“Mapping your Future” an IACCGH-Shell Seminar Featuring Dean Latha Ramchand


From left: Madu Prasad, Past President IACCGH, Dean Latha Ramchand, Joya Shukla and Jagdip Ahluwalia posing together as Dean Ramchand receives a shawl, a sign of respect in Indian Culture.
Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Sangeeta Pasrija

HOUSTON: On November 13, evening it was yet another very successful “Women’s Leadership Series” event brought to Houston area ladies by IACCGH.

The keynote speaker Dr. Latha Ramchand, Dean, C.T. Bauer College of Business, UH, captivated the attention of ambitious and highly motivated women involved with a wide range of professions ranging from CEO’s, CPAs, Doctors, Nurses, IT specialists, Scientists, Sales, Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, and Social workers.  There were over 40% newcomers this time in the comfortable ambience of San Jacinto room at the Hess Club.

Dr. Latha Ramchand’s pleasant personality made the crowd engage in the topic of “Mapping Your Future” even more interpersonal as she delivered various disappointing statistics regarding women’s position in the business world compared to men!  Only 17% of the Fortune 500 board seats are occupied by women!

Dean Latha Ramchand

Dean Latha Ramchand

I’ve enjoyed all the women speakers so far in this series but Dr. Ramchand had entirely different approach.  She did not talk about herself, did not share her success story, but she made us share our goals, passions and visions.  Everyone was handed out the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats) Analysis worksheets and was asked to fill it and then share (if brave enough) with all the women present.  A flawless speaker herself, she articulated some pearls of wisdom like ‘whoever owns the language owns the conversation’ and ‘Ultimate power is the Knowledge’.  Her repeated penchant was to first figure out what you needed to get to your desired position/place, and then seek all the expert help and mentoring you could get specially from someone you look up to.  Determine how and when you are going to get those needs met.  Write down your goals for next five years, ten years; write your strategies.

She pointed out some tactics to empower women by first asking to leave their hesitations, weaknesses behind.  To move forward equip yourself with what you think you lack…education, training, attending more conferences/seminars and reading and learning more about the industry and jumping out of your comfort zone.  She encouraged to read the HBR (Harvard Business Reviews) blogs by Tony Schwartz, and check out ‘Because I said I would’ website for motivation and insight.   She explored the obvious and unforeseen benefits of networking where Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director of IACCGH gave an example of his golf buddy putting him in contact with a high powered individual whom Jagdip himself would not have been able to approach.  She encouraged networking in all directions not just linear.

The worksheet handed out asks to map an implementation time line of our actions towards self-imposed goals.  We were assured that it is a work in progress as we all figure out the next step and how to leave the back foot from the comfort of lower rung of the ladder to climb a bit higher.  It was hinted that in the next such session we might be asked to share our progress towards our goals!

Fun of networking with colorful group of ladies who represented diversity of Houston, enjoying coffee and snacks and then Italian dinner with sumptuous cake for desert all while envisioning a better/happier/more coveted place in future together drenched me in a warm feeling of being proud to be a woman associated with such a wonderful like-minded set of ladies in attendance.

The “Women in Leadership” Series event was chaired by IACCGH Board Member/Secretary Joya Shukla and was possible thanks to the generous support of Shell. IACCGH President Elect Sanjay Ramabhadran welcomed the guests on behalf of President Pankaj Dhume. Past President Madhukar Prasad joined Chair Joya Shukla in presenting Dean Ramchand with a shawl and a certificate of appreciation. The event was attended by over 60 women and included recently re-elected HCC Trustee Neeta Sane, the Presidents of the Asian Chamber and East End Chamber and representatives of the Hispanic Chamber, the Columbian Chamber, the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance , the UH SBDA, the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity and Houston Community College.

A copy of the Dean’s presentation is available on line at www.iaccgh.com and the Chamber can be contacted for a copy of her workbook at info@iaccghg.com.