Charu is an educationist and social sector development professional, with 25+ years of experience in social infrastructure, public education, women and child as well as rural development. She has engaged extensively with stakeholders including governments, private sector, industry chambers and education communities on matters related to policy.
She has designed and implemented large scale transformational programmes in Edutech, public education, early childhood education, gender-based development, women and child development and CSR. She has supported programmes designed for the economic empowerment of women in rural areas and SHGs and has also driven the digitalisation of processes to improve local self-governance. Notably, she has worked with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan in developing their roadmap for PISA inspired strategies for transformation of the educational organization across the country and has worked with the SCERT Chhattisgarh in setting up their assessment centre and training teachers in the State.
Prior to joining Primus, she had been in senior roles in KPMG and IL&FS Education and Technology Services Ltd. amongst others. At Primus, she is leading the “Impact Realization” practice, steers Education, Skill Development, and Women Child Sector practices and is part of the Leadership Team.
Our Exclusive Interview:
1. What does work life balance mean to you?
When I can be the same person at work and at home
When I can be in the moment – contented when time does not weigh heavy
When at work I can immerse myself in work and I can complete my checklist for the day When at home I can do the things that I need to do for ‘me’, my home and ecosystem When I have time to call up family and friends, dabble in astrology, go on holidays, cook,
Watch TV, read, help someone, share my time with my community
When I can do all the above I like to believe I have a work life balance.
2. What has been one of the biggest challenges as a leader?
When I cannot make a difference to those who need it, despite effort and intention and despite the resources being there
When I had to let go of a team member knowing that the opportunity, he/she left me for was better than what I could provide
Admire: Commitment towards progress.
3. Who do you look up to for inspiration?
The unseen hand that drives this universe despite the mess we humans create
The safety net of second chances and coincidences
Nature for its forgiving and adaptive resilience
Generosity of those who can least afford it
Parents and children for their ever-forgiving and unconditional acceptance
4. What are the best ways that leaders can support other leaders, whether in the same organisation or a different organisation?
By going beyond boundaries – of ideas, of limitations and of resources as networks achieve what individuals cannot
5. What do you do to rejuvenate, to get back in touch with yourself
Astrology, cook, TV, out in nature and vacations….and open to more
6. What is your suggestion to improving corporate India’s D&I quotient.
Begin by seeing employees as people not ‘resources’, lose the stereo types, create more profiles that bridge the divide and the bottom line – RESPECT everyone you touch – whether you employ them or not.
7. What is the next milestone you wish to achieve that keeps you driving forward.
The dream is not yet realised – and that’s a life-long mission not just a milestone – its what keeps me going
8. In today’s day and age, how can leaders build a culture of employee wellbeing?
Fear of fear is most harmful for wellbeing – so have faith in people to make them feel safe, nurture a culture of respect for diversity to make them feel belonged, spread cheer despite losses to instil confidence, and delegate and depend to enable people to take responsibility – when we do this our employees take great strides and grow the organisation.
9. Your perspective on sustainability and how do you promote it?
Share knowledge and resources to create skill, ability and competence
Work with people to nurture self belief and self image.
Do new things – trials and mistrials – keep the successes – don’t get possessive about what did not work
Open new territories, expand the network and create new experiences
Never hesitate to say – ‘that did not work but this might’
10. If not a corporate leader, what would your professional identity be?
11. An instance that dint work for you, that actually worked for you in the hindsight.
All the tails I chased but did not catch
Know the Person
1. Loyalty to you is faith
2. Fun and recreation to you guiltless pleasures
3. Experience vs Education – what would you give higher preference to experience
4. Mountains or the beach: your ideal vacation spot would be beach
5. Horror, Action, Adventure, Romantic, Comedy – your favourite genre Action