Running any business is a difficult task, but being the person who toils relentlessly in the background is a maverick. With over 14 years of experience as an Executive Assistant, Ila Arora is an asset for every organization and a pivotal point for the successful and smooth operation of the management brass. Ila is currently working at the Office of the Founder and Group CEO of one of the top hospitality chains of India- OYO. She has a penchant for mythology and the arduous reader is a big fan of the works by Devdutt Pattnaika and Amish. “Ramdhari Singh Dhinkar’s poetry on Mahabharat characters strongly resonates with the contemporary world”, speculates Ila. When not working, Ila unwinds by watching documentaries on Netflix. The Voice of Woman recently got in touch with this busy lady for a quick interview on her views on leadership and a woman’s place in the corporate world. What is the most interesting aspect of Ila Arora’s job? Basically no two days are alike, it is a roller coaster ride. The best part is the vast range of knowledge that I am able to gain over various departments like Finance, HR, Marketing, Customer interaction, and everything that encapsulates the business as a whole. Additionally, I get the opportunity to work with everyone in the organization. I believe this helps to imbibe the cultural values and it is most important for every business. I get to interact with people from all works of life, with different skill sets and this helps me to expand my horizon and helps to attain a better perspective of life. What inspires Ila Arora on a daily basis? Every new day starts with new vigour and enthusiasm. Everything that you look forward to cannot be the same as the previous day. The partnership with my executive and doing the daily task while contributing to making someone’s dream come true- I believe is the biggest asset of my job. The opportunity to make a difference while going that extra mile is what inspires me on a daily basis. Can you please tell us more about your job and how young girls can prepare themselves for this role? The job comes with a lot of variety and excitement and you get a chance to do a little of everything. It is imperative to understand that representing the management’s office is not a cakewalk. For young girls aspiring to become an Executive Assistant, there are 3 prerequisites: willingness to learn, empathy, and the right attitude. These 3 core qualities are the keys to succeed in this fast-paced, interesting, and highly challenging profile. For anyone who wants to make a mark for themselves in the corporate sector, it is important to understand your self-worth and what you bring to the table. Also, be assertive while accommodating others opinions. It is always about striking the right balance. Sexual harassment at the workplace has become a point of discussion, especially post #MeToo movement, your thoughts on it. Unfortunately, there is no denying the fact that sexual harassment exists in all workplace. The challenge is giving into it. Always remember to push back and break the silence. The #MeToo movement has been a big driving force as it has been able to instil confidence in women to voice their opinion and letting the folks know where to draw the line. Always recognize and realize that no career choice is worth your self-worth and dignity. Never compromise and always be vigilant and remember to voice your concerns. Inequality of payment between male and female employees is an issue of concern, what do you have to say about this? Unfortunately, it is a real thing. Women are usually toppers while pursuing their education whether in schools or colleges but once you enter the real world you can see the difference. The equation totally changes and its quite ironic and concerning. When women are paid less because of their gender, it becomes a form of gender discrimination. Both sexes are performing the same task, this bias should end at all levels. It is really important to negotiate skillfully and not let anyone undermine your talents. As a working professional, how do you manage the work-life balance? Work-life balance might be a basic thing but really important for all of us to manage. What has kept me going are 3 basic aspects. Firstly, I love what I do and everything else just falls into place. Secondly, discipline and time management- I follow a daily routine and that has helped me steer of any obstacles, and finally never compromise on your priorities. I have always understood my priorities and that has helped me to keep going. Do you think work from home is more beneficial for women than men? It is not right to be gender-specific here but owing to the rise of nuclear families both partners shoulder equal responsibilities. Work from home does limit the time division of office hours versus time spent at home and I feel it is more productive and a quick turnaround is there. It is the new normal and gender doesn’t really matter. What do you think are the key skills of leadership? My profile has always given me an opportunity to work with leaders. Regarding leadership quality, I want to quote Michelle Obama, “People who are truly strong lift others up, people who are truly powerful bring others together.” A great leader has 5 basic skills and that keeps the ball rolling. These are the ability to take quick decisions, timely and effective communication skill, humility is second nature, empathetic, and a positive attitude is what is needed to run the entire ship. How do you keep up with the latest technological advancement? The world runs on technology today. What is important is to work smart and apply tools to make life easier. Testing and playing with the latest tech is part of the work culture. I keep myself abreast with the latest news on tech and take part in knowledge sharing with colleagues. It helps to be aware and use relevant apps and services to make everyone’s life as easier as possible. What message would you like to share with our readers through the platform of The Voice of Woman? Stepping into one’s shoes and understanding each other’s opinions is the greatest forte and that’s what The Voice of Woman is all about. It’s an incredible platform that helps in enabling each other and ensures the most important factor that we are all in the same boat. Our dreams and stories may be different but our emotions, understanding, and aspiration to create a better world remain the same.