The IEEE WIE Leadership Summit 2015 was a 3-day International Conference, and was held at Hotel Green Park, Chennai. This Summit was the first of its kind to be held at Asia-Pacific region and outside U.S. The conference was centred around women engineers and the importance of their excellence in the field of engineering.

The conference was attended by a large number of foreign delegates from across the world. Most of them were from parts of Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, America and from across the length and breadth of India.

The fully packed hall consisted of wide spectra of women engineers. Ranging from students, corporate officers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, scholars to various successful and inspiring women. The speakers of the conference too were as diverse as its audience, and were the best in their field of expertise.


The day began on an inspiring note with the President of Intel, India, Kumud Srinivasan’s keynote address. She emphasized on “Pushing the boundaries” and the need to have a specific career identity irrespective of age and family background. She ended her address with a request to make India, the World’s No.1 R&D destination.

It was followed by Dr.Gargi Keeni, Rtd. VP, TCS, who presented a lively session on ‘Why IT is losing smart Women?’. She expressed how much revolution the IT industry has seen, in such a short span, in terms of the hike in number of women in it, unlike any other industry. She also pointed the sudden decline in women opting for IT industry, is probably because the industry has failed to keep in tune with the changing times.

Next was an informative Panel discussion on the “Role of IEEE in helping Women in technology”. The panel consisted of esteemed members such as Takako Hashimoto, Chair, IEEE WIE, Ramlatha Marimuthu, General Chair, IEEE WIE ILS and Nita Patel, Conference Chair, IEEE. The discussion highlighted the benefits of IEEE WIE and the importance of being an active member in it.

After that a highly motivating session, brimming with positivity was presented by the awe-inducing Malvika Iyer, an amputee who lost her hands in a bomb blast. She spoke of how the unfortunate accident has provided her with a career and life that feels she was so fortunate to get. She also encouraged everyone to live their lives on their own terms to the fullest.

Later the session was divided into three different tracks and a separate track was dedicated to the topic ‘Empowerment’, where multiple speakers came up with tips and useful thoughts to help women empower themselves.


Dr. Maria Zeena Johnson, MD, Satyabama University, highlighted the importance of women being good leaders and the humungous change that the women leaders could bring, which will not only empower themselves but the entire society.

Nalini Krishnan of TCS spoke on the struggles faced by women in corporate sectors. The stagnation in their careers after a steady growth, and the limited opportunities available to them were some of the plight faced by them. She insisted on overcoming the proverbial glass cliff and encouraged all women to beyond the designated boundaries.

The IEEE WIE ILS General Chair Ramalatha, presented a vibrant talk on self empowerment and included a fun filled group activity which led to a serious discussion on Women Empowerment. This also served as an opportunity to network with delegates from around the world.

The IEEE Malaysia Section Chair, Zuhania Zakaria, busted some of the myths on women Empowerment. She clarified the various misconceptions around it by breaking the stereotypes with real life examples. The women in reference have proved it wrong for so long now. Thus she cleared the haze around successful women.

The day came to an end with another round of panel discussion by the women employees of CISCO, who spoke about the disruptions in CISCO and their long and fulfilling careers in it. The panel was proof enough on how strong and integral the womenfolk in CISCO are.


The Day 2 of the conference saw the same size of crowd turn out even on the final day thus resonating the success of its first day.

Lavanya Gopalakrishnan of CISCO presented the keynote address for the day. The address was as vivacious as here and it dwelled on the things that she wished she knew when she was younger. The few things that she mentioned were highly relatable to all women in general. Making us realize the stereotypical mindset prevalent in our society.

The recorded video of felicitations of Dr.Supavadee Aramvith, R10 WIE Coordinator was played next and it was well received and appreciated by the audience.

Ms. Kamolika Peres – VP Consulting, Ericsson later spoke on ‘Breaking stereotypes around women in Technology’, which served to be an eye opener and raised serious questions in our minds. She also provided certain alternatives as solutions.

This was followed by enterprising speakers, Rajashree Thandy of Capgemini, Dr.Renu Khanna of Tech Mahindra and Dr.Saundarya Rajesh President of AVTAR and FLEXI Careers. Their talk was very insightful on the hurdles faced by most women in their careers.

Later the conference was split into three separate tracks once again. The inspiration track was taken over by the IEEE Young Professionals.


Ekta Grover-Data Scientist, Bloomreach, started off the inspiration track. She emphasized on the importance of projecting oneself correctly before others and our responsibility in helping the ones behind us.

It was followed by a lively and informative Q&A session with Vibha Kagzi, an alumna of Harvard Business School. She gave numerous insiders’ tips and clarified the doubts regarding pursuing MBA abroad.

Then came the famous IEEE Larry.K.Wilson Awardee, Esther Ling, from Malaysia. In her session, she spoke out for all the soft spoken people such as her. She reminded us that equal opportunity should be given to all based on their knowledge and merit, and not on the loudness of their voice.

Finally came a huge source of inspiration in the form of Leena Bansal aka Miss Walking Shoes. She is the first Indian solo women traveller who self funded herself to go to 32 countries just to fulfil her passion. Her travel stories were full of surprises and positivity just like her own self. Age and gender did not deter her at all.

The conference ended with an inspiring success story of a storyteller and an entrepreneur Ms.Lakshmi Pratury, who overcame all the obstacles and debacles that life threw at her, with a strong conviction clinging onto good hope till the end. And that hope got her all that she dreamed of and even more.

Thus the IEEE WIE Leadership Summit was a great learning experience and an excellent opportunity to network and engage in one on one conversations, obtain expert advice, motivate oneself and get inspiration from ordinary people who went on to do extraordinary things. The conference was very interactive providing opportunities to clear our doubts and also put forth our point of view.

Overall it was a one of a kind conference that covered all the areas that are of concern to women engineers also providing suitable solutions along with alternatives to tackle them. The conference also provided a great deal of encouragement and motivation to work with zeal to excel as engineers and bring more and more glory and win laurels to all women.