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Journey of Self-discovery Is Key to Women’s Achievement

Vartika Shukla is a distinguished leader in the energy sector, serving as the Chairman & Managing Director of Engineers India Limited (EIL), a prominent Public Sector Global energy consultancy under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. With a solid academic background in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, she further honed her skills through an Executive General Management Program from IIM Lucknow.

With over 34 years of dedicated service to EIL, Vartika has held various pivotal roles, including Director (Technical) and Director (Finance), showcasing her versatility and expertise across different domains. Under her visionary leadership, EIL has witnessed remarkable growth, achieving the highest turnover in the last decade.

Vartika’s strategic initiatives have propelled EIL into new horizons, both domestically and internationally. She has been instrumental in transforming the organization’s Research & Development division into a profit-making entity, securing numerous patents for groundbreaking engineering and technological advancements.

Recognized for her exceptional contributions, Vartika has been conferred with several prestigious awards, including the PETROFED Woman Executive Award, SCOPE Excellence Award, and the INAE Women Engineer of the Year Award. Her commitment to sustainability and innovation has earned her accolades such as the Sustainability Award for Best Green Process in Petrochemicals.

Notably, Vartika has played a pivotal role in shaping national energy policies, particularly in areas like Auto Fuel vision & policy, National Biofuel Policy, and the future roadmap for the refining and petrochemical sector. Her dedication to advancing green energy solutions is evident through EIL’s strategic collaborations and ventures in emerging sectors like 2G Ethanol, SAF, and Green Hydrogen.

Beyond her corporate responsibilities, Vartika is actively involved in various industry bodies and research councils, including the Oil Industry Development Board and CSIR-CSIO Research Council. Her commitment to sustainability is further underscored by EIL’s ambitious goal of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2035, aligning with the organization’s new vision statement of becoming a global leader in offering total energy solutions for a sustainable future.

In a special interaction with The Interview World, Vartika Shukla, Chairman & Managing Director of Engineers India Limited, highlights the attributes of empowered women, emphasizes the role of PSUs in promoting women’s empowerment, offers advice on self-care for women, and provides guidance on how women can drive positive change in society. Here are the key takeaways from her enlightening discussion.

International Women’s Day

Q: What qualities or characteristics do you believe define an empowered woman?

A: An empowered woman possesses the agency and confidence to navigate her life, making decisions that align with her aspirations and values. With this autonomy, she charts a course towards fulfilling her professional ambitions and nurturing her happiness and personal growth. In doing so, she becomes a catalyst for societal advancement, contributing to the collective progress of her community and nation.

By breaking through barriers and striving for excellence, she sets an example for others to follow, inspiring individuals to reach their fullest potential. Her determination to soar beyond limitations not only elevates her own trajectory but also uplifts those around her, fostering a culture of empowerment and inclusivity. In essence, the empowered woman embodies resilience, leadership, and the relentless pursuit of greatness, embodying the spirit of progress and possibility for generations to come.

Q: What are the strategies and initiatives employed by Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to advance women’s empowerment within the nation?

A: Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) distinguish themselves by providing unparalleled opportunities, particularly in terms of gender equality. Within PSUs, women are afforded equal opportunities for advancement, underpinned by complete gender equality and fair compensation practices. This commitment to inclusivity extends to leadership roles, with PSUs actively seeking out talented individuals regardless of gender. As a result, both men and women have the chance to shine and thrive in their respective professional spheres.

This emphasis on meritocracy not only fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment but also propels individuals towards achieving remarkable feats that might otherwise seem insurmountable. By embracing diversity and equality, PSUs not only empower their workforce but also set a standard for excellence and progress in the professional landscape, ultimately contributing to societal advancement and collective success.

Q: What strategies and resources can empower women to effectively balance their daily responsibilities and find time for self-care amidst their demanding schedules?

A: We often operate like machines, only realizing the need for self-care when we hit a breaking point and must enter maintenance mode. It’s crucial to regularly pause and reflect on what our bodies and minds need – like oiling and freezing a machine – to function optimally.

Taking care of ourselves isn’t just about physical wellness; it’s also about nurturing our minds. Our mental health thrives on relaxation, peace, and engaging in enjoyable activities. Whether it’s taking a morning or evening walk, losing yourself in music, or simply having alone time, these practices are essential.

Reading, traveling, or exploring new hobbies are also valuable ways to nurture ourselves. Creativity flourishes when we take time to reflect internally. Achieving fulfillment as a whole person involves balancing professional responsibilities, family life, and personal pursuits.

Women, in particular, should prioritize self-care. Finding happiness and inner peace is essential for their well-being. While contributing to society is fulfilling, true satisfaction often comes from selflessness. However, women must introspect and discover what brings them joy and peace of mind. Joining this journey of self-discovery is key to achieving happiness and fulfillment.

Q: What strategies and opportunities empower women to become effective change-makers in society?

A: Change is an inevitable force, applicable even to individuals like an elderly lady vending on the street or a rural dweller engaged in meaningful local activities. Their contributions, though limited in scope, hold equal importance in effecting change. Leveraging our status or sphere of influence, we can aid these individuals in transforming lives.

Take, for instance, the act of educating the child of a maid, ensuring they receive proper schooling; such small gestures carry significant weight. Being mindful of such opportunities and possessing the determination to enact change is crucial. Change, a constant, holds the potential to reshape economies and foster national growth.

In this journey, women stand as equal partners, capable of breaking barriers and pursuing endeavors according to their preferences. With determination and ambition, the possibilities for women are limitless, offering boundless opportunities for growth and success.

Vartika Shukla, CMD of EIL Receiving the Business Leader of the Year Award at the Global Refining and Petrochemicals Congress 2023
Vartika Shukla, CMD of EIL Receiving the Business Leader of the Year Award at the Global Refining and Petrochemicals Congress 2023
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