#WorkingWomenWonders Exclusive Interview with SCIKEY
If you would be given the superpower for one day to do something for women, what would that be? 🦸🏻♀️
In celebration and support of the International Women's Day, our Founder and Managing Partner, Shivajini Seelan did an exclusive interview with research-backed global talent commerce company called SCIKEY.
What do you remember the most from your childhood? Is there any special memory you’d like to share?
My love for sports and the amazing experience and life lessons that I gained from it. It all started with a little nudge from my dad when I was 12 years old. I won the first place for a 100m sprint during a regular sports practice which ended up kick-starting my amateur athletic status at school - I was selected to represent my team for the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m race on Sports Day. This inadvertently opened doors to new skills and lasting memories. It taught me team spirit, fairplay, never give up attitude, and perseverance.
Growing up, what were those habits that made you the person that you are today?
I can think of 3 significant habits that have not only shaped me into the person that I am today but have also become part of my daily routine. The first one being an early riser - I have always enjoyed waking up before the sun rises as I believe it sets the right tone for the day. I tend to be more focused and energetic as well which helps to kick-start a productive day. In fact, author Robin Sharma said that rising one hour before the sun allows us to focus on our goals and optimise our schedule for the day ahead. The second habit would be exercising on a regular basis, which I have my dad to thank for. Knowing that an active lifestyle is a key to staying healthy, he made it a point to instill this habit in me. Last but not least, the habit of setting goals which keep me focused and on the right track. Regardless of whether it’s just a generic goal or a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goal, this habit has helped me in every aspect of my life, be it my family, career, social, finances, etc.
What would you like to share about your family, your bond with them, how do you stay together despite the busy lives we live?
Well, my husband and I have three amazing children together - they are 12, 10, and 7. We believe that it’s really important to foster good values from young and spend quality time together. Despite being a working mom, I make the conscious effort to balance my time between work and family. I usually head home right after work to prepare dinner and spend the rest of my day with my family. I speak to my mom on a daily basis as well, most of the time it’s during my drive to the office. On weekends, we would sometimes plan fun activities such as hiking, picnic, movie, or even game night just to have a good laugh together and bond with everyone. We would also visit our parents to have lunch or dinner together, at least once a week.
Where do you draw your strengths from? Who or what are the biggest inspirations of your life?
I have always been awed by SUCCESSFUL WOMEN, so it's no surprise that I would consider those women the biggest inspiration of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I sort of knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur and stand on my own two feet. My favourite quote was “I don’t need a man to buy me diamonds, I will buy my own diamonds”. I strive to be independent because I believe there’s a certain satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from it. I honestly enjoy the entrepreneurial drive and challenges along the way, which essentially makes me a stronger person.
What is your formula of balancing your work and personal lives and being an ace in both?
I think the most important thing is knowing where to draw the line, and to also acknowledge the fact that it might be different for everyone so don’t be pressured to follow others. Just keep trying and adjusting until you find the perfect balance between work and personal lives that you are also comfortable and happy with. Personally, I tend to struggle with switching off from work completely and it can get quite overwhelming at times. Again, this is a conscious effort whereby I try my best to avoid any work calls or social media between 6 pm to 8.30 pm so I can give my family my undivided attention. Once my kids have gone to bed, I would finish up on my work before calling it a day.
What disparity do you still see on the gender front at the workplace?
Let me just start by saying that we have definitely achieved so much in recent years on the path to gender equality, but there’s still a long way to go. The gap still exists when it comes to the promotion of female employees for senior-level positions or even in terms of salary and other compensations. In some multinational companies, you still see a huge difference or lack thereof in the number of women sitting on the board. We need to work together towards bridging and closing this gap.
If you would be given the superpower for one day to do something for Women, what would be that?
The power to influence others - basically the ability to have a positive impact on women, to persuade or convince them to act on their great ideas and to go after their goals in life. I believe that the best way to inspire women to superior performance is to convince them of everything that I do and to show that I’m wholeheartedly supporting them. With this power, I hope to inspire women to action and to positively help them embrace a new role, a new process, or even a new phase in life.
What is the happiest moment of your life that you’d like to share?
The happiest moment of my life would definitely be when my children were born. The entire experience from pregnancy to childbirth was not just memorable but life-changing as well. I found a new sense of respect and pride for women, after personally going through and witnessing the amazing process of bringing life into the world. Motherhood is truly a blessing and my children will always have a special place in my heart.
What was the biggest setback in your life and how did you overcome it?
When I was 16, my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia - about the same time when I had to leave my comfort zone and move to a new school. I went through an emotional rollercoaster, shaken and worried about my mom while being completely anxious about adapting to a new environment. I eventually decided to embrace the “one day at a time” philosophy and set my priorities right. I knew that I had to take care of myself before I could take care of my mom and the last thing I wanted was for my parents to be worried about me. So, I focused on settling in at the new school and my studies for the first half of the day, and then, I would visit my mom and spend time with her at the hospital. With the right mindset, I was able to stay strong and overcome life hurdles together with my family.
Share any initiative/s you have taken to empower other women if any?
I run an accounting firm called JS Partners and I strive to create job opportunities, especially for women. I see this as a platform for me to not only help women advance in their careers and be more independent, but also for me to share my knowledge and advice for young girls out there. I’m always happy to guide and share valuable insights which will hopefully help them in the long run as well. I always remind my employees that women do not have to choose between career or family, in fact, we are the best multitaskers and it’s a natural gift. They are encouraged to pursue their dreams and goals in life. Everything is ultimately their choice and no one else’s.
Define in your own words - #WorkingWomenWonders
The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. The mother of today and tomorrow is the woman who shapes the destiny of the world. Women who are capable of wearing many hats and aspire to stand strong among the opposite gender are nothing short of a SUPERWOMEN.
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