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The W-Suite | Compensations have become gender agnostic: Dina Mukherjee

With a rapidly evolving business and economic landscape, there is a dire requirement of fresh thinking, new skill sets, greater flexibility & adaptability, more collaboration as well as the ability to think on one’s feet. 

Diversity in the workforce has become a necessity today, and more so in the leadership positions. It can’t be denied that women bring a high level of creativity and empathy while solving problems and handling crises. Women leaders bring to the table a different level of dexterity. 

AdGully’s ‘The W-Suite’ series features interactions with influential women leaders in India, who share some deep insights on what being a woman leader means in India’s business landscape, the mantras to succeed, achieving work-life balance, pay parity and much more. 

The career of Dina Mukherjee, CMO, Carnival Cinemas and Director & CEO, MoviECard Sales, has closely revolved around building consumer centric brands for the last 17 years. Her journey began in 2000 with Barista as Brand Manager, where she was involved in brand positioning and communication of new product ranges. She went on to hold important portfolios with Indian retail giants Future Group and F&B conglomerate PAN India Food Solutions. 

At Carnival Cinemas, she has crafted an innovative and effective consumer focused brand communication strategy to keep pace with the group’s rapid expansion, while staying true to the mission of bringing the revival of the cinema multiplex experience across the country. Under her leadership, she has ensured effective adaptation and evolution of the group’s messaging as Carnival Cinemas recently marked their presence across 100 cities in the country. 

Additionally, as a Director and CEO, Mukherjee is responsible for launching and operating India’s first cinema subscription plan – MoviEcard, a unique subscription plan for Rs 149, where in one can watch unlimited new movies for 30 days in cinemas. Currently with over 5 lakh subscribers, MoviEcard Sales is an independent entity and aims to be the largest cinema subscription plan across 400 cities and 3,000 screens by 2019. 

What defines a woman leader in today’s ecosystem?
A woman leader is defined by her ability to be able to balance all aspects of her life. She is an all-rounder who takes pride in excelling in her career as well as ensures quality time with her family. She should be appreciated for maintaining the fine balance of life. 

Why do you think a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions?
The change needs to happen from the very grassroots level. More girls need to be educated and encouraged to join the corporate field. They need to be given avenues to develop and only then will they be able to reach the top of their professions. If the percentage of girls getting out of schools is skewed, then there will always be a disparity in numbers in the top management. 

Do you think women leaders are still scrutinised as much for style as for substance?
Gender does not play a very important role in a leadership role. Both men and women will be scrutinised for substance as that is what defines leadership. 

Do you think the leadership effectiveness of women is higher than men? Why?
Women are more intuitive in nature, enabling them to understand the significance of things. They address issues with passion and ensure that the results are always the best. 

Women leaders in the 80’s and 90’s and women leaders today - what are the key differences? And what are the things that haven’t changed much?
There is a vast difference between women leaders in the 80/90 and today. Women leaders today have more exposure and can be considered at par with their male counterparts. Women leaders are more opinionated and informed about their own industry as well as significant developments across the globe. Leaders today tend to take up and fulfil more challenging roles. They are also more tuned to the needs of their employees. 

How do you maintain a balance between career goals and family responsibilities? How frequently do you have to sacrifice one for the other?
My parents have always pushed me to be a multi-tasker. Even during my school days, studies were just as important as my extra-curricular activities. They taught me the importance of prioritising my life while, of course, ensuring every aspect of it is being developed. If we are well organised and plan our lives in advance, then there is no question of sacrificing one for the other. 

Do you think pay parity exists in our corporates today across levels? What about pay parity at the leadership levels?
I think we have finally overcome that stage when men and women draw the same salary. Nowadays compensations have become gender agnostic and knowledge plays a pivotal role in deciding the pays of most people in leadership roles. 

What would be your advice to women aiming for the C-suite?
My advice would be: Be true to yourself. Never stop learning and pushing yourself to achieve more. The sky is the limit for people who have the will and dedication. Know your strengths and ensure that you keep building on them. 

What, according to you, are the 3 important lessons new women leaders need to learn?
You must be a good team player as well as a leader. After all, a leader is only as good as her team. Never stop improving yourself and the team. You have to aspire to reach newer goals more often than not. That is what will motivate the team to develop better. Stand up for what you think is right.

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