Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

To Her, With Love: Mahindra Group's Asha Kharga's ode to women who lifted her up

The chief customer and brand officer speaks about the rallying forces—teachers, leaders and soul sisters— who may not be connected by blood, but are the happiest for each other's success

Published: Mar 7, 2022 05:59:31 PM IST
Updated: Mar 8, 2022 03:18:19 PM IST

Asha Kharga, chief customer and brand officer of the Mahindra Group says, when women come together, that's where the magic happens Asha Kharga, chief customer and brand officer of the Mahindra Group says, when women come together, that's where the magic happens

At the heart of International Women’s Day is the wise quote, “There’s a special place in heaven for women who support other women.” I’m naturally drawn to women who display a rare combination of strength and vulnerability–when such women come together, that’s where the magic happens.

The collective power of women was a lived reality while I was growing up. My mother led by example—she had a tight group of sisters who were her rallying force, they were each other’s safe harbour and they always had each other's backs. 

One of the stereotypes that women have often been reproached for is their jealousy, but my mother always asked me to compare my journey with no one else, but my own beginnings.

This simple advice has helped me navigate situations where I have felt insecure about myself or questioned my abilities. Each of us can have our own space in the sun and there is enough space for all of us.

I was also fortunate to be mentored by a compassionate professor in my neighbourhood when I turned 16. She has a master’s in both literature and philosophy and taught me about the power of the subconscious and the importance of reflecting on myself. In a world full of technology and analytics, her background in humanities fuelled my curiosity and a keenness to understand human behaviour at a young age.

In different phases of my life, I have met great women leaders who have been incredible life forces. The first lesson I learned is that, as a woman, you don’t need to be afraid of being a leader. And, you should not expect people to treat you differently simply because you are a woman. The second lesson I learned from these inspiring women is they were gender-agnostic in their dealings with people. Neither men nor women were conscious of their gender with these leaders, meritocracy was all that mattered.

This piece would be incomplete without mentioning my soul sisters—these are women who gather around you, not necessarily connected by blood or race, but by energy and essence. They could be cousins, friends, colleagues, people who help you at home, and they bring unconditional love and support and are happiest for your success.

With all the strides we are making towards gender equality, we are making space to include all of us. We need to come together to build truly diverse companies.

We are hardwired to gather, we’ve been doing this since the beginning of time.

As Michelle Obama said, “We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can to help those who come after us." Together, we rise.

‘To her, with love’ is a Storyboard18 special series where women in leadership tell us about the women who inspired them and led the way. A shout-out to her.