On Wednesday, 17th October 2018, AMCHAM’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee was launched by Consul General Edgard D. Kagan, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai at the Bank of America office in Mumbai. The event began with welcome remarks by Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, who warmly welcomed Consul General Edgard D. Kagan, his wife Ms. Cynthia Gire who was also present and the esteemed congregation of CEOs and senior D&I leaders of AMCHAM’s membership. Through her address she highlighted AMCHAM’s origin and history, the significant efforts and activities of the sectoral committees and the initiatives of AMCHAM’s Western Region. The excitement was palpable as Consul General Edgard D. Kagan officially unveiled and launched the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In his keynote address, he brought forth the importance of fostering a workplace environment open to a broad mix of people and for leaders to understand how to get the best out of their strengths. He spoke positively of the willingness of U.S. companies to actively incorporate D&I as part of its corporate DNA and stated that the process of achieving inclusion is as important as the end result.
Mr. Indranil Sen Gupta, Co-Head, India Research, Co-Chair, India Diversity & Inclusion Council, Bank of America, made an address and gave a presentation that highlighted how Bank of America is driving the D&I agenda with a focus on women at the workplace, supporting the differently abled and LGBT advocacy. He also spoke of D&I best practices and efforts especially in Asia. To conclude he stated that he was reminded of a quote by Helen Keller, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Ms. Surabhi Wahal, Regional Director – Western Region, AMCHAM, shared insight into the architecture, mission, scope, pillars of the committee (gender diversity – focus on advancing women, disability and LGBTQ) and the roadmap for the future. She further went on to invite the esteemed panel of speakers for the next segment of the evening – the fireside chat. The panel comprised of Consul General Edgard D. Kagan, Mr. Sanjiv Navangul, Chairman – Pharma Committee, AMCHAM and Managing Director – Janssen India, Johnson & Johnson Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Chairman – HR Committee, AMCHAM and Executive Director – India, Cognizant Technology Solutions with moderator Mr. Mahesh Krishnamurti, Chairman – Western Region, AMCHAM and Managing Director, RGP India.
Mr. Krishnamurti ushered in the discussion by stating the need to nip micro regressions in the bud before they lead to macro regressions. During the fireside chat, Consul General Kagan spoke on his impression of how D&I is catching up in India compared to other APAC countries. Mr. Sanjiv Navangul spoke on the high value that Johnson & Johnson places on creating an inclusive workplace, their program on ‘unconscious bias’ to inculcate sensitivity among its employees, and the initiative of a daycare at the office to ensure women come back to work post child birth. Mr. Ramamoorthy spoke on the importance of integrating the strengths and capabilities of differently abled employees within the organization and the efforts therein undertaken at Cognizant Technology Solutions. He also spoke on the imperativeness of consciously involving employees across different age groups in the growth story of an organization. The interactive Q&A that followed brought forth a discussion on the need to succeed in creating not only a diverse demographic but to ensure that organizations have an inclusive mindset. The discussion also raised questions on measuring the success of D&I. Mr. Krishnamurti closed the fireside chat with a quote by Malcolm Forbes, “Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.”
Ms. Kaku Nakhate, Vice Chairperson, AMCHAM, Chairperson – D&I Committee, AMCHAM, President & Country Head (India), Bank of America N.A., through her closing remarks once again highlighted the mission and the roadmap of AMCHAM’s D&I Committee and urged CEOs and D&I leaders of member companies to actively participate and percolate the initiatives of the committee and to promote creative conversations within the corporate community. She shared that the committee plans to meet on a quarterly basis and aims to hold a national event on completion of the 1st year of committee. She concluded by thanking Consul General Edgard D. Kagan, the esteemed speakers and participants for joining on the occasion of the launch event.