end of each insightful biographical account of a leader, she presented a detailed interview with their spouses, family members or close confidants who have seen them grow over years.
While discovering the ingredients of success and traits of successful women, Gunjan was able to pinpoint the unique traits of each leader. Such discoveries include: Indu Jain's vision through spiritual prism; Saina Nehwal's unrelenting focus; Sudha Murthy's individual identity; and Indra Nooyi's sheer hard work.
Contribution for change in the larger context was Gunjan Jain's criterion for choosing the women achievers. Her motivation for presenting them was to highlight such success stories that cannot be learned from anywhere else. Moreover, the women achievers authorised and supported the work, making it a first hand account. Through her interactions with leaders and their near and dear, author succeeded in getting such hidden pearls of wisdom.
“After immense hard work and meeting with connoisseurs from all walks of life, I am thrilled to launch my first book. It’s always been my dream to be an author and inspire people, especially women since I was very close to my mother. Meeting with so many dynamic professionals and writing this book has been a prodigious experience all together. Interacting with the women achievers of India and learning about their stories has been of great privilege. I have immense gratitude for them to take out time from their busy schedules to make my debut book a success,” said Ms. Gunjan Jain.
Gunjan Jain captured priorities of each of the women leaders. For Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's place on her priority list is above her husband, Raj. The list continues with her kids, mother and ends with self at the bottom. For Yasmeen Premji, staying true to the core is more important than living up to others' expectations. Sudha Murthy's core value is leading by example by doing everything with passion and dedication. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw's priority is experimentation and learning coupled with intense determination. Self-belief and self-worth made her 'the richest woman' in India.
“All the women Gunjan Jain has so marvellously profiled in her book are inspiring role models who prove that there is no such thing as glass ceiling for those with talent and determination to reach higher summits of success. It is society's responsibility to create a supportive environment for an aspiring daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and colleague, so that women's unleashed creative power can transform mankind as a whole,” commented Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd. in the book.
The women leaders in the book are: Nita Ambani, Sudha Murty, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Indira Nooyi, Mary Kom, Parameshwar Godrej, Rajashree Birla, Yasmeen Premji, Anu Aga, Chanda Kochhar, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Zia Mody, Swati Piramal, Shabana Azmi, Mira Nair, Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, Jyotsna Darda, Shobhana Bhartia, and Indu Jain.
The Mumbai event was hosted on July 21, 2016 by two of India Inc’s renowned and highly respected stalwarts, Nita Ambani and Deepak Parekh. The highlights of the event were Nita Ambani's insightful opening speech, Shah Rukh Khan's poem on 'fight like a girl' and Swati Piramal’s evocative book reading. The luminaries attended that evening included Mukesh Ambani, Isha, Akash and Anant Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chanda Kochhar, Rajashree Birla, Gita Piramal, Zia Mody, Simi Grewal, Nawaz Mody Singhania, Vita and Jalaj Dani, Sanjay Nayyar and Hemendra Kothari.
Pernod Ricard India, fully owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, France and the largest multinational beverage liquor company in India has extended support for the event.