Empowering Women in the Workplace

October 23, 2018 | Namita Kutty | AVP, Human Resources

Share this blog:

Odessa is thrilled to have been recognized as a top workplace for women, and we are excited to continue strengthening global gender equality

As Odessa was recently named one of the top ‘100 Best Companies for Women in India 2018’, we thought it would be appropriate to expand on our philosophy of gender equality. After 20 years, certain organizational and cultural processes have been explicitly introduced, while others have evolved organically.

Our perspective on gender equality is a reflection of our organic employee values: accountability, dedication, and enjoyment. We are all accountable to treat our colleagues fairly, dedicated to our mission and our colleagues, and passionate about fostering an enjoyable, professional environment. As such, empowering women in the workplace and treating everyone fairly is central to who we are. To support this, we follow a few guiding principles.

We consider the whole employee

At Odessa, policies surrounding inclusion and equal opportunity start with a recognition that we need to understand the “whole employee.” By this, we mean that a colleague is not just his or her position, responsibilities, or CV. Everyone at Odessa is more than their job title. Critical to all of us is our families. Many of us have kids or family members we support, unexpected sick days to take care of a partner, and sudden deaths in the family. Far from trying to ignore these realities, we understand that these circumstances are what make our employees who they are. We nurture and respect this by welcoming families for special celebrations, providing flexible work schedules and telecommuting options, and providing ample time off for expected and unexpected needs. The numerous women employees across levels who have returned from maternity breaks and continued to work with us is a testament to this. In this way, we constantly try to acknowledge and nurture the “whole employee,” so that employees can bring their best-selves to their families. This is one the reasons our gender diversity stands at almost 40% across the board with 31% at the leadership level.

We invest in women

At Odessa, investing in women means providing meaningful outlets for our female colleagues to support each other and speak about their experiences as women in the workforce. At work, we do this by planning to empower programing as part of our global “Women at Odessa” seminar series. Last August, as an example, we hosted an expert training for our Bangalore female colleagues on finding your voice and being confident in the workspace. We also do this by supporting external female empowerment conference participation. This past June, 7 of our Philadelphia colleagues participated in the Ellevate Network’s “Mobilizing the Power of Women” Conference in New York City. There they convened with thought leaders across industries to discuss gender equality in the workplace, and grow their professional networks.

We recognize our biases

For International Women’s Day 2018, our co-founders, Madhu Natarajan and Jay Mehra, acknowledged that while we have a lot to be proud of in the way of gender equality at Odessa, we must stay vigilant of our inherent biases. They noted that “We must continue to rage against the inherent biases that men (and, occasionally, women) often carry, even unknowingly.” Gender stereotypes can enter our consciousness without our explicit recognition, even to the best of us. At Odessa, our antidote to this is to continue having candid discussions on recognizing and addressing our own biases. Whether its within our team, at our quarterly meetings, or on-site with a client, we all recognize that we have a responsibility to identify our prejudices.

Always looking forward

While we are proud of the progress we have made in the way of gender equality at Odessa, we are always looking to do more. We are excited to continue supporting gender equality, and above all giving a strong voice to the women at Odessa.