Kalpana Tatavarti a name that has been a ray of hope for hundreds of women across the country. This smiling and evangelic entrepreneur with her organisation the Parity Consulting and Training Pvt. Ltd, as well as her NGO Manasvini, works towards empowering women from the economically weaker sections of the society. More than financial gains, Kalpana, finds satisfaction in the smile that her work instils on the face of the women whom she has helped through her NGO. A self-proclaimed staunch feminist, Kalpana works as a specialist in women leadership, and through her work has trained women to become corporate leaders and executives. As a certified Executive Coach, she has transformed leadership structures in various organisations through her Leadership development firm, Maaripidi. This enigmatic lady finely balances myriad roles that she plays of an Executive Coach, Gender Inclusion Specialist, Entrepreneur, Angel investor, and Independent director, with equal panache and ease. Through her inspired initiative POSH, she works to create a safer working environment for women by implementing the Sexual Harassment of women in workplace Act, 2013, and how best to execute it in a corporate setting. When she isn’t making the world a better place through her initiatives, she is an avid writer and a trained Carnatic Vocal artist. The Voice of Woman had the privilege to interact with her. Read on to find out more! Watch the exclusive video here. What inspired you to start Parity Consulting and Training Pvt. Ltd? When we started way back in 2016, our inspiration was the amazing people we have been engaging with. On one hand, we had this diverse talent pool of competent women- extremely qualified persons with disabilities, talented people from the LGBTQ community and on the other hand the amazing committed leaders who wanted to leverage this potential. We felt that if we could provide solutions to bring these two energies together, then that could usher in a social change. It was a rather ambitious objective but we felt that if we could provide that space with these organizations which are microcosms of the society, then we could bring about social change. You are the founder of an NGO Manasvini to empower women of underprivileged societies, which is a noble initiative. We would like to know more about this initiative. Manasvini started because of my domestic staff. I had a string of women who have been enabling me to go out of my home and work. I looked at all of them and realised that they were so bright and hard-working. I felt that if they had the kind of opportunities that I had, then they too could have scaled heights. So, I thought why not I provide those opportunities. So, at Manisvini we provide interest-free loans to women in underprivileged sections of the society for them to start their micro ventures. Till now we have provided loans to over 200 women and the success stories have been amazing. How would you like to describe the work culture of your company? The culture of our company is extremely passionate and very purpose-driven. Every individual is hard-working and contributes to the growth of our collective dreams. What helps you to stay motivated and focussed on your goals? Two things help me stay motivated and focussed on my goals, firstly, that this work engages my head and my heart. Secondly, that our work is making a difference somewhere in this world. According to you, what is the significant barrier for women leaders in a male-dominated society? There are many, many barriers but if I have to choose one it would be gender role stereotyping. That man can do something and women can do something and not do other things. This manifests itself in three levels which are societal, organisational, and individual. Societal structures are created around these gender roles, for instance, there are very few infrastructures that support for women to sustain in their careers. Socio-cultural expectations will against a woman’s ambitions. At the organisational level, the work structure and the systemic biases push them out of the workplace. At the individual level, all of us have internalised various gender roles that limit participation and growth. It’s a very complex problem that requires intervention at multiple levels. But the encouraging this is that we are making progress. What is your biggest accomplishment in life till now? My biggest accomplishment would be when I see the women that we support through our NGO Manasvini that the confidence which they gain and they can start and succeed in their micro ventures. That feeling is just amazing and it is so wonderful to see how their smile changes, the way they walk and talk, and how they now engage with their families. It just changes completely like they have new power and self-belief that they gain. It is extremely humbling to note that something so small that you do can make such a big difference. That truly is an accomplishment that I am extremely proud of! What is the best and worst decision that you have ever made? The best decision that I have made is to start my company Parity Consulting. I don’t perceive any decision that I have taken as bad or worst. I believe that every decision is an opportunity to learn something, and that’s what is most important. How do you maintain your work-life balance? I am very thoughtful about how I make the best use of time and what I spend my time on. First I have spent time trying to articulate to myself on what’s important to me. Thus, I choose activities and relationships and people that tie in with the overall vision that I have envisioned for myself and say no to things that aren’t compatible with that. I think work-life balance is more about clarity and choice and being able to say “NO” to things that are not important. What qualities do you look for when you hire employees? When hiring people we look for someone with oodles of passion for the work that we do. Also, secondly, the equity, equality, inclusion, and respect for differences and proof that they live those values or at least the intent that they would want to live with those values. The third thing is the ability to learn and fourthly it is that someone shouldn’t shy away from hard work. What inspiring message would you like to convey through the Voice of Women? My message for members of Voice of Women, that it’s your life and that you are the most important person in your life. Make it a meaningful life. You deserve it!