In its 3rd edition, the I Am Woman awards, hosted by IE Business School and the Karan Gupta Education Foundation, celebrated and awarded women achievers for their extraordinary work, breaking the glass ceiling in their respective fields.
“IE Business School is a pioneer of innovation and change. We are an institute that focuses on diversity and one of the things we are passionate about is helping women succeed – in business, arts, or social causes. We recognize the challenges that women face and wish to support their personal, professional and academic goals in any way that we can,” says Dr. Karan Gupta, MD (India) of IE Business School, a top-ranked European institute.
The event started with an introduction from Dr. Amber Wigmore, Head of Talent Management at IE Business School who also served as the compere for the evening. The first panel of women at the event had Taj group and IE alumna Leah Tata, Philanthropist and Artist Michelle Poonawalla, Entrepreneur Bhavna Jasra, and Designer and Entrepreneur Falguni Shane Peacock. The women spoke about the challenges that women face in business and discussed how women entrepreneurs should or should not think like men.
Awardees RJ Malishka Mendonsa and Advocate Abha Singh both crusaders of justice in their own right had a strong discussion on social issues that women face today and how to change the perception of women in society. They also engaged in a moving discussion on how the safety of women in our country needs to be paid more attention to, not just at the hands of the government but at the individual level as well.
Activists Jyoti Dhawale and Preethi Srinivasan moved the audience with their heart rendering stories. Both of these amazing women shared their personal stories of overcoming adversities and emerging victorious. Actress Madhoo Shah who was also a compere at the event broke out into an impromptu song from her film Roja with the audience joining in, to encourage Preethi, a quadriplegic. Then Dr. Karan Gupta introduced Jyoti Dhawale, an HIV+ woman and gave her a hug, and asked the audience to make sure they hug Jyoti at the end of the event in order to show that HIV does not spread through hugging. Jyoti wanted a hug from each member of the audience.
Sushmita Sen, the Chief Guest, had completely impressed all the guests with her charm and personality. What stood out the most was that she believes women do not need empowerment as they are already strong and they just need to be sure of themselves and do what they feel is right. She also touched upon the topic of adoption and shared she is not a big fan of this word as it is not sensitive towards the kids and prefers to say #BornfromtheHeart for both her daughters. Sushmita Sen was awarded the Woman of Substance award along with her adorable daughter Alisah. Upon receiving the award, Sen commended the work done by Dr. Karan Gupta and the KGEF team for impacting the lives of 92,000 children. “From slum children in Dharavi to just children who need the motivation to further their cause, KGEF has my salute for the effort they continue to put in, not just for women empowerment but for children in need,” said Sen.
At the end of the event, all the women were bestowed with the I Am Woman women empowerment award.
At the event were spotted I Am Woman 2016 winners Reshma Merchant, Kiran Bawa and Maheka Mirpuri. Farah Khan Ali, who recently launched her Magnum brand and who was the winner of the I Am Woman 2017 award, was present at the event and presented an award to Michelle Poonawalla. Shobha Kamra, the Vice President of the Fellowship of the Physically Challenged and Dr. Kamal Gupta, Chairman of LLIM were also present at the event with Dr. Kamal Gupta presenting an award to Leah Tata. The Editor of Youth Incorporated, Nitish Shah had the privilege to bestow the certificates of ‘I Am Woman’ to all the award winners. A star-filled event, other guests and celebrities included Sheeba Sabir, Vikas Bhalla, Kunika Singh, Aditi Govitrikar and Arzoo Govitrikar.
“I Am Woman as an event was started three years ago, but we have been helping the cause of women empowerment and women in business for decades. At I Am Woman we celebrate the inspiration of women and offer them a platform where they can share their inspiring stories. The IE Women initiative is a cause which is very close to my heart and we design the best possible tools to attract and retain women talent in business, technology and entrepreneurship. Our goal is to inspire confidence and advance women in their journey of success”, adds Dr. Gupta. Dr. Gupta and his army of volunteers plan to teach self-defense to children to empower them to fight off predators.