Women in leadership roles are a minority but we see companies that have women in leadership positions, such as PepsiCo, Bicon, etc., have scaled at a faster pace than companies headed by men. But in the education sector, we see a lot of women in leadership roles be in EdTech or brick-and-mortar schools, colleges, and universities. Being a leader in a leading EdTech Company, Shilpi Jain, Technical & Marketing Head, IntelliPaat, faced a lot of challenges with balancing her family and company. But her family encourage her to work harder and reach her career ambitions. In conversation with K12 Digest, Shilpi gives us insights about her journey as a leader in the EdTech Sector and women leadership in these times.
Do you think women in learnership roles are still a minority? What is the situation in the education space? How can we increase the number of women in leadership roles?
I think, until recently, it was expected for girls and women to stay at home; however, with an education that mentality is changing. Now, you can see women are working in all the sectors be it defence, corporate, sports, etc. Providing education and societal support is essential for women to start working; and I am sure once women get jobs, they can easily create their own path to success. This will prove to be a big part in taking India to the next level of growth. Women are the first teachers for their children; similarly, they can help India to create a better future for the coming generations.
When looking specifically at educational planning and management, why is it important that we have women in a leadership positions?
Planning and management are primarily about making decisions and allocating resources, and it is critical that men and women share these duties. Women are capable of handling various types of responsibilities—professional or domestic. Since they have the ability to multitask, women can be better planners and manage various tasks efficiently. I believe that these skills work as an advantage for organizations.
As a woman in a leadership position, what was this journey like for yourself? How were you able to overcome the different obstacles encountered?
My family has encouraged me to work harder and reach my career ambitions. I eventually learnt to manage my time and began to perform admirably in both areas. After all the struggles, I can now proudly say that I am a mother and an entrepreneur. I believe nothing is out of the reach for a woman. They have the ability to achieve everything.
Do you consider yourself a leader at IntelliPaat? What do you feel you bring to the role that inspires others to see you as a leader?
Yes, I am a leader at IntelliPaat. I have been with IntelliPaat since its foundation and have been responsible for its establishment and operations. I work as a technical and marketing head. As a startup, we are dynamic and solve a lot of problems. Many times, we fail but every failure gives us the motivation to learn and come up with new and innovative solutions to succeed. I follow a simple philosophy—fail, learn, and grow; these three words are key to succeed in life. Learning and reaching new heights makes the employees feel energized, which makes them contribute more. I motivate and inspire my team to unlock their full potential.
As an experienced industry leader, what would you like to change in the current higher education system?
As a leading EdTech platform, we come across so many learners, from engineering or other disciplines, who lack the latest technological skills. There is a huge gap in what the industry needs and what the current education system provides. I personally feel that there are a lot of subjects in the engineering curriculum that do not help students get a job in the IT industry. So, instead of wasting their time and efforts on a subject that is not going to be helpful in their career, students must learn the technologies and trends that can make them industry-ready. I would like to change the curriculum into an advanced education system where students will be able to get in touch with industry-standard learning, which would help them to start their careers in the IT industry. We are contributing to the education system with IntelliPaat’s online platform where people can upskill and grow in their careers with ease.
What projects or goals are you working on or leading currently?
IntelliPaat is dedicated to improving the EdTech sector so that anybody, regardless of their location or background, may acquire knowledge and improve their abilities to be industry-ready. We are working to democratize knowledge. Our platform focuses on providing people with the tools required for a successful career transition. Currently, we are collaborating with various IITs, foreign universities, MNCs, and US-based companies to provide industry-level training to our learners. We provide access to user-friendly courses with exceptional technical expertise from IITs for everyone. Our primary goal is to make learning easy, accessible, and affordable. A successful career adds value to people’s lives and makes them reach their full potential.
Do you have any thoughts you would like to share being a woman in the education sector or advice for carving a top management space?
Being a woman and working in a leading EdTech company, I advise women to continue with their careers. Everyone should do something that they wish to do. It is okay to step back and take a break, but one should always come back stronger. It is time to learn and restart your career. Women should grab opportunities and pursue their dreams. Balancing home and work life is not that difficult. It’s never too late to start afresh; learn new technologies and go for higher education, improve yourself, and get back on your feet.