ISDM Completes the First Batch of Women on Boards WOB Program for Senior Women Leaders from Corporate World to Join Boards of Social Sector Organisations

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Delhi, India (NewsVoir)

• With this first-of-its-kind program, ISDM aims to have 100 senior women leaders from the corporate sector become board members in Social Purpose Organisations.

• Admissions for the next batch will begin in July 2022

The Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) celebrated the completion of the founding cohort of its Women on Boards (WOB) program by organising the closing ceremony at its campus in Noida on June 18, 2022. The event was attended by the participants of the program, their families, social sector leaders and practitioners. The participants were felicitated with certificates presented by chief guest PoonamMuttreja, a pioneering boardroom leader and the Executive Director of Population Foundation of India, a Delhi-based NGO that works on empowering women and adolescents to take decisions regarding their health, sexuality and well-being.

ISDM is a pioneering institution committed to developing and building the hitherto neglected domain of Development Management, separate from the tenets of Business Management or Public Administration. The immersive WOB program was launched jointly with Dasra and Governance Counts in February 2022.

The first cohort, comprising 24 members from diverse fields of the corporate sector, commenced in April 2022. The program was conducted over four modules spanning across three months. The participants were mentored by a diverse group of noted development practitioners and academicians, including Ravi Sreedharan DevalSanghvi, (Founder and President of ISDM), Amitabh Behar (CEO Oxfam), Anshu Gupta (Founding Director, Goonj), NachiketMor (Visiting Scientist, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health) and Sohini Bhattacharya (CEO and President, Breakthrough), among other great minds and experts.

Following the completion of the program, the participants will now be matched with social purpose organisations that can leverage their specific skills and expertise. The participants will be extended mentorship support during their early days on various boards. Participants are being placed on the boards of organisations such as Quest Alliance and Ssrishti. So far, 42 organisations have expressed their interest for having participants from the first batch of the program on their boards.

Addressing the gathering at the closing ceremony, Chief guest Poonam Muttreja said, “There has been an incremental increase in women joining boards, in India and globally, which we should welcome, but we (women) are still playing catch-up in many ways. Not all women have equal opportunities to start a job and reach a leadership position. When we are on boards, we need to pay special attention to that reality. There is no doubt that it is important to induct more women on boards, for more reasons than diversity. The leadership styles of women leaders globally, including during COVID-19, have been described as more collective than individual, more collaborative than competitive and more coaching than commanding. These are lessons for all of us, as we wish to become effective leaders on boards.”

Reiterating ISDM’s vision and commitment towards transforming the social sector and enabling sustainable impact at scale, ISDM Founder and President Ravi Sreedharan said, “ISDM is committed to catalysing the development and practice of professional Development Management and transforming the social sector to have far greater sustainable impact at scale. The Women on Boards program is a first-of-its-kind program and is the first among more such nation-building programs that we will launch for different critical segments who can have a disproportionate impact on social change in the country. This batch of women leaders from the program are most certainly a force to reckon with and embody the potential to bring together tremendous value to the organisations including the critical ability to recognise the importance and be able to lead and direct work across the three pillars of Samaaj, Sarkar and Bazaar for maximum impact.”

Deval Sanghvi, Co-founder Dasra said, "For Dasra, one of the key strategic priorities is to be more intentional about GEDI (Gender, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion), and we strongly believe that while there is a lot to do, this program (Women on Boards) is definitely one step in that direction. There is enough evidence to suggest that women board members will bring in the benefits of diversity to nonprofit boards. We are hopeful that this will eventually impact corporate boardrooms and society at large."

Aarti Madhusudan, Founder, Governance Counts, who also designed this unique curriculum, said, “When women join board leadership roles, they bring with them their own experiences of being able to negotiate and be heard. This is a strength that the sector can do wonders with. We hope that with the training that they have received under this program, they will be able to make an impact in leadership roles. It is our hope and ambition that the 100 Women on Boards that we will have, will become a 1000 soon.”

WOB is part of ISDM’s executive education vertical called Strategic Capacity Building (SCB). The SCB programs are designed for individuals and organisations in the Indian social sector to help them leverage opportunities and address the challenges they face in unleashing their potential to create sustainable impact at scale. Some of the core offerings of the program include certified and curated programs, workshops and Nation Building Programs, targeted at specific groups that have significant influence, such as collectors, women leaders, and philanthropists.

Applications for the next WOB Program will open in July 2022.

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About our Partners

Dasra is catalysing India's strategic philanthropy movement to transform a billion lives with dignity and equity. In 1999, Dasra was founded on the simple premise that supporting non-profits in their growth will scale their impact on the vulnerable lives they serve. Beginning with incubating NGOs like Magic Bus and Villgro and enabling them to scale, this theory of change continues to thrive at Dasra two decades later. It now encompasses strengthening leading NGOs, magnifying philanthropists’ impact and enabling the government to serve communities better. A team of 100+ individuals, Dasra acts as a catalyst in India’s vibrant philanthropic sector by driving collaborative action to accelerate social change. Dasra has shaped the philanthropic movement, with 70+ research reports; has actively worked with 500 corporates, foundations and philanthropists, and has hand-held over 700 leading non-profits through their scaling journeys towards maximisation of their impact to achieve audacious outcomes.

Governance Counts
Governance Counts is a consulting initiative. Over nearly two decades, AartiMadhusudan, the founder, has worked with more than 150 organisations across various board-related issues that SPOs and their founder CEOs or board members have faced. From creating board strategy to troubleshooting governance related issues, this initiative has also assisted in finding and placing board members, whether on legal or advisory boards. Through Governance Counts, many organisations have been trained on good practice relevant to their life stage and the contexts where they work.

About ISDM
ISDM is an institution founded to create, strengthen and establish Development Management, a domain that transcends the exclusive silos of “development perspectives” and “management principles”. ISDM recognises the need to “professionalise” the leading and managing of Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs). The institution sees the development space as requiring the application of management disciplines that are unique and tailored to the scale of the sector. Management that doesn’t merely retrofit Business Management to development projects, but one that is born specifically from the coming together of the two crucial domains.

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