Sweta Mohapatra is a 2015 Vital Voices VVLead Fellow and the Founder and CEO of DiversityVision, a gender diversity consulting and solutions firm with a mission to enhance gender diversity and inclusive leadership in workplaces and business. This year she organized the first Global Mentoring Walk in Pune, India. It was one of 86 Global Mentoring Walks organized around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day.
In November 2014, after a long and uninterrupted career in the corporate sector in India, I decided to quit my job and focus on my doctoral research on leadership development and talent management of women in the IT sector in India. A few months after I took the plunge, I was given the opportunity to participate in the 2015 VVLead Fellowship program. The fellowship offers a global network of emerging and established women leaders unique opportunities to share information, obtain resources and tools, mentor and be mentored, and receive training. Little did I know the extent to which this program would broaden my horizons and provide me with opportunities to network across the globe.
As I went through the online trainings and networked with other VVLead Fellows, a dream started to turn into reality. I had always wanted to have a consulting firm where I could leverage my corporate experience in the area of human resources and leadership development and expand upon my work designing gender diversity initiatives in global firms. As a VVLead Fellow, I finally had access to a global network of women leaders who I could bounce ideas off of and discuss my dilemmas. They became role models and mentors, supporting me so that I felt fully confident and empowered. In June, just months after I joined the fellowship, I launched DiversityVision, a gender consulting and solutions firm.
After launching DiversityVision I participated in the VVLead South-South Exchange Program in South Africa. The program opened my eyes to the wide array of causes that VVLead Fellows from around the world were dedicating their lives to and helped me get a deeper perspective on gender issues across the globe. When I received the invitation to serve as a 2016 Global Mentoring Walk Flag Bearer, I felt a deep urge to pay it forward. I wanted to give back all the support I had received from VVLead Fellows and Vital Voices and decided to organize the first Mentoring Walk in Pune, India.
In Pune, we brought together established, senior leaders and emerging women leaders from all sectors like IT, IT enabled services, media, academics and manufacturing. It was heartening to see the women in pairs having deep meaningful heart to heart conversations with each other, sharing both experiences and lessons learned from their career and personal life.
For me, the Mentoring Walk was the most inspiring initiative I have ever led. It drew together selfless contribution from the mentors and electric energy of the mentees in a very unique format. Now that we have tasted success in bringing the Global Mentoring Walk to Pune, I would like to continue to raise awareness around mentoring through initiatives throughout the year. My vision as a Flag Bearer was to create sparks that would create a chain reaction of mentorship that would extend beyond the women who participated in the walk. I can confidently say that I have already begun to seen my vision come to life.
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