Women achievers in business were felicitated at the 19th edition of Business Today’s Most Powerful Women (MPW) event.
Nita Ambani of Reliance Foundation; Kaku Nakhate of Bank of America; Mamaearth co-founder Ghazal Alagh; veteran banker-turned tech CEO Arundhati Bhattacharya; Sangita Reddy of Apollo Hospitals Enterprises; HCL Technologies chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra, and Sugar Cosmetics Co-founder and CEO Vineeta Singh were among the women achievers honoured by Union Minister Smriti Irani at the 19th edition of Business Today's Most Powerful Women in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The list of 55 trailblazers represented both continuity and change as the evening saw nine debutantes, 31 repeat winners from last year, and seven comebacks from earlier years from fields such as textiles, pharma, entertainment, start-ups, finance, manufacturing took home the awards.
Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairperson, Piramal Group, accepted the awards on behalf on Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail as well as Nandini Piramal, Chairperson, Piramal Pharma
Three women—Nita Ambani of Reliance Foundation, Kaku Nakhate of Bank of America and Priya Nair of Unilever—who are seven-time winners and therefore enter BT’s MPW Hall of Fame, making way for new entrants to come in next year.
One of the highlights of the evening was the talk by Irani on ‘Leveraging India’s Better Half for Economic and Social Growth’.
"Power is when you have the audacity to take a decision because it best suits you without worrying about how you are judged. Every woman who knows there is a cost to pay for being abrasive is a powerful woman. A woman who takes decisions for herself and is not apologetic about it, that for me is a powerful woman,” she said.
Kalli Purie, Vice-Chairperson, India Today Group, who delivered the vote of thanks, said, "This award is in its 20th year. We started this way back in 2003 when we had 30 awards to give. This year, we have 55. To me, this is an amazing trajectory of how women in business have moved in this country. The Business Today Most Powerful Women represents how India is moving and we need to support each other to make this happen because the more women are in power, the more women can come into power."
The evening kicked off in Mumbai’s St Regis Hotel with a discussion between Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Harvard Business School, on ‘Leadership’s Female Quotient’.
It proceeded with discussions with Zia Mody, Co–founder and Managing Partner, AZB and Partners; Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and CEO, Salesforce, India; Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairperson, Piramal Group; Nandita Das, Film Maker and Actor, and other eminent forces to reckon with from the fields of business, sports and entertainment.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, who is the CEO of HCL Corporation and Chairperson of HCL Technologies, spoke about ‘Business and Society: Marrying the Two’, while Masaba Gupta of House of Masaba spoke on 'Starry Stripes. Fashion and Celeb Fusion.'
Co-founder and CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics, Singh, tackled burning topics from the space in a session entitled ‘Woman on the Pitch: Changing Dealscape’. As more and more Indians are trying out their hand at setting up their own ventures, a panel with Meena Ganesh, Co-founder and Chairperson, Portea Medical, and Ameera Shah, MD, Metropolis Healthcare, discussed ‘The Entrepreneurial Itch’.
Ghazal and Varun Alagh of D2C brand Mamaearth spoke about 'Coupling Success. Team Work.'
Fashion designer and actor Masaba Gupta discussed 'Starry Stripes.Fashion and Celeb Fusion.', while Indian women cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Harleen Deol along with former Indian cricketer Jhulan Goswami and Indian cricket team coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar regaled the audience.
A sector-agnostic panel of Suman Mishra, CEO, Mahindra Last Mile Mobility; Ashima Goyal, Member, RBI Monetary Policy Committee; Jyoti Deshpande, CEO, Viacom18 Media, and Daisy Chittilapilly, President Cisco India and SAARC, discussed ‘Women@Work.Breaking Glass Ceilings.'