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Union Minister for women & child development, Smriti Irani, virtually joins in the celebration of MentorMyBoard’s Women Directors Conclave and Awards

Ms Divya Momaya, Founder, MentorMyBoard, with Ms Neha Shah, Co-Founder and Director, MentorMyBoard

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], December 20: The 3rd Edition of Women Directors Conclave, hosted by MentorMyBoard (https://www.mentormyboard.com/) at the Bombay Stock Exchange on 15th December 2023, was a lively and dynamic one, as it hosted its first Women Directors Awards – a first-of-its-kind award that celebrated women directors across various business verticals. The debut edition of the event received an enthusiastic response, with a special mention by the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Irani, who addressed the event virtually. Governance Evangelist, and Dr. Kiran Bedi, also virtually engaged with the audience, sharing her thoughts on inclusivity and what women can bring to Indian boardrooms. General Manager for SEBI, Smt. Yogita Jadhav, shared insights and discourse on diversity and inclusion in corporate boardrooms, as part of her keynote address. 

Organised by MentorMyBoard, a pioneering tech platform that has been working towards empowering and enabling directors across Indian boardrooms, the Women Directors Conclave 2023 was designed to drive awareness and conversations about the contribution of women leaders in building stronger and more resilient boardrooms. Speaking at the event, in her keynote address, Ms Yogita Jadhav, General Manager, SEBI, said, “As India ambitiously strides towards a USD 5 trillion economy, the role of robust and diverse corporate boards, including the impactful contributions of women directors, becomes paramount. Today, a decade after the Companies Act of 2013, women directors comprise only 18.5% of cumulative boards across the country! This needs to change. There is an urgent need to look beyond regulatory compliance, and address the real challenges, which include enabling companies to recognize and harness the transformative power of diversity, and empowering women directors with a supportive ecosystem to leverage their full potential and play a key role in nation building”.

The Women Directors Awards received enthusiastic nominations across its 17 categories, including Listed and Unlisted Companies, Unlisted growing Companies, women in Executive Director Roles, women directors from SME-listed companies, Not-for-Profit Entities and Institutions, PSUs and Growing Startups. The finalists were selected by an expert panel of jury members and the awards were given away in the presence of dignitaries. Designed to recognise and celebrate successful women leaders who have carved a space for themselves in male-dominated boardrooms, the debut edition of the Women Directors Awards was well received and was instrumental in driving conversations around how gender diversity can enhance better decision-making and resilience in corporate boards. 

Speaking about the need of a paradigm shift, from ‘women development’ to a ‘women-led development’ mindset, and celebrating ‘Nari Shakti’ by recognising and awarding trailblazing women for their role in Indian Boardrooms, through the Women Directors Awards, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Irani, said, “At the onset, my heartiest congratulations to all the ladies who at this Conclave are being celebrated today for their contribution. I think if there is ever a manifestation of Nari Shakti, it is in this Conclave. I am just hopeful that when we celebrate these women achievers, we do not speak of them as if they are inspirational for women and girls alone. They are thought leaders, and financial leaders, who are inspiring many an enterprise across the country and in equal measures, are inspiring men as well to do better.”

Distinguished panellists, experienced directors, governance experts, and industry leaders, including Ms Anannya Saikia, Deputy Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, and Prof. RSS Mani, Co-Founder and Vice President, ITM Group of Institutions, among others, also spoke about the urgent need to create a supportive corporate governance ecosystem that nurtures talented women directors and helps build resilient and productive corporate boards. In line with this objective, MentorMyBoard (https://www.mentormyboard.com/) also launched its special Women On Management Boards (WOMB) circle initiative, focussed on mentoring women directors. In her virtual address to the audience, Governance Evangelist, and committee member for WOMB Circle, Dr Kiran Bedi said “Congratulations to MentorMyBoard for organising the Women Directors Conclave and doing it so well! MentoMyBoard is filling a very major need as also pointed out during the discussion, there is a shortage of trained and qualified women directors. I would also like to highlight that women’s entry into the boardrooms should mark a turning point in the way we manage our factories and companies. Women directors can bring empathy and compassion to the boardrooms, resulting in a lot of welfare schemes. And when I say welfare, it is not just family welfare. It is empathy and compassion for all, men included. I understand that Men’s qualities are Mobility, Muscle and Money. Women’s qualities are heart, healing, and humanity. When all of these three M and the three H merge, you have the best director!”

Speaking about the event, Ms Divya Momaya, Founder and Director, MentorMyBoard, said, “I am truly delighted at the response that the 3rd edition of Women Directors Conclave and our debut Women Directors Awards, has received. What started as a genuine effort to start conversations around diversity and inclusion in Indian boardrooms, has today evolved to be a platform that not only brings together the most trailblazing women directors and mentors but also hosts prominent dignitaries who are willing to support and give voice to our humble efforts! Their presence here today is a testament to the work that we have managed to do so far. Our special thanks to the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Irani, for her time and her inspiring message on Women-Led Development” 

Another key achievement was that while the event was focused on Women Directors, up to 30% of the guests at the Conclave were men. Speaking about the awards, the panel discussions and the sense of real inclusion by MentorMyBoard, Ms Neha Shah, Co-Founder and Director of MentorMyBoard, said, “We work extensively with both men and women directors as we feel it is important to build a collective ecosystem for growth. Through the panel discussions, which included male speakers as well,we aimed to address key aspects of board governance and the need to build an ecosystem for aspiring and deserving women to have access to mentorship and networking opportunities. Women face a lot of ground challenges like limited opportunities, gender bias and stereotypes at work and home, lack of networking opportunities and little or no access to learning and mentorship programs designed to meet their needs. While the above-mentioned challenges are one end of the roadblock, understanding the significance of women in Indian boardrooms is another key aspect that needs to be addressed. Even though policies may set the stage, it is crucial to move beyond a compliance mindset. The WOMB Circle is one such focused initiative that aims to build a strong and supportive community for women directors.”

In line with objective of the Women Director’s Conclave, a series of discussions by prominent panellists and speakers were also held during the evening. Through these initiatives, MentorMyBoard aims to continue working towards building productive and inclusive boards, in alignment with the government’s vision of the USD 5 Trillion Economy by helping build stronger and diverse, performance-driven boards. 

Watch the entire Conclave here : https://www.youtube.com/live/ome4fAE4N2Y?si=grm4G7-KB_6AT4yX

About MentorMyBoard:

It is a one-of-a-kind platform in India for board leaders and transformation to better-governed boards where governance meets goals. As a B2B2C Governance Tech Platform, MentorMyBoard aims to enable directors and boardrooms to learn, upskill, create opportunities, network, thrive, and emerge as effective board leaders and performance-driven boardrooms. They have been acknowledged by the Finance Minister of India, Shreemati Nirmala Seetharaman, for their work done in the WDC 2022 Conclave along with Ektaa Kapoor and IAS Vinita Vaid Singhal, amongst other dignitaries, hosted by MentorMyBoard on September 16 at BSE India. MentorMyBoard is also appreciated by the Governance Evangelist, Dr. Kiran Bedi, at the Independent Directors Summit 2023. Since its inception five years ago, MentoryMyBoard has been building a strong community of board leaders, identifying and addressing gaps in the board leadership, whether it is founders, promoters, startup boards, independent directors, women directors, awareness, and governance effectiveness for corporate India. So far, they have trained 450+ directors on their board roles, conducted 10+ board room certification programs, and registered over 5,000+ participants at various MentoryMyBoard flagship events.

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