The Power of Resilience

Ritu Shrivastav

October 04, 2020

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Resilience is the Antidote

Patriarchy teaches weakness, preaches learned helplessness, and screeches "stop".

The antidote is resilience.

"Women in Tech" is a common buzz phrase. Busy women managing, motivating, innovating, and developing their teams across the globe is a true sight of pride. Though we've moved away from the patriarchal model, women still bear the heaviest burden of responsibilities. There is one "mantra;" one guiding force which propels us:


It's the capacity to bounce back! And blessed are women to have the ability in abundance. Resilience is not just one skill. It is a mixture of determination, perseverance, resourcefulness, optimism, adaptability, and focus. From my interactions with successful women leaders from diverse backgrounds, these are the distinguishing personality traits, beliefs, behaviors of resilience.

- You are stronger than you believe you are - A confident leader recognizes opportunity amidst chaos and accepts challenges. Self-awareness of capability is one of the key competencies of resilience. The patriarchy encourages learned helplessness.

- A Warrior mindset - A resolute leader has clarity of thought despite a momentary loss. Rigorous mental toughness wins.

- Systematic Diagnosis of challenges - A strategic thinker makes well informed decisions integrating her experience and expertise to turn challenges into opportunities.

- Tap the abundance and shift the setbacks - An expert reframes her thoughts and actions and reinforces her strength with optimism to drive results.

- Contemplate and recognize your strength - An inimitable whizz is mindful of the situation, channels her energy, takes ownership of actions and identifies the 'unique self'.

- Celebrate Success - A passionate leader enjoys the wins, recounts success when low, and helps her team to recover from a setback.

Every woman leader across the globe, be it Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, Mary Barra, CEO General Motors, Indra Nooyi, ex-CEO PEPSICO, or Malala Yousafzai Nobel Laurette, has one thing in common: "a compelling need to succeed".

Many women suffer from "imposter syndrome" and try to be "likable" rather than "bossy". The ambivalent relationship with power, the fear of taking risks and the "inner critic" create a web of self-imposed restraints around women which limits authenticity and spontaneity. The intelligence, pragmatism, creativity, diverse perspectives and balancing acts which women brings to the table are vital, especially in the field of AI. If AI is to successfully simulate human behavior and interaction, it will need a female perspective.

We need to build - an ambition, coupled with courage and optimism whereby we rise above any stereotypes; determined to be the best version of ourselves each day.

"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult." - Charlotte Whitton

Ritu is a results-oriented, strategic & innovative Global Human Resources leader who drives business through collaborative leadership to shape high-performing organizations, aligns HR initiatives to strategic business outcomes. Apart from being a trusted advisor and dynamic business partner, Ritu also wears the hat of being an ambassador of Inclusion. At Gilead she leads a multi-national HR team with strong focus on business results by a keen vision of aligning talent and integrated thought leadership skills. She does this with compassion and strongly believes that diversity drives inclusion and equity - this mantra continues to inspires passion for her craft and work for Ritu and for tall around her.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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