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On paper, Rachita Parameswaran is an accomplished engineer, a technology & innovation risk manager at KPMG, a mother and an overall amazing individual.  In person, her child-like enthusiasm, curiosity and a genuine zest for life are palpable.She is confident, opinionated and undeterred by an uncomfortable conversation.

Here, Rachita gets candid about her upbringing in a larger patriarchal society, the impact of parenthood on emotional intelligence and the importance of bringing men along on the journey.

Following are the excerpts from the interview.

Q. What motivated you to join Lean In Melbourne and how do you incorporate ‘leaning in’ in your day to day?

A. I have been an admirer of the concept of Lean In ever since I read the book ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg in 2014. My biggest passion project has been one that gives me the ability to influence positively, impact, inspire and help individuals grow in both their personal and professional lives. So, when KPMG provided me with an opportunity to be a part of the Lean In network, I jumped at it. Aspiring to do more, I decided to join the Melbourne Lean In network to help make a difference. Leaning in is all about being able to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow women and men, it’s about bridging that gap by questioning the bias that society has created in gender. I lean in every day by ensuring I create an environment that is not only supportive but also encourages women to work collaboratively. I make a conscious effort to lean in for myself every day by being open and honest in my communication with my family and colleagues.

Q. Your Lean In circle at KPMG “Balancing Work & Parenthood” had their first circle meeting. Could you walk us through what drove you to start that circle?

A. The first meeting for my circle at KPMG was extremely positive. I primarily have members from Senior Management as part of my Circle and each of them participated and brought to the table wonderful ideas and truths. I am currently in a phase of my life where I am trying to sustain both my career and being a parent. My husband is based in India while our daughter and I are based in Melbourne. When an opportunity came my way to be involved in an initiative such as this, I didn’t have to think twice! This platform was exactly what I have been searching for, to provide me with an ability to express, interact, grow and harmoniously sustain my career, a long-distance marriage and being a good parent.

Q. You mentioned men signing up for your Lean In circle came as a pleasant surprise. While talking about parenthood, juggling life and work, did you find any experiences or struggles that were unique to working dads?

A. To be honest, no unique experience or struggle has really stood out so far. It was a pleasant surprise to see how much dads have been contributing towards raising their children, supporting their spouses at their maximum capacity and being present at work. Having that not only let us hear the thoughts of men who are holding their end of the bargain at home but also take those examples back with us to create awareness around the benefits that come out of this!

“Motherhood has taught me to tune into myself and introspect,

helping me respond and react to various situations,

challenges, pressures

and

people at work with a lot more consideration, empathy and Zen.”

Q. Our emotions play a huge part in motherhood. A recent study suggested there’s a great impact of parenthood on emotional intelligence in the workplace. Do you feel becoming a mother has heightened your emotional intelligence and changed the way you approach your job or interact with your peers?

A. Becoming a mother has been a game changer in my life. For one, I see everything I do through the lens of behavioural imitation. By that I mean, everything I do, say or behave at work or outside of work is driven by the fact that my daughter is watching and learning consciously and sub-consciously from me. This has taught me to tune into myself and introspect, helping me respond and react to various situations, challenges, pressures and people at work with a lot more consideration, empathy and Zen. In a way, I see this as a massive growth that I have witnessed post the birth of my daughter!

Q. Hoping in 20 years the conversation around gender equity would have moved forward, what changes would you like to see your daughter have as a working girl in the future?

A. Coming from a society that has ingrained in us to believe that the male DNA is the most precious, most dominant and most deserving – I sincerely hope for my daughter and all the other working girls to have families that fully encourage, support and help them do their best at work. And hence, enabling more of them to sit on boards of companies, to lead their businesses to success and at the same time to come home to a nurturing environment. An environment helps them cherish the joys of all the different roles they play in their personal lives. 

Q. In a movie based on your life, which actor do you hope would play you? And, what would the title be?

A. BLOOM!, starring Jennifer Lawrence.

In theatres near you!

Q. If you had access to a time machine and were given the option of changing your career path entirely, what would you choose to be?

A. I would work in the media – I’d write about people from all walks of life who have made a mark in their respective fields. In some way, it would make me feel like I’m touching a star in the sky at a time and spreading that sparkle to the rest of the world through my conversations with these prized humans. Also, I am certain that the philanthropist in me would kick in at some point, and I would end up donating more than half my wealth towards educating the underprivileged.

Q. What is your favourite motivational quote?

A. I actually have two

 “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay” – Dalai Lama

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”

You can join Rachita’s circle here :  Juggling Career & Parenting

Interviewed by Nikita Naik

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