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Fri, April 19, 2024

“In future, discussion should not be around ‘women leaders’, but just ‘leaders'”

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“Along with women putting in extra effort to climb up leadership positions, conscious and concerted efforts are required from all stakeholders to create a foundation which enables women folks to bloom and achieve their potential. In the future, the discussion should not be around ‘women leaders’, but just ‘leaders’”

Pranu Singh

Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing

Standard Chartered Bank Nepal

Armed with experience of 15 years in the banking sector, Pranu Singh leads the Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing team at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal. In this portfolio, she is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing strategies for internal and external communications. She is also responsible for taking forward the bank’s sustainability agenda through community sponsorships and donations, media relationships, and reinforcing the awareness of the organisation’s brand in Nepal. Singh maintains that she is highly driven in what she believes in and open to learning. She is also actively involved in Toastmasters and enjoys adventure sports, travelling, music and spending time with her family. In this edition of Business 360, we ask Singh about the five things that have impacted her work and life.

Choosing your battles wisely

After high school, I took a gap year. Though the concept of a gap year may have become somewhat of a norm now but for me back then it was unplanned and therefore I was very uncomfortable. The feeling then was that my friends and classmates would be moving ahead with their higher degrees and onwards to their professional careers whereas I would be left out in the ‘race of life’. However, looking back now it was indeed the best life decision, albeit unintended, because that’s when I learnt a lot of life skills, moved countries, lived away from family, and garnered such life experiences that no degree could have ever taught me. When I came back to pursue my studies, the fresh perspectives helped me immensely and I eventually realised that there is nothing called the ‘race of life’. At the cost of sounding prophetic, I truly believe the only race that you need to win is perhaps becoming better than you were yesterday. Also, often, you tend to be tossed around by several issues that seek your attention and priority; you want to desperately manage it all, be it your work or personal life. You want to be there for anything and doing everything. But the fact remains that your time and energy are not limitless to effectively attend to each and every thing around you. I was once told ‘Choose your battles wisely’ and it resonated with me. Now, I find myself actively sieving out things which need my involvement or even reactions. I wouldn’t say I have mastered the art and sometimes tend to have FOMO, but I am slowly getting there. It really helps prevent burn-out.

This too shall pass

I do have a magic mantra that I swear by that says, ‘This too shall pass!’ Whenever I find myself in extremely tough situations, I literally reiterate and repeat this phrase in my mind, and I think about the better days once this particular situation has passed. Gradually, the situation starts seeming trivial in the bigger scheme of things and life in general. I am also a firm believer in talking things out upfront and not sitting back brooding if there is something bothering me. We tend to cling on to our past unnecessarily, holding grudges, seeking reprisal, thinking of what someone said about you the other day, and letting your past affect your future. I was fortunate to have the awakening to be forward-looking early on in my life and be decisive enough to let go of past baggage! It has worked wonders for me and made me calmer to focus more on the future.
Statistics prove that companies with female leaders do better than those without. However, the fact remains that women occupy only 8.8% positions in Fortune 500 companies as of 2022 so the issue of the backlog in women leadership is not specific to smaller countries like us, but it is widespread even in developed nations.

Women leaders do better

Based on research and evidence over the years, I think the debate over if women make good leaders is over. Statistics prove that companies with female leaders do better than those without. However, the fact remains that women occupy only 8.8% positions in Fortune 500 companies as of 2022 so the issue of the backlog in women leadership is not specific to smaller countries like us, but it is widespread even in developed nations. Therefore, along with women putting in extra effort to climb up leadership positions, conscious and concerted efforts are required from all stakeholders to create a foundation which enables women folks to bloom and achieve their potential. In the future, the discussion should not be around ‘women leaders’, but just ‘leaders’.

A firm believer of Karma

A healthy body, a healthy mind, a healthy ecosystem of relationships, not having to think twice before purchasing things that you need and sleeping peacefully at night. I am a firm believer in ‘Karma’ – what you do comes back to you in some form. Be it my own life or learning from the experience of others, I have witnessed that life has strange and funny ways of coming back to you hence at every step of one’s life, we have to be careful of how we treat people around us and how genuine we are.

Challenges are indispensable

I have been in the banking sector for nearly 15 years now. Fortunately for me, I have been associated with an organisation that knows how to take care of its people and therefore I can only think of good things to say about my professional journey. Of course, there have been many challenges and lows but that’s an indispensable part of one’s learning curve. Talking about the overall banking sector, it’s great to witness the advancement, particularly in the digital space, increasing focus on risk management, improvement in operating models, and heightening awareness of the need to treat workforce as humans and not machines. READ ALSO:
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MARCH 2024

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