On International Women’s Day, Divya Gokulnath, Co-Founder of BYJU’S, answered a few questions shared by the women of BYJU’S.
In the hour-long ‘Ask Me Anything’ session, Divya went all candid, addressing questions about work, life, and more. She even shared her secret to striking the right balance, saying, “We women are often too self-critical and are hard on ourselves. We need to take it one day at a time and understand the importance of setting healthy boundaries. Finding a strong support system in people is crucial for women to thrive.”
Catch a glimpse of the session. Be prepared to be inspired!
Read on for more insight from Divya Gokulnath on shouldering great responsibilities, staying energetic and enthusiastic, and her vision for gender diversity and inclusion at BYJU’S:
With great power comes great responsibilities. How do you juggle your many roles and responsibilities?
It starts with accepting the fact that you have a lot of great responsibilities. And I want to turn this question the other way around, it is when you shoulder great responsibility that you get the power.
But we women also have a lot more on our plate. While we can have 100 responsibilities, it is important to prioritise, it is important to devote time to the most important ones. And devote time to one thing at a time and not try to do everything together. Multitasking can be a strength but can also be a weakness. I believe that instead of giving 10% to 10 things, you must focus on giving 100% to one.
Despite your hectic schedule, how do you take care of your health? What’s your fitness mantra?
When you are responsible for so many people and so many things, it’s important to maintain your cool and composure. And that’s possible only when your mental and emotional well-being is taken care of. One of the best ways to take care of yourself and your mental health is by taking some conscious steps. I am quite particular and punctual with my fitness regime. I work out every day, this not only helps me stay fit but also in staying focussed and becoming more aware of my own health and mind.
Playing some kind of sports is also a great way to ensure your overall health. Also, it helps with key skills like discipline and focus, while keeping your energy levels high.
What keeps you so energetic and enthusiastic every day?
If you love what you do, it is a holiday every day. Work stops feeling like it is work and you will want to give it your best. It is my environment and the people around me who make me happy and it is the feeling of contentment and satisfaction that keeps me energetic and enthusiastic every day.
What is your vision for gender diversity and inclusion at BYJU’S?
A lot of people don’t know the kind of women power we have in BYJU’S. Let me start from the top, we have a 33% representation on the board, and 4 out of 10 in the top leadership and 40% of our entire team at BYJU’S are women. So, if you ask me, we are in a very good place. And frankly, it wasn’t like we sat down and decided that this is the number that we want to achieve. What we did very differently at BYJU’S is that from the very beginning, we were very cognizant of the importance of diversity because it gives you a very different approach to problem-solving and solution creation. That’s something we have always kept in mind. If your core team and leadership are diverse, it will reflect on the team and the team will also be diverse and have a healthy representation.
What’s your secret to work-life balance?
Always set some healthy boundaries and build and nurture a solid support system. It is impossible to do everything single-handedly, so seek support and help whenever needed.
Also, stop being self-critical – it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality, be a learning partner to your child. Spend time with them where it matters the most. With my elder son, I was really juggling my time, but I can definitely say that he’s the closest to me. We mean the world to each other. And all this doesn’t mean, I’m not giving enough at work. It’s a delicate line, but if you tread it well and with mindfulness, both sides of life can be very fulfilling.
What is your mantra to consistency?
Accept that it is okay to not be consistent every day. We are not robots, we are human beings with feelings and whether you are a man or a woman, anyone can experience a blue day. And, it is okay to be at 50% that day. The next day you come back, give 120% so that you are back on track.
What message would you like to give to your women employees?
My message to women who are just starting out with their career is that you are here today because your family believed in you and because you believed in yourself. You should give your very best for the next 5-6 years, so you can really rise up in your career and give your 100% to it.
For those who have some professional experience, this is probably the most interesting time in your life. 25-35 is typically the age when family commitment sets in and when you have to dabble with multiple things at the same time. What makes it easier is if you have a great support system around you. Focus on building that, take mentorship. Be mentors for others around you and find a support system in every woman around you.
Finally, to the women who are acing it as our leaders, There is a dearth of women at the senior leadership level, people don’t see enough women in these roles inspiring other women. You being wherever you are today is a great opportunity to inspire many more women to look up to you and be like you. So, be a support system for them and pull them up.
After spending six years in newsrooms – of all shapes and sizes – Sutrishna is back to her one true love: storytelling. She strongly believes, stories have the power to inspire, encourage, and instill change. And if nothing else, bring people together through a sense of shared experiences. Write to her at [email protected] or [email protected] Share a compelling story or just drop in a ‘hi’.
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