Diversity and Inclusion as Drivers Of Business Growth discussed at Jaipuria Institute of Management’s 17th Annual IIC Conference

Lucknow: Jaipuria Institute of Management Lucknow organized its 17th Annual IIC Conference. The theme of the annual IIC conference this year was “Diversity And Inclusion As Drivers Of Business Growth”.

The 17th IIC was themed around the challenge of nesting Diversity & Inclusion in organizations as well as in doing business, with a futuristic agenda. IIC 2023 was a platform where industry leaders and D&I experts shared their views, innovative ideas, and practices to make progress toward a more diversity-enriched and inclusive future in the context of organizations, businesses, and communities.

The chief guest of the event was Mr. Anuj K. Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer, ICICI Foundation. Mr. BurliPhaneendra, COO, Ajio Business, Reliance Retail Ltd. was the guest of honour; Mr. Pulkit Trivedi, Director, Google Pay was the keynote speaker; Actor and Founder of Avid Miner Mr. Ashish Vidyarthi was the feature speaker; Ms. VidushiManoraj (She/They), Manager, Culture and Engagement -Teach For India;Mr. Rakesh Makkar, CEO, Bajaj Auto Finance;  LeenikaKhattar, Director of D&I, NASSCOM;  Piyush Jalandhara, Partner, PWC;  Meghna Joshi, Senior Principal, Gartner; & Global Chair, Pride Employee Resource Group;  Nazia Syed, Associate Director, Big4 Consulting Firm; and  Harish Iyer, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Axis Bank, & Equal Rights Activist were the eminent speakers of the IIC conference.

The conference began with an address by Dr. Kavita Pathak, Director, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow. She said, “we felt that the dialogue we are about to have is an urgent one and it must be held now rather than later. Our workplace, families, and community were never more varied. Young minds question everything, whereas the old ones are set in their own ways. The contours of diversity as a construct areemerging, converging, and re-emerging in society and at workplace. We, together with corporate India, entrepreneurial India, and socially committed India, will benefit from the deliberations. This globe lets us pick our local standby. We have to come together and work inclusively to achieve the set goals and we can reach the skies. This maxim likely embraced inclusion and diversity before the world named it and considered it a topic worth studying and discussing. We are affluent but complex. Workplaces are increasingly difficult and aspirations are now distinct”.


Anuj K. Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer, ICICI Foundation said “as socially responsible citizens, we know the importance of inclusion. The key to accomplishing inclusion is by embracing diversity. And it’s about having diversity in all aspects, be it religion, region, caste, culture, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, etc. When people from different backgrounds come together, they bring different perspectives, thoughts, and innovative ways to solve problems. The diversity in our country gives us the opportunity to have a diverse workforce and create an inclusive environment within the organization, respecting religions and cultures and celebrating different festivals. Inclusiveness is essential for creating a truly equitable and just environment for the overall growth of society.  When people from diverse backgrounds, are included and get a sense of being valued, they feel belonged and are motivated. These happy employees produce better results through improved performances and improved retention in the workforce, resulting in the overall growth of the organization”.

Burli Phaneendra, COO, Ajio Business, Reliance Retail Ltd. said “basically people hide their disabilities. Why? Because they think that they will not get opportunities. When I say disability, please don’t get me wrong, it is not disability. I am talking about the minds. I’m talking about white-collar employment It’s not physical labor. So people don’t even disclose. So instead of asking questions as to how to make sure people disclose the disability, why don’t we ask how to make sure that they are inclusively embedded within a culture so that they feel happier to disclose and then they are comfortable? These people are problem solvers. So, disability inclusion is not a charity or a compliment. It’s a competitive advantage”.

Pulkit Trivedi, Director, GooglePay said “Diversity is not just a moral thing to do, it is also about getting the right creativity in the business making sure that the business is growing at the expected rate. Diversity is an appropriate thing to do to grow both morally and financially. He motivated the budding managers of Jaipuria Lucknow to be an ally to the diversity and inclusion cause in every sphere of their lives whether it is the classroom, the workplace, etc”.

Vidushi Manoraj (She/They), Manager, Culture and Engagement -Teach For India said “Bias is an inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair. Discrimination can have an adverse effect on people’s well-being, sense of agency, access to society, and opportunities. You can always stop for a second, reflect on your action or decision, and take that call. Is this stemming from an assumption that I’m making? Or did I actually listen to this person say this right? And this is what is most important when it comes to the concept of D&I”.

The event continued with the Ardhanareeshwar performance by KalashreeAmrit Sinha & group which left the audience mesmerized.

Actor-Traveller-Communicator and Founder of Avid Miner . Ashish Vidyarthi said “the best way to learn is to be with people who are different from you. Diversity and inclusion are integral part of us. Allow yourselves to be rejuvenated by others. There are two groups of people which are ‘my type’ and ‘not my type’ and the world starts when you come out of the zone of your type of people. Let the world change you and then you can change the world. instead of asking where do I come from? Always ask where do I want to be?”

 Rakesh Makkar, CEO, Bajaj Auto Finance said “if you look at how the government is also supporting it is in terms of corporate law changes it is a position for women director in every company which is mandatory. Now all those changes are happening and fortunately for me, I worked with three lady bosses over my career. And what I feel is that the way a lady boss can empathize, the way she can get into details, and the way she is able to bring that inclusive in the team is far stronger than man, which is always there in the corporate world. I think all that is changing and that’s a big change”. “.

Leenika Khattar, Director of D&I, NASSCOM said “diversity means differences. Any difference, right? It could be different perspectives, religions, gender, etc. And because all of us are diverse, all of us are different. It is very important that all of us have a voice, and what does equity mean? Equity basically means you are giving an equal plain field to everybody. If four people are running the race and one person is locomotive disabled, and the rest of them have a bicycle that is not having an equal plane field. Everybody needs to be given the same plain field. That is equivalent. So, it is very important for all of us to understand what these four terms mean before we get into the discussion about diversity and inclusion.”

Later during The IIC 2023 conference concluded with the IIC 2023 Catalyst Awards on Diversity & Inclusion conferred to:

  1. Sheroes for helping acid attack survivors rebuild their lives and for giving them a sense of dignity and a way to get back into society as symbols of empowerment.
  2. Sanatkadafor supporting artisans and curating the cultural heritage of Lucknow.
  3. Navsrijanschool for creating human capital by promoting the inclusion of marginalized families into quality education
  4. UPMRCfor creating a gender-balanced environment for your workers and commuters.
  5. Jute for Lifefor generating a meaningful livelihood for women in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh.
  6. Sarah Fatima Designsfor reviving the lost hand embroideries of Awadh and empowering and educating women artisans.
  7. cofor their valuable contribution in preserving the river Ganges and empowering vernacular people by providing a means to earn their livelihood became a reality.
  8. infor developing new ideas for robotic technology and bringing a revolution in ed-tech.
  9. Lulu Hypermarketfor providing free employability skills training, promoting ODOP, and integrating farmers through farm fresh mart while elevating the consumer experience.

Dr.VijayLakshmi Singh, Associate Professor, Jaipuria Institute of Management Lucknow, & IIC 2023 Convener delivered the vote of thanks in the end.



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