New Delhi [India], February 12: India Diversity Forum, India's national industry association for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, organized its first All India Members Meet in Goa from 18-20 Jan 2024.
A stellar lineup of twenty-four speakers congregated at the residential two-day Meet. Sapphire Connect, a premium B2B meeting specialist, managed and executed the show. Elanco IAC was the Associate partner, and WEN and Embrace Consulting were Supporting Partners for the Meet.
Subhash Phal Dessai, Hon'ble Minister for Social Welfare, River Navigation, Archaeology and Archives, Govt of Goa, lauded India Diversity Forum (IDF) for its unwavering dedication to the DE&I agenda during his Inaugural Address. Emphasizing the global significance of diversity, he highlighted that around 1 billion people worldwide experience some form of disability. Dessai articulated his vision for India as a beacon of diversity and inclusion. He underscored the critical need to shift societal mindsets to combat discrimination and stigma, advocating for inclusive policies to harness India's demographic dividend effectively.
In closing, Dessai urged corporates to prioritize disability inclusion, citing research projections that inclusion could contribute an additional 2% to India's GDP. He called for strong commitment to DE&I, emphasizing inclusive policies' transformative impact on social justice and economic prosperity.
Mukta Arora, MD, Elanco IAC shared extensively from her professional experience of incorporating DE&I into the soul of the organisation through a commitment to fostering a culture of inclusion. The role of ERGs and processes owned and led by employees, the need to constantly innovate processes was highlighted as a mantra for developing trust. Mukta recounted her own lived experience as a young girl growing up to assume a leadership position and the journey of courage and resilience that people from the diversity spectrum undertake to achieve their potential. She talked about employee motivation as the key to success and respect for diversity to retain diverse talent.
Addressing the D&I experts and industry leaders, she shared "Elanco IAC has one of the highest diversity ratios nationally with women comprising 43% of employees and 40% of leadership positions. We respect diversity and consciously build inclusion into our organisational philosophy to support diverse talent in all aspects of their life so they can thrive at work."
Dr. Ritu Anand, Member, IDF Advisory Board recalled that IDF was established with the mission to contribute to nation building by increasing the D&I acumen of Indian companies. "As India moves towards her 100th year of independence, we extend wholehearted support to the Hon'ble Prime Minister's vision for Viksit Bharat @2047. The vision to make India a developed nation by 2047 will be fulfilled when we take everyone along to share and contribute to that growth. India Inc has a great role to play in that inclusive growth. Thought leadership initiatives such as AIMM provide opportunity for leaders to think collectively." She said.
Guruprasad Pawaskar, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt of Goa congratulated IDF on organising the first All India Members Meet to discuss the core issue of inclusion in workplaces. He said that India's unique socio-cultural landscape presents a compelling case for robust DEI processes. Shri Pawaskar, recognised as the 'Best State Commissioner' for Empowering Persons with Disabilities, was given the President's National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for the year 2023 along with Shri Taha Haaziq, Secretary, Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Pawaskar highlighted accessibility as a crucial aspect of disability inclusion, detailing the Commission's proactive measures to ensure accessible infrastructure. He also celebrated the success of Purple Fest, an inclusive festival for persons with disabilities organised by the government of Goa. It garnered significant national and international acclaim for its advocacy of disability inclusion.
In the closing session, Shri Taha Haaziq, Secretary of the Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, delivered a compelling message emphasising that the employment of persons with disabilities should not be viewed as an act of charity or compliance but rather as an active engagement with their skills and talents. Stressing the importance of dignity and empowerment, he urged IDF members to integrate disability inclusion into their organisations for talent optimisation, respecting and enabling individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential and lead fulfilling lives.
The Meet featured workshops and sessions by Joel Godi, Founder, Neurogifted, Ravi Bodani, NLP Master Trainer & Leadership Coach, Rasha Kutty, Founder, The Empathy University, Jaishankar Natarajan, CEO, India Autism Center, Sonal Gadhvi and Bbhuvaneshwarii, Co-Founders NYOU, Tejaswi Subramaniam Digital Editor, Gaysi Family.
D&I leaders who spoke at the Meet include Anuradha Mishra, Senior Director- Marsh McLennan, Pankaj Suri Executive Vice President Human Resources at Edelman, India, Pallavi Pareek, CEO, Ungender, Sonali Jain, Assistant Vice President - Diversity & Inclusion, Genpact, Manjula Dharmalingam, Founder - The Next Innings, Geetha Kannan, Founder & CEO Wequity, Kanika Vaswani, Co-Founder, WEN, Preeti Ahuja, HR Leader, Atlas Copco, Sumit Agarwal, SDG Ambassador, Sangeetha Param, Mental Health Advocate, Rajani Athreya, Senior Director- HR, Insights Division, South Asia, Kantar, Nidesh Jain, Chair - India DE&I Council Novartis.
Rishi Kapoor, Head- IDF Management Committee, said, "The All-India Members Meet is a unique space for IDF members from all over the country to pool their expertise and rich experience. Purpose-driven organisations have growing realisation to invest in wellbeing and development of employees along-with business profitability. The co-creation of a new paradigm of DE&I is essential for Indian companies to meet aspirations of employees in an evolving talent landscape."
India Diversity Forum (IDF) is the nation's sole independent industry body dedicated to advancing workplace diversity and inclusion. As a Section 8 Company, IDF is committed to transforming workplaces into more equitable and inclusive environments.
India Diversity Forum aims to make D & I conversations mainstream in India. To know more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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