The Centre for Women’s Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad organised a half-day workshop on, 20th September, 2019, on the theme “Growth Strategies of Girls & Women”. The session started with the welcome address by Dr Rekha Pande, Director of Centre for Women’s Studies, who formally welcomed the speaker Mr. Raj Tedla, introduced the Centre and highlighted on issues faced by many women in the current scenario such as little focus on women and girls’ education and  undervaluation of the  labour of women.

The keynote speaker Mr Rajesh Tedla,  the Executive Director of the VRT Management Group, USA.  is currently an Executive Director, a certified coach, trainer and speaker with the “The John Maxwell Team”.  Mr. Raj is also very active with Marshal Goldsmith Coaching and is part of MG NYC 50 coaches. He is very active in the community and participates in several non-profit organizations by training women and girls.  He is also the founder and chairman of the ICAN Foundation, which is dedicated to helping underprivileged children in rural India to gain access to higher education. Raj received TTI’s Chairman’s award in Jan 2010 for his outstanding services to the community. In 2006, Raj was awarded GE’s most prestigious “Gerald L. Phillippe Award,” for his outstanding social contributions and community leadership.Mr Rajesh Tedla began the session on a lively note and raised certain key issues and what one must do in order to realise their goal.   His emphasised as to how one can achieve the goal by putting the right amount of time and effort into it.  It is for an individual to decide what success is and no one else can  tell them  what it is. To get to success- Persistence, clarity and what one  wants to work with is important. He stated that, IQ does not define success but focusing on the  goal is more important.

Mr Tedla listed how certain key issues which have always been a hurdle in realising one’s goal and moving  forward in their life, which he headlined as “Behaviours that Keep Women Stuck”. The points which he enumerated was based on Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith’s work based on the rigorous and years of analysis in the said field. 
He raised some important questions as to why women are reluctant to claim their achievement:  Dr.  Rekha Pande, then stated that probably it has to do with the socio-cultural environment and also the background and the history associated behind it. Moreover, education and awareness have to do a lot with it.  Other important points of discussion were, being a role model or setting an example, asking  questions to inculcate inquisitorial attitude, and exposing to  a lot of role models. Show what to do rather than telling what to do. Other important issues that were dealt with in the workshop were related to expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions. Seize the opportunity.  He emphasised, “ Think about yourself first rather than what others think. Out of shyness if you do not ask questions then you are the loser at the end of the day. Don’t think what others will think about you but rather what you think about yourself”.  He stated that , “ Your skillset should benefit all rather than just mere satisfaction to yourself but also how others benefit from you and by so doing connect yourself with the outer world”. Leadership is how you influence people. Focus also on your relationship. Make use of it in such a way that both the parties benefit from it. He also pointed out that by and large there is  fear of failure. Not afraid of failing but afraid of the fear of failure,  leads to continuously finding  flaws in yourself and makes you stagnant. This is but one behaviour which keeps one from success.  This does not mean being  sloppy, but doing a  thorough job,  but again this should not lead to stagnation. It would create unreasonable stress for you and for the people around you. Routinely using words and body language that diminish your presence and your capacity to be present, thus undermining your ability to hold your space. 

Mr Rajesh Tedla

The session was followed by a lively Q&A session in which certain issues such as the importance of a female role model, the idea of working as a team and also what if one stranded in their field all by oneself. These issues though addressed to Mr Rajesh Tedla were answered by many, something which the workshop has focussed upon; bringing out the confidence and ability to ask questions. The discussions was very lively and some of the  conclusions that were reached were as follows. 

Everyone has a different journey and thus it is very hard to find someone to help in your journey. That’s when one  realises that we  need to be persistent and determined to reach our goals. And there emerges the need for a mentor who makes one  realise their  position and give  helping hand.  How necessary is it for a girl to have a role model for women? Well, it wouldn’t really matter what is the  sex of a role model, the thing that matters is how you look up to him/her. Change is scary due to uncertainty of what you really want in your life. Be consistent with your life and always ask what new you can learn from this new change. Positive thinking is not only thinking everything will be fine and but also to do something about it. Positive thinking should not be confused with Wishful thinking i.e. sitting idle and expecting that something goodwill happen.

In the end Mr. Raj Tedla gave away two prizes, in the form of the  book, Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith ( 1988), How women rise , Penguin Random  House, U.K. to two students who had actively participated in this workshop and had asked various questions which were very important.  The prize winners included, Dr. Manu Jayas,  a post Doctoral student from History and Maria Lisbeth Antony from MA History.  This was a very interactive workshop which made the students think about issues of leadership, their future goals, define success and  how to achieve it. 

Contributed by Deepak Kumar Giri, Department of History, UoH